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carolina mountain life

read us online at cmlmagazine.online

Making Winter Memories

. . . a wonderful read for 24 years!

Between Boone & Banner Elk 9452 NC Hwy. 105 S







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

Banner Elk, North Carolina 828.963.7500 Stuart, Florida 772.781.1400 davant-interiors.com


Winter is Better Here Located within five miles of two ski resorts, Banner Elk is North Carolina’s Ski Town. Ski all day at Beech Mountain or Sugar Mountain, then enjoy dining, lodging and nightlife in Banner Elk. Alpine coaster, too!


Plan a winter getaway to the Village of Sugar Mountain


Elevate YourTaste

V i si t l inv il l efal l s w iner y. c om to le ar n abo ut our most up- t o- date o pe ratio n s

The Perfect Weather for a Great Adventure—Guaranteed!

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

Linville Caverns

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

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Live here. Homes & Cottages from $329,500. Generous homesites from $49,900. Come walk through the brand new Cumberland Trace and Piney Creek homes. View virtual tours at LinvilleFallsMountainClub.com

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What’s Inside About our Winter 2020/21 Cover: Boone-based wedding and event photographer Megan Sheppard shot this photo of downtown Boone’s iconic statue of local music legend Doc Watson during the town’s annual Easter egg hunt in 2018. Like the dozens of local kids and intrepid parents who braved the snow that day, Doc was well outfitted with a warm scarf and undaunted by the High Country’s surprise winter weather.

16........ Regional Happenings CML Staff

21........ Ski Well, Be Well—Skiing in the High Country By Tom McAuliffe

34........ A Winter Walk in Downtown Boone By Tamara S. Randolph and Mark Freed

37........ Where are They Now? By Trimella Chaney

38........ Getting to Know Amber Bateman of the Watauga Arts Council By Keith Martin

43........ A Story Teller’s Tale By Steve York

46........ Winter Captured on Canvas By CML Staff

A native of southwest Virginia, Megan has called Boone home for more than a decade. From weddings to family sessions and surprise engagements, the Blue Ridge Mountains have provided the perfect backdrop for Megan’s work since she began her career in professional photography.

60........ Pivotal Moves—The JJ Collier Adventure

When she’s not out framing the perfect shot on cliff sides across the High Country, Megan can be found playing traditional country and bluegrass music with her husband around Boone and tending to her small family of cats. You can find her work at www. megansheppard.com and on Instagram @megansheppardphotography.

73........ Opportunity Found

See the Doc Watson statue for yourself—read our article on the Historic Boone Walking Tour on pages 34-35.

By Steve York

63........ The House that VonCanon Built By Carol Lowe Timblin

68........ The Effortless Girl By Karen Rieley

71........ The Gift of Thrift

By Tamara S. Randolph By Mary Williams

82........ Real Estate Demand Climbs By Jason Reagan

89........ A Place for the Heart By Koren Gillespie

92........ The Key Ingredients of a Culinary Arts Program By Kim S. Davis

95........ High Country Winter Wines By Steve York

97........ CML’s Winter Restaurant Guide By CML Staff

Cultural Calendar with Keith Martin … 32 Movie Review with Elizabeth Baird Hardy … 39 Book Nook with Edwin Ansel … 42 Poetry by Amy C. Millette … 43 Notes from Grandfather Mountain … 45 Blue Ridge Explorers with Tamara S. Randolph…49 Birding with Curtis Smalling … 51 Blue Ridge Parkway Update with Rita Larkin … 54 History on a Stick with Michael C. Hardy … 62 Wisdom and Ways with Jim Casada … 69 Local Tidbits … 74 Community and Local Business News … 76 Finance with Katherine S. Newton … 79 An Ounce of Prevention with Mike Teague … 87 Be Well with Samantha Steele … 90 Wine with Jennifer Weaver-Carson … 101 Recipes from the CML Kitchen with Meagan Goheen … 103

winter! CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE Winter 2020/21 —


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10 — Winter 2020/21 CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE


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APPALACHIAN HANDWEAVING PURCHASE your wearables, table linens, and home decor online today to help support the children of Crossnore. www.crossnoreweavers.org 205 Johnson Lane | Crossnore, NC 28616 (828) LIFE 733-4660 12 — Winter 2020/21 CAROLINA MOUNTAIN



PUBLISHER’S NOTE A publication of Carolina Mountain Life, Inc. ©2020-2021 by Carolina Mountain Life Magazine, Inc. All rights reserved. Contents may not be reproduced in whole or in part without written permission from the Publisher. Babette McAuliffe, Publisher & Editor in Chief Deborah Mayhall-Bradshaw, Design Director Kathy Griewisch, Account Manager Tamara Seymour, Editor Keith Martin, Cultural Arts Editor Contributors: Edwin Ansel, Natalie Brunner, Jennifer Weaver-Carson, Jim Casada, Trimella Chaney, Kim S. Davis, Brennan Ford, Morgan Ford, Mark Freed, Koren Gillespie, Meagan Goheen, Elizabeth Baird Hardy, Michael C. Hardy, Rita Larkin, Julie Loven, Tom McAuliffe, Amy C. Millette, Katherine Newton, Jason Reagan, Karen Rieley, Curtis Smalling, Samantha Steele, Carol Lowe Timblin, Mike Teague, Mary Williams, 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

livingcarolina@bellsouth.net www.CMLmagazine.com 828-737-0771

As I write this, we are enjoying the first snowfall of the season and it feels as if nature has offered us a clean slate. A fresh tablet to write a story of hope and light. A much needed change of pace after the trials of 2020. A chance to build a snowman, have a friendly snowball exchange, or pack up the skis and head to the slopes. I look forward each year to showing my granddaughters how to gently fall back on a snow-covered grassy spot to make a snow angel, or to gather enough fresh flakes to make snow cream, or to appreciate the simple joy of catching falling snowflakes with your face pointed upward. I also adore hiking in the woods in the winter with my German Shepherd and English Bulldog and seeing how much fun they have sticking their noses into the snow to discover what animal might have traveled our path the night before. After a fun-packed outing, there is nothing better than coming inside to warm up in front of the roaring fire. The warmth and light it provides reminds me that winter is indeed a season of light. The lights of the holidays strung on trees and banisters, the light from the candles illuminating a special meal, or simply the light from the moon shining on a blanket of new-fallen snow. Reflecting on 2020, I want to give a shout out to our local businesses and express how much I admire how they navigated the waters of a tumultuous year. They put on their work boots, donned their best attire, and provided us with the best meals, products, gifts, and opportunities to play and, most importantly, enjoy all that is the High Country. I have not heard complaints from them as much as I have heard how they pivoted, adjusted, and provided. Maybe it is the mountain spirit on top of good business sense to find hope amidst some daunting days in 2020. In addition to businesses, many of the nonprofit agencies in our area are suffering under the shutdowns and restrictions from this year’s unprecedented virus—but folks are stepping up to make a difference by donating. Our community’s strong and resilient spirit has inspired me and reminds me each day to be positive, be kind, and to find joy in the small and yet important matters of life. Having coffee in the morning with a loved one or shopping for a friend or family who has COVID and is not allowed out. When I recently took food and supplies to a quarantined family, my heart was warmed when I saw from a distance the smile on the kids’ faces when they realized I had included pasta in the shape of snowmen, and new crayons and drawing pads. There is always good and positive to be found in any situation—sometimes it takes a lot of digging and much reflection. I will continue my journey and hope that each and every one who picks up CML this winter will realize there is hope and lots of good in our world. Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Happy New Year, Happy Valentine’s Day, Happy St. Pat’s Day and Happy Easter. Happy Life . . . it is short and precious. Enjoy the stories within and make sure to let our amazing advertisers know you saw them within the pages of Carolina Mountain Life.

CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE Winter 2020/21 — 13

Crisp & Cozy

No crowds. No crazies. No worries. Just fresh, cool mountain air and a warm fire. Now that’s what we call the perfect “get away from it all” mountain getaway.


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


BOONE • 139 S. Depot St, Boone, NC • 828.355.9984 BLOWING ROCK • 921 Main St., Blowing Rock, NC • 828.295.4453 CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE Winter 2020/21 —


Because schedules continue to change as the pandemic persists, this issue’s Regional Happenings cover winter family fun opportunities available throughout the season. Be sure to check with each establishment for COVID protocols, reservation requirements, special events, and more.

Regional Happenings Parkway Theater, West Jefferson NC

Banner Elk’s Winning Woolly Worm

Ashe County

Avery County

Winter at the Movies! From the earliest days of film, West Jefferson, NC, provided venues for local residents to enjoy the moving pictures being produced in Hollywood. In 1938, West Jefferson opened its newest of several theaters, the Parkway Theater. The Parkway featured all the amenities of a modern movie house, and the eye-catching art deco architecture set the new building apart from other buildings on the block. Ten years later, the Parkway Theater relocated to a larger space in an adjacent building at 10 East Main Street in downtown West Jefferson, where it remains today, retaining the same charm and classic mid-century look and feel. Independently owned and operated, the Parkway shows current and recent popular films—at “retro” prices—using state-of-the-art digital projectors and sound. Both matinee and evening shows take place seven days a week, with movie prices ranging from $5-$6, and snacks ranging from $2-$6. The Parkway offers a film selection to suit the entire family. Following are just some of the new titles coming to the Parkway this winter and early spring: n Wonder Woman 1984 n No Time to Die (the latest James Bond film) n Soul n Fast & Furious 10 n Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway n Cinderella: A modern musical version n Tom and Jerry (cartoon) Visit http://parkwaytheater.net for up-to-date movie listings and times. You can also find the Parkway Theater on Facebook. Due to COVID, show times and titles are subject to change. Before or after your movie, be sure to explore the rest of the West Jefferson Historic District. A must-see stop is the Ashe County Arts Council and Arts Center, located in a beautiful stone building constructed by the Works Progress Administration (WPA) in the 1930s. The Ashe Arts Center houses The Gallery, a year-round exhibition space that showcases works of art by local and regional artists. The Gallery Shop features locally produced art and crafts. Every year, the Ashe County Arts Council sponsors a number of popular community events. Visit https://ashecountyarts.org/ for all the latest updates.

A Woolly Worm’s Winter Forecast Before hitting all the “happenings” scheduled for this winter, you might want to check the forecast—the woolly worm forecast, that is! The 43rd annual Woolly Worm Festival may have been canceled due to COVID-19, but you can’t keep a good worm down. Previously scheduled for October 17-18, 2020, the festival did not get to welcome the approximately 20,000 attendees who visit Banner Elk in Avery County each year to witness a big prediction from the smallest of prognosticators. During the festival, woolly worms are raced in a series of heats, with the champion given the honor of delivering the winter forecast. According to legend, the color bands on a woolly worm can help predict the severity of winter. Last Oct. 17, the Avery County Chamber of Commerce and Kiwanis Club of Banner Elk (both organizers of the annual landmark event) hosted a private race between their less-than-featherweight contenders—the Chamber Charger and the Kiwanis Kicker—at Holston Presbytery Camp in Banner Elk. Overseen by perennial woolly worm interpreter Tommy Burleson, the race saw

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New Year’s at Sugar Mountain the Chamber Charger win by a matter of inches. Burleson, in turn, examined Charger’s 13 segments, with each segment representing a week of winter. According to Charger’s color patterns, the 2020-2021 winter prognostication is as follows: n With the Chamber Charger’s first four segments being black, the first four weeks of winter could see snow and below average temperatures, with the average winter temperature being 27°F. n The next three bands are dark brown, meaning average normal temperatures for the following three weeks. n A one-week fleck indicates belowaverage temperatures, with frost and a little snow. n Two additional dark brown segments suggest average normal temperatures for the next two weeks. n Another one-week fleck suggests below average temperatures with frost and minor snow. n The last two weeks showed black, meaning snow and below average temperatures. Stay warm, and start thinking about the 2021 Woolly Worm Festival! Visit www.woollyworm.com, or call the Avery County Chamber of Commerce at (828) 898-5605.

Linville Caverns Celebrate on the Slopes of Beech Mountain and Sugar Mountain In addition to some of the best skiing and snowboarding in the region, both Sugar Mountain and Beech Mountain offer a variety of winter fun! Families can partake in tubing and ice skating at both resorts throughout the winter. “Not a skier, no problem,” says Talia Freeman of Beech Mountain Resort. “Our village has an abundance of amenities for the non-skier. We offer tubing, ice skating, Camp Coffee Roasters, shopping, and a brewery and restaurant. The Lodge offers a great view of the slopes and has a full restaurant and bar.” As in past years, both Beech Mountain and Sugar Mountain will ring in the new year with fireworks, live music, and a variety of entertainment for the family. For more information, visit www.skisugar. com and www.skibeech.com. If sledding is your thing, head up to the Town of Beech Mountain, next to Fred’s General Mercantile, and enjoy a free sledding hill sponsored by the town. Enjoy a delicious deli lunch at Fred’s then go out and play! Fred’s also sells sleds and warm clothing for the whole family. Warm up in the Caverns Linville Caverns is an underground set of caverns perfect for a winter day visit.

Temperatures stay at an even 52 degrees year round. Each trip runs 45 minutes to an hour with a knowledgeable guide. Add a visit to Famous Louise’s Rockhouse Restaurant close to the caverns and eat in three different High Country counties. Nearby Linville Falls Winery has an indoor tasting room, or stop and hike to Linville Falls and enjoy one of the High Country’s most iconic waterfalls. www. linvillecaverns.com.

Watauga County Blowing Rock’s Winterfest This year, WinterFest lovers will not be able to gather around one table for WinterFeast, or say “Cheers!” in a chilly Beer Garden as in past years. However, you can still celebrate the fun side of winter January 28-31. Feast all weekend long at your favorite Blowing Rock restaurants, shop winter fashions on Main Street, enjoy an evening ice stroll and more! You’ll find more information and updates on all the WinterFest opportunities at https://blowingrockwinterfest.com. Up on App Ski Mountain App Ski Mtn joins the other High Country ski resorts in ringing in 2021with fireworks and more! Throughout the season, enjoy the best of skiing and continued on next page CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE Winter 2020/21 —


More Regional Happenings

MerleFest, Wilkes County / Photo by Billy Potter snowboarding, and lace up those skates at Appalachian’s ice rink, situated with the ski slopes on one side and views of the Blue Ridge Mountains on the other. Visit appskimtn.com for updates on conditions, to book slopeside lodging, and to plan a winter escape to remember. Gem Mining in Blowing Rock Most of the local gem mines in the High Country have an indoor area for mining. Doc’s Rocks in Blowing Rock has the largest indoor flume where families can pan for treasures. “Our flume is open seven days a week with the exception of Christmas,” says Hunter Gavaghan. “Not only do families enjoy the fun of gem mining, but our staff also educates about geology, especially North Carolina geology.” Along with gem mining, tour the Appalachian Geology Museum and have a cup of steaming coffee at the facility’s coffee shop. Visit docsrocks.org.

Wilkes County Looking Forward to MerleFest 2021 Plotting for the future has become a fun and healthy pastime for all of us who, due to COVID, missed our favorite annual events and outdoor festivals in 2020. One of the most popular festivals in our

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Doc’s Rocks in Blowing Rock region, MerleFest, has come up with a plan to ensure that you “see everyone in 2021!” Rather than taking place in April, as in past years, MerleFest organizers have set the 2021 festival date to September 16-19. And since its popularity has grown exponentially in recent years, planning far in advance makes a lot of sense. MerleFest was founded in 1988 in memory of Eddy Merle Watson as a fundraiser for Wilkes Community College and to celebrate ‘traditional plus’ music. The popular festival honors the musical excellence of both father, Doc Watson, and son Merle, two names forever inscribed in High Mountain history. The 2021 festival takes place at Wilkes Community College in Wilkesboro, NC, so be sure to save the date! Visit MerleFest. org to see the festival’s lineup, purchase advance tickets, express interest in volunteering, and see highlights from past festivals. Add to Your Winter Calendar Many seasonal events will likely take place here in the High Country throughout the winter season. Some of the best resources for checking event listings, updates and changes are our local Chambers of Commerce and

Tourism Development Associations. Be sure to check out the following websites before planning your visit to take advantage of all that our region has to offer. Ashe County Chamber of Commerce: https://ashechamber.com Avery County Chamber of Commerce: https://averycounty.com Banner Elk Chamber of Commerce: https://www.bannerelk.org Beech Mountain TDA: https://beechmtn.com Boone Chamber of Commerce: https://www.boonechamber.com Blowing Rock Chamber of Commerce: https://blowingrockncchamber.com/home Burke County Chamber of Commerce: http://burkecountychamber.org Burnsville-Yancey Chamber of Commerce: https://www.yanceychamber.com Caldwell County Chamber of Commerce: https:// www.caldwellchambernc.com Johnson County, TN Chamber of Commerce: http://www.johnsoncountytnchamber.org Washington County, VA Chamber of Commerce: http://www.washingtonvachamber.org Wilkes County Chamber of Commerce: https://www.wilkeschamber.com





C at omi ion ng on Sp Ma rin in g 2 St 02 re 1 et Bl ow i



Southern Charm in the High Country


215 Boone Heights Dr., Boone







Let’s Have Fun Together!


20 — Winter 2020/21 CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE

Sugar Mountain, NC

Keeping the Gates Open:

let it snow

The Winter of COVID-19 Photo: Bushphoto

By Tom McAuliffe


ollowing the success of High Country recreational and hospitality industries during the uncertain summer of 2020, the North Carolina Ski Areas Association (NCSAA), in conjunction with the National Ski Areas Association (NSAA), has made it clear their adopted safety protocols and procedures are soundly in place for the upcoming ski season. There’s a lot on the line for the state’s six ski resorts, Sky Valley, Cataloochee, Wolf Ridge, Appalachian Ski Mountain, Sugar and Beech Mountain, who together deliver a $228 million economic boost to the region—in terms of dollars and taxes—not to mention the physical and mental well-being of many people. “Shutting down the ski industry would be devastating to the local economy,” said Appalachian Ski Mountain President Brad Moretz. “We’ve left no stone unturned to make skiing and snowboarding safer for our customers and employees.” Nowhere has the successful and safe conduction of summertime activities in the High Country been more evident than in the unparalleled growth in lodging taxes. Visitors from southeastern states’ urban centers have flocked to the sanctuary of the Appalachian Mountains in record numbers since last spring. The state’s ski areas of course are keen on a similar success, and have gone to great lengths to prove they are good wardens of public health. The NCSAA’s “Ski Well—Be Well” guidelines for its member resorts were put together by

association president and Sugar Mountain Marketing Director Kim Jochl. “I thought it was the perfect document,” she said of the of the national association’s recommendations. “Input came in from one end of the country to the other to promote the safe pursuit of winter sports. We all want to go skiing.” Occupancy taxes, better known in metropolitan areas as the province of visitor and convention bureaus, are included in short-term rental home and hotel fees. Tourism Development Authorities on Beech Mountain, Sugar Mountain, Blowing Rock and Watauga County collect the taxes and spend them promoting and improving the offerings of their respective jurisdictions. The numbers portend a similar, if not greater, economic windfall for their respective constituencies this winter. In Watauga County, occupation tax figures from June through September exceeded record collections by an average of 65 percent. At the destination resort towns of Beech Mountain and Sugar Mountain, the increases in lodging revenue was even higher—much higher in fact. Sugar Mountain Tourism Development Authority Chairperson Jim Fitzpatrick reported that half the town’s annual TDA budget was met in the two months of July and August. The twomonth occupancy tax average was 136 percent over the village’s record highs for collections. The autumn months, normally ‘slow down’ months in the mountain economy, set new records as well.

“These taxes don’t burden our property owners,” Fitzpatrick said. “It’s an elective expense for visitors and helps us keep property taxes in line and funds many improvements to the Village of Sugar Mountain.” Kate Gavenus, in her seventh year as Beech Mountain’s Director of Tourism and Economic Development, reacted to Sugar Mountain’s numbers. “The same thing is happening here,” she said, reporting a 143 percent increase over the previous record high last July and August. “The numbers are crazy but we’re offering outdoor recreation and maybe you’re safer in the fresh air than if you were inside some building with lots of other people.” It’s that success that puts all eyes on the state’s ski industry. Golf, tennis, cycling, hiking and whitewater rafting enjoyed record seasons in the year of COVID. And the industry’s wholehearted adoption of necessary safety protocols is testament to the serious nature of the virus. Gavenus and others in the travel, recreation, and hospitality industries of the High Country believe the winter season can mirror the success shown last summer and fall. “People have more flexibility,” she said. “Coming to the mountains is not just a Saturday or Sunday event today. Wherever I go I see more people on the trails and outdoors. It’s healthy for the body and healthy for the soul.” As the saying goes, “If you’re lucky enough to be in the mountains, you’re lucky enough.” continued...



“The more things change the more they stay the same.” - Alphonse Karr In the face of uncertain times, social upheaval, and a pandemic, it was strangely calming to see the 2020 ski season open November 19 at Sugar Mountain. The sounds of the snow guns were heard three days earlier, with a re-energized Beech Mountain adding to the hopeful cacophony. But as impressive as Beech Mountain’s effort was, showing more snowmaking muscle than ever before, they pulled over to await a more sustaining Arctic Clipper as Sugar revved up the Summit Express to get the party started. “You know how hard it is to get going,” Sugar Mountain’s Gunther Jochl said. “But it means a lot for people to see we’re starting up, especially in times like these.” November start-ups have been the rule since 1976, when Sugar Mountain shocked the skiing establishment by opening on November 5. Sometimes those early openings are short-lived. “Its our way to get the machinery running, people to work, and start working on the base,” Jochl said. “Sometimes it goes away, but we should be okay. I’m going skiing today and that’s all I know.”. Its been a typical off season at Sugar, home to the south’s biggest vertical drop of 1,200 ft. and the Flying Mile. Most of the upgrades and improvements go unseen by visitors, such as the replacement of culverts, drainage pipes and other infrastructure in need of upgrade. The already beefy snowmaking system added more guns, driving the need for more reservoir space—three big Airless guns on wheels and two mounted on tall towers. To that end, excavators dredged a large pond on the golf course property increasing its reservoir capacity by millions of gallons, and at the same time improving the overall health of the stream-fed ecosystem by removing years of silt accumulation. The ski and snowboard rental area, built for 1970 demand, has been completely overhauled and features new equipment from Head Ski Company of Austria, and, in the words of rental operations director at the resort, Dick Casey, “will greatly improve the flow, cutting down on wait time and getting our customers on the snow quicker.”

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This is Casey’s second stint on the mountain. After years as a key leader in the Sugar Mountain Race team development program, he returns from a career on the South Carolina coast to boost the offerings on his favorite mountain. He rejoins Ski School director Len Bauer, Mountain Managers Erich Schmidinger and Andrew Jochl, Food Service Director Keith Lane, and snow making lead man Dave McManus on a crew where the average tenure in all the resort’s key positions exceeds thirty years. Mike Thomas, who spent three decades as store manager of Alpine Ski Center’s Johnson City branch, has taken the helm of the resort’s Sports Shop. That experience is particularly critical this year, which has been anything but typical. “I question my sanity,” Jochl said, with only a slight touch of humor. “This is a pandemic year and there’s so much uncertainty. The trend in much of our industry is to stop spending with so many travel restrictions looming. But we’re following the rules and will open up smart, implement all the regulations to make things as safe as we can so people can enjoy the mountain.”

Photo: Bushphoto

w o n s t i t le Sugar Mountain Does It Again

Photo: Bushphoto


For Jochl and his counterparts in the North Carolina Ski Areas Association, the goal is to enjoy the growth of their industry in the face of the COVID-19 threat in the same fashion the golf industry enjoyed record levels of participation last summer. Once labeled an “essential industry,” the Sugar Mountain Golf Club posted a banner season. “The seriousness of this has not gone by me,” Jochl noted. “My 94-year-old mother had it (COVID) after going through surgery in Germany. My daughter contracted it in Austria. They got through it. It is not necessarily a death sentence. Since the beginning of the pandemic people have been coming to the mountains, leaving the cities behind to go out and play.” Sugar Mountain’s Vice-President of Marketing Kim Jochl, Gunther’s partner and wife, directed a pro-active mitigation campaign as President of the North Carolina Ski Areas Association. Beech Mountain’s Ryan Costin and Appalachian Ski Mountain’s Brad Moretz served on the six-strong resorts’ board of directors of the organization. Titled “Ski Well—Be Well,” the NCSAA lays out practices and

procedures of physical distancing and operating procedures all members have endorsed. The proactive effort is to show local and state governments that every safeguard is in place to insure safe operation. “Our commitment to providing a healthy and fun environment is stronger than ever,” Gunther Jochl stated. At Sugar, old flooring in the ski school and the nursery are being pulled up and replaced with non-absorbent materials for easier cleaning and disinfecting. In the food service areas, long tables are being replaced with four tops so family groups can be together and not, as Food Service director Keith Lane said, “not be sharing an eight-top with folks from out of state they do not know.” Current state mandates limit occupancy to 50 percent of normal capacity. Outdoor seating on the base lodge’s expansive deck will be expanded to improve spacing of customers. In no small irony, the Ski Well-Be Well guidelines adopt the standard of “physical distancing” versus the familiar mandate to social distance. “Physical distancing in lift queues occurs organically due to the length of skis and

snowboards,” the manual states, much like the guy wearing the halo of swim noodles in the line at Wal-Mart. A mountain tagline says, “Six feet of separation has never felt so good.” “Guests will be asked to self-group and load in the chair with their traveling party,” the guidelines state. Face coverings are mandatory for skiers, the most popular being the neck gaiter pull-up. “Employees will be trained in the new guidelines,” Jochl said. “I have a bunch of guys who have put their heads together to follow a preset program. My guys can handle it.”

continued... CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE Winter 2020/21 —


Beech Photos by Sam Dean


Beech Mountain Continues to Impress

24 — Winter 2020/21 CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE

Eastern America’s highest resort continues its resurgence in the eleventh year under general manager Ryan Costin’s aggressive agenda. Capacity in two off-site lakes has been doubled and a new pumping station installed to drive up to 4,000 gallons per minute to the resort’s primary reservoir at the base of its ski slopes. The second phase of a three-phase plan—the first was the addition of 75 snow making machines over the past three seasons—has, according to Costin, “jncreased our snowmaking capacity by at least 50 percent.” Costin’s attention to snowmaking and grooming from day one of his administration has not gone unnoticed by the skiing public. Constant off-season upgrades of systems and features are the hallmark of High Country ski areas, and with Costin’s arrival in 2009, Beech Mountain has shown to be a willing participant in perhaps the most competitive regional industries in America. In a season of uncertainty, Beech Mountain is holding course, moving ahead with a complete rebuild of its signature outdoor ice skating rink, expanding its snow tubing platform to provide more area for physical distancing, overhauling its ski rental procedures to offer paperless registration and new ski and snowboard inventory from Rossignol. The reservation system for rentals and lessons is online, with kiosks located on-site. Once in the system, return visits are a snap as users equipment specs are retained. “The challenge is we’re navigating a landscape that’s a moving target,” Costin said of state regulations that can impose different levels of restrictions with every swing of the pandemic pendulum. “It’s been interesting, but we will accommodate our customers and adapt operations for the safety of everyone.” Both Sugar and Beech have had the opportunity to test lift operations over the summer, as each resort serves a growing mountain bike crowd. “We’ve already experienced rider concerns,” Costin said. “We encourage families and friends to ride together, but whatever their comfort levels are, we’ll adapt and accommodate them.” All the mountains have come to realize that more employees will be required to implement heightened safeguards. “It demands redundancies in your staffing, and shift overlapping to maintain safe protocols,” Costin said. “This season will be extremely labor intensive, in an industry that by nature is already labor intensive.” But in the end, customers can expect better conditions on the slopes through increased snowmaking, better transport to the summit thanks to two fixed-grip quad lifts, and vastly improved ice skating and snowtubing facilities. “The biggest challenge is how we manage off-slope activities,” Costin added. “The big issue is providing food and beverages. We’ve banked on providing those services to our customers.” Currently, the state permits operation at 50% occupancy. The resort operates two food service areas in the village and the Beech Mountain Brewery, and at its satellite offering, The 5506’ SkyBar at the top of the ski slope network. “During holidays and Saturdays, spacing will be a challenge, but today, with work at home and kids studying online, maybe crowds will not be so weekend driven,” Costin allowed. “Things are changing all the time and we’ll adapt. And we’ll be prepared to scale up when permitted.” In a season of uncertainty, Beech Mountain stands ready for that welcome eventuality.

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Appalachian Ski Mountain Ahead of the Game

26 — Winter 2020/21 CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE


Home of the Flex Lift Ticket, which offers visitors nine hours of skiing regardless of their start time, and even residual credit for unused hours, Appalachian Ski Mountain has shown itself as a national leader in ski operation innovation. But resort president Brad Moretz and his marketing director Drew Stanley have conspired to up the ante in the technology game in the age of COVID mitigation. “People will see some things they won’t see anywhere else,” Moretz said. “We’ve developed the most sophisticated booking platform in America.” While such a claim invites skepticism, winter enthusiasts have watched time and again as this finely tuned snowmaking giant has delivered the goods year after year. Reservations for lessons, lift tickets, ski rentals, clothing, helmets, the children’s nursery, and even parking are available online. Touchless payment locations at two dozen kiosks are available if you wish to add on to your slope time or change equipment needs. Even the food service offers point-of-sale ordering that promises lightning fast fulfillment. Over 400 outdoor seats are available to further space customers apart and outdoor grilling becomes a more prevalent offering. “Skiers are already dressed for the cold,” Moretz noted. “Grabbing a box lunch or meal in outdoor seating is a great option.” “It’s been a rare week when we haven’t come up with a new idea to better space people here,” Moretz added. “People will be surprised in a good way with the improvements.” You’ll even find “forearm” door handles in the rest areas for hands-free opening and closing. All staff will wear multi-layer face covering and the resort has adopted the Disney model asking that all patrons over the age of two wear a suitable face covering. The online reservation platform has a new feature. When customers book their visit, a drop box will appear with five-minute arrival intervals. This will help spacing further as folks are encouraged to arrive at specific times. And thanks again to the Flex Ticket, patrons will still enjoy the full nine hours of slope time. “We will do everything we have to to keep our ski areas open,” Moretz said. And underneath all the protocols is the ski and snowboarding terrain. AppSkiMtn, arguably has more snowmaking capacity per square foot than any resort in the country. The immaculate 25-acre complex is rarely closed down by periods of thaw once its snow base is established. The three terrain parks offer progressions of difficulty, nurturing new riders to greater heights, safely and gradually. More than fifty park features mark the terrain. AppSkiMtn is home to the French-Swiss Ski College, where instruction is available for both skiers and snowboarders of all skill levels. AppSkiMtn continues with the popular Midnight Madness, where Friday and Saturday ski sessions extend to midnight. This winter, the madness is extended to Sunday nights during Martin Luther King and Presidents’ Day weekends. The outdoor ice rink opened Thanksgiving week. In the face of the pandemic, Moretz is confident the ski industry will benefit on the strength of its outdoor stage and adherence to safety protocols. “Look at all the things people can’t do in a time like this,” he said. “It funnels all these folks to the things they can do.” And that, Stanley adds, “portends good things to come for skiing.” Moretz sees more benefit coming from adapting to the year of COVID. “Once this is past us, all the innovation and improvements made in the name of safety will continue to make for a better guest experience in the years ahead.”

Photo by Todd Bush Photo by Todd Bush

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BalletX / Beautiful Decay Choreography by Nicolo Fonte Photo by Alexander Iziliaev

Anna Deavere Smith

Boone Docs Overland

No Hibernation for Area Performing Arts Groups By Keith Martin


he resilience of our cherished local performing arts organizations is on full display during the winter months as groups here in the High Country and throughout the region have found new and creative ways of connecting with their loyal audiences. I have never been prouder of these groups as they adapted their programs and productions to socially-distanced events, both online and in person. Bravo! For those of you picking up a copy of this magazine “hot off the press,” please go to our website at CMLmagazine.online for a listing of holiday events and other seasonal performances that take place early in the new year, several of which were teased in our last issue. Here are but a few of the events that have been announced from now through early spring, listed alphabetically below by producing company, with many more to be announced shortly. PLEASE NOTE that all of the performances, dates, and times are subject to change; readers are strongly encouraged to check their websites for the most current information. The APPALACHIAN THEATRE OF THE HIGH COUNTRY (ATHC) has created a winning formula with Boone Docs, a newlylaunched year-round film series featuring documentary films that spark community conversation by presenting an independent lens to view our world. Showcasing emerging and award-winning filmmakers and distinct perspectives from across the globe, Boone Docs celebrates the creative power of independent film. My favorite thing about the series is the post-screening Q&A with the filmmakers, a rare opportunity to engage media artists talking about their craft. At 3 p.m. on Sunday, February 21, 2021, Thumbs Up for Mother Universe, a film by George King, will be screened. Lonnie Holley has been described as a poet, a prophet, a hustler, a visionary artist, and a shaman. The 67-year old Holley has over-

32 — Winter 2020/21 CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE

come grinding poverty, Jim Crow, and a nightmare childhood to emerge as a creative powerhouse with an agenda to save the planet. Overland: Wake the Ancient Wild, by Revere La Noue and Elisabeth Haviland James is a visually stunning, stirring, and cinematic journey shot across four continents that twists and turns like nature itself, bridging ancient to modern, east to west, and earth to sky. As each of these stories unfolds, eagles, falcons, and hawks play a critical role in helping their human partners keep the wild from fading out of sight and out of mind. This documentary will be screened at 3 p.m. on Sunday, March 14, 2021. The inaugural Boone Docs series concludes at 3 p.m. on Sunday, April 18, 2021 with Cured, Patrick Sammon and Bennett Singer’s moving work that sheds a light on the historic and political history of the LGBTQ through the lens of the medical field. It takes audiences behind the scenes of this riveting narrative to chronicle the strategy that led to a crucial victory in the movement for LGBT rights and the first major step on the path to first-class citizenship for LGBT Americans. For more info, go to AppTheatre.org. As previously reported, the BARTER THEATRE in Abingdon, Virginia, acquired the abandoned Moonlite Drive-In theater and has lovingly converted it into a live, outdoor performance venue. This successful endeavor has been reported nationwide, including a feature article in American Theatre. During the months of January and February, they will be holding their 21st annual Appalachian Festival of Plays and Playwrights online. The festival will feature readings of several new Appalachian plays as well as offer playwriting workshops and panel discussions. Barter will also premiere its Black in Appalachia initiative during the festival with a reading of a new play written by a playwright of color.

“While this year’s festival will certainly be different than past ones, we are excited about the possibilities that an online experience can offer,” said the multi-talented Nicholas Piper, festival director. “I think we have the opportunity to introduce even more people to our work and to the stories that authentically reflect the Appalachian experience.” For more information on the festival, visit Barter’s website at BarterTheatre.com. BLUE RIDGE COMMUNITY THEATRE is working to present a series of stories read by local actors in collaboration with the Watauga County Public Library.  Dynamic board chair Julie Richardson, a leading advocate for locally-produced avocational theatre, asks our readers to please visit their website and let them know if you would be interested in interpreting a children’s short story to be shared with their friends at the library and their many followers. Visit them at  BlueRidgeCommunityTheatreNC.com. SCHAEFER CENTER PRESENTS continues its stunning 2020-21 Season with virtual-only programming that (thoughtfully) offers the safest alternative while still continuing to meet the ongoing needs of students, faculty, the community, and a larger digital audience. In my opinion, Appalachian’s Office of Arts and Cultural Programs is one of the most cherished cultural assets we have here in the High Country. On Thursday, February 4,  An Evening with Anna Deavere Smith, the awardwinning playwright, actor and professor, brings various perspectives to the virtual stage for her storytelling presentation Reclaiming Grace in the Face of Adversity. “We live in a winner-take-all society. And yet, part of our potential as humans is our potential for compassion and our resilience in the face of adversity.” While doing research for her play  Let Me Down Easy, Anna Deavere Smith interviewed people

Winter Months Offer Many Opportunities for Engagement in the U.S. and abroad who demonstrated grace in the face of dramatic challenges. The speech celebrates the resilience of the human spirit, the power of empathy, the strength of imagination, and hope.” The event will be moderated by Dr. Paulette Marty, Professor of Theatre Arts at Appalachian, who said, “Smith has an astounding ability to excavate the core of other people’s emotions. The extreme struggles we’ve experienced in the past year have led us all to extreme emotions. I’m so looking forward to processing some of those through storytelling with her as our sage guide.”   In honor of the 15th Anniversary Season of BalletX, the company has commissioned a documentary film by Daniel Madoff that highlights its growth, trajectory, and continued commitment to redefining ballet in the 21st century. Known as  Philadelphia’s premier contemporary ballet company, BalletX commissions choreographers from around the world to create new ballets that are “fresh, inclusive, and connect to what people want” (Philadelphia Citizen). Led by Artistic & Executive Director Christine Cox, BalletX has produced nearly 100 world premiere ballets by more than 50 choreographers, and performed for over 100,000 audience members at home and on tour, including appearances at such prestigious venues as the Kennedy Center, Vail Dance Festival, Joyce Theater, and Jacob’s Pillow. The Steep Canyon Rangers are Asheville, North Carolina’s Grammy winners, perennial Billboard chart-toppers, and frequent collaborators of the renowned banjoist (and occasional comedian) Steve Martin. The Rangers have been on a journey that is uniquely their own, starting in college at UNC-Chapel Hill, then headlining top festivals such as MerleFest and Grey Fox Bluegrass. Martin has taken the Rangers on a nearly decade-long tour introducing them to hundreds of thousands of new fans and giving them prime-time TV exposure. This has helped SCR become the

most recognizable modern names in bluegrass music. NOTE that the Steep Canyon Rangers will be streamed LIVE from the stage of the Schaefer Center on Thursday, March 11. Schaeffer Presents continues their admirable tradition of featuring outstanding local artists with The Best of the Appalachian Dance Ensemble, a showcase from Appalachian’s Department of Theatre and Dance. It features works from at least seven faculty choreographers, including Laurie Atkins, Emily Daughtridge, Regina Gulick, Cara Hagan, Ray Miller, Brad Parquette, and Sherone Price. All curated works were produced between 2006 and 2019 and highlight genres of modern, ballet, tap, and African-themed dance. The selected works feature not only beautiful dancing and well-crafted choreography, but also lighting design by Mike Helms and John Marty, with costume design by Sue Williams. Please remember that all Schaefer Series events are free of charge (bless them) and begin at 8 p.m., but advance registration is required at TheSchaeferCenter.org. Finally, there is a major paradigm shift involving performing arts organizations and cultural facilities in the United States and beyond. The planning and implementation of in-person and/or virtual productions, performing arts events, and community programs are being done on a much shorter time frame than before the pandemic. Cultural activities are occurring with the least amount of lead time that I’ve ever seen in my 38 years working in the not-forprofit performing arts.  Therefore, turn your eyes to the sidebar on the right – a roster of the organizations whose artistry we cover in the pages of CML, many of whom will soon be announcing their upcoming productions. Please check them out online or you may miss some wonderful events!

ADE photo by Lynn Willis

Steep Canyon Raiders

Elegy by Regina Gulick Alleghany Community Theatre www.alleghanycommunitytheatre.org Appalachian State University Department of Theatre and Dance www.theatreanddance.appstate.edu Appalachian Theatre of the High Country www.apptheatre.org Ashe Civic Center www.ashecivic.com Ashe County Little Theatre www.ashecountylittletheatre.org Barter Theatre www.BarterTheatre.com Beanstalk Community Theatre BeanStalkNC.com Blue Ridge Community Theatre www.blueridgecommunitytheatrenc.com City of Morganton Municipal Auditorium www.commaonline.org Ensemble Stage www.ensemblestage.com Hayes School of Music www.music.appstate.edu

t heatre! In/Visible Theatre www.invisibletheatrenc.org.

Jones House Cultural & Community Center www.joneshouse.org Lees-McRae College Performing Arts lmc.edu/pashows Instagram @lmctheatre Parkway Playhouse www.parkwayplayhouse.com Schaefer Center Presents www.theschaefercenter.org

Wilkes Playmakers www.wilkesplaymakers.com



Photo courtesy of The Jones House/PocketSights

A Self-Guided Stroll through Historic Boone By Tamara S. Randolph and Mark Freed


isitors and residents alike enjoy a leisurely stroll through downtown Boone, North Carolina, in every season. Quaint shops, restaurants, coffee bars and galleries line either side of King Street, but unless you’re aware of the town’s deep, historical roots, you might walk right by some significant sights. “Virtual” and “Self-Guided” are two terms that have become quite popular in today’s vernacular as the pandemic pushes on. And while we all long for greater personal interaction, we’ve learned that some wonderful resources are available to us that we might otherwise overlook. One of these resources is the PocketSights selfguided tours of notable towns throughout the U.S., including Boone. Start by visiting the PocketSights website, or download the mobile app at Apple Store or Google Play. The website and App share a quick introduction to Boone, with a general overview of its origins. You’ll also find a summary of all stops on the self-guided walking tour so you can do some research beforehand. Or, opt for spontaneity and make all your discoveries once you’ve hit the sidewalks. A digital map visually lays out the entire tour route, with photos and descriptions of each point of interest and recommendations on where to begin and end. Short on time, or interested in only select

34 — Winter 2020/21 CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE

stops? With the PocketSights map, you can customize your tour based on your own interests. Say your focus is on the arts. A great place to start would be the Jones House Cultural and Community Center at 604 W. King Street. Built in 1908 by Dr. John Walter Jones, this Queen Anne style home sits prominently in the heart of Boone. The family sold the house in 1938 to the Town of Boone with the stipulation that it be used as a cultural and community center. Today, in addition to a community art gallery and offices for the Cultural Resources Department, the Jones House is a center of activity, offering weekly live music performances, music lessons, holiday events, and a lush outdoor gathering space. While many activities have gone virtual for the time being, the Jones House has something for all ages, both online and in person, year round. Next on your cultural tour, enjoy a close encounter with an eternal smile that will warm your soul. The Doc Watson statue, sculpted by Blowing Rock artist Alexander M. Hallmark, sits at the corner of King and Depot Streets. It is both a tribute to a local legend and an example of excellence in craftsmanship. Arthel “Doc” Watson (1923-2012) preferred to be known as “just one of the people,” as the plaque reads next to his

statue. Blind from infancy, Doc started his career in his 20s busking in front of Boone Drug and playing his guitar at local spots like the Appalachian Theatre. Watson was a neighbor and community member to many in Watauga County, and he was also the recipient of eight Grammy Awards— including a Lifetime Achievement—and the National Medal of Arts, presented by President Bill Clinton in 1997. Though he remained humble, Watson had an illustrious career, and his legacy is celebrated each June in Boone during “Doc Watson Appreciation Day.” Another brush with fame along the PocketSights tour route is the Ned P. Austin Star Marker. Watauga County native Ned Payne Austin (1925-2007) was an American film actor, and from 1952-1954 he portrayed Daniel Boone in the Horn in the West production. His acting credits include appearances on the television show Movin’ On and roles in the movies The Happy Ending, Hot Summer in Barefoot County, Annie Hall, and Stephen King’s Maximum Overdrive. Later in life, Austin returned to Boone where he continued to produce films and act in local theatre productions. While continuing your “walk of fame,” be sure to check out the recently restored Appalachian Theatre. Built in 1938, this historic theatre was primarily a movie

Photo courtesy of The Jones House/PocketSights

Courtesy of wataugadigital.com

Photo courtesy of The Jones House/PocketSights

Post Office Bench and Auditorium: Photo by Palmer Blair, courtesy of Sarah Lynn Spencer and the Appalachian Theatre of the High Country.

house, with occasional live performances by acts such as the Foggy Mountain Boys, Minnie Pearl, and of course Doc Watson. In 1950, the building was badly damaged, and continued its decline into the 2000s. The Town of Boone eventually acquired the building and then sold it to the Appalachian Theatre of the High Country, a nonprofit organization. Doc Watson himself attended the very first interest meeting of the “Save the Appalachian Theatre” task force in 2011, and he gave the organization permission to use his name to renovate and restore the theatre. After undergoing a multi-million-dollar renovation, the Appalachian Theatre reopened in 2019 and is now home to the “Doc Watson Stage for Americana Music.” The stops listed above are just four of the more than 25 noteworthy sights on the official walking tour of downtown Boone. The tour also highlights Civil War sites, municipal buildings and architecture, Daniel Boone monuments, historic markers, and so much more. Don’t miss your winter walk through a mountain town known for its colorful people, enduring creativity and rich heritage. Visit https://pocketsights.com/tours/ tour/Boone-Historic-Boone-WalkingTour-3449 for more information.

Want to take a self-guided walking tour through another High Country town? PocketSights also features a tour of Historic Downtown Banner Elk at https://pocketsights.com/tours/tour/Banner-Elk-Historic-Downtown-Banner-Elk-4037.





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Where Are They Now? By Trimella Chaney

Periodically, we focus on people from our region who have adventured out into the world and done amazing things. In this issue, we are checking in with film director, writer, producer and educator Janlatae Mullins.


ow does a 1997 Watauga High School graduate become an awardwinning film director, writer, and producer? According to Janlatae Mullins, “It’s Divine timing.” In the late nineties Jan’s family moved to the High Country from Marietta, Georgia, and Jan sustained a cultural shock. While attending Avery High School, she found acceptance within the close knit group of drama students, and later enrolled at Watauga High School, where she continued her drama studies. At Watauga Jan became a valuable member of the Pioneer Playmakers, the school’s auditiononly acting troupe, helping the ensemble to garner awards from the North Carolina Theatre Conference. Soon after graduation Jan attended an acting workshop where at the conclusion of the class she was told that she “didn’t have the look to be successful in New York.” Digesting this evaluation and reassessing her dream, she turned to other passions of hers—writing, and Dawson’s Creek. She proceeded to write a story line for the popular show and puzzled about how she could get to Wilmington by bus to pitch her idea. Divine timing. A cousin called to say that she was coming for a family visit on her way to Hickory. Soon Jan was on her way to Wilmington aboard a bus from Hickory. While on the bus, Jan met a guy who knew the Fincannons (the talent agency involved with Dawson’s Creek). He helped to arrange a ride for her to the studio. She admits that she naively thought that she could just walk onto the film lot. Unable to penetrate the security and unwilling to

Janlatae Mullins (far right) receives award at the 2018 Black Women Film Network (BWFN) Film Festival

give up, she decided to stay the night. She admits to sleeping on a park bench! But she was there the next morning when a man walked by wearing a Warner Brothers cap. Jan fearlessly approached him with a request for him to read her work. His response: “I don’t want to hear it!” Undeterred, she persisted. The producer growled, “I’ll take it, but don’t sue me. Our ideas are at least six months ahead of the story line and your idea may already be in the pipeline.” Sure enough, he contacted her saying that even though her “treatment” was fully detailed (comprising many more pages than typical), they had a similar story line already. Jan recalls fondly that this producer was a real professional who continued to accept her calls until the show was cancelled. The lesson she learned: Don’t procrastinate. Have ideas ready to present to take advantage of potential opportunities. This episode brought on a deep depression since Jan felt her dream was in front of her and she had messed it up. Moving back to Marietta, she found a church home. Soon she was writing screen plays, television scripts, and TV pilots, again giving voice to her ideas. She began attempting to produce on her own with equipment from Home Depot. At the conclusion of one of her film attempts, she realized she had no editing capabilities and no professional sound expertise. With the help of her pastor, Jan acknowledged that she had reached a “roadblock of knowledge.” To remedy this, she reached out to the New York Film School Academy and was accepted. While living with friends, she

began to acquire the tools she needed to realize her dream. She also attended The Art Institute of Atlanta to complete her professional training. Another incident of Divine timing in Jan’s mind was the Reel to Reel Film Competition sponsored by Jack Daniels. She entered the inaugural contest with her film, SOULFIRE, and became the first winner. As a result, she found herself doing press with actor Omari Hardwick and on a national tour. Jan’s inspirational story continues as she works as a professional director for BARK BARK, a branding video agency, teaches online screenwriting, and continues to write and produce. Her next project for Viacom is filmed at the Tyler Perry Studios in Atlanta. Jan’s advice to aspiring artists: “Your voice matters. Strive to understand the power and purpose of your voice because you are magic!” Now an award-winning filmmaker, Jan truly believes that artists need to get together and encourage their unique voices. When asked what part of the process that she enjoys most, she answers, “I enjoy the whole process. I love the writing, the directing, and the producing. I enjoy the group effort that it takes to complete the project. I want to produce work which connects to the God parts in all of us.” Ms. Trimella Chaney is a veteran theatre arts teacher and founder of the Theatre Arts Department at Watauga High School. She currently teaches at Appalachian State University in the Department of Theatre and Dance, and is a local community theatre director.



Q&A with Amber Bateman New Executive Director of Watauga Arts Council By Keith Martin


mber Bateman recently became the new Executive Director of the Watauga Arts Council, the first change in leadership at the organization in nearly three decades. Founded in 1981, their goal was “to create activities and events that shared their love of the community, to educate children, to continue the tradition of artistry and craftsmanship in the High Country, and to provide artists with the assistance they need to grow and develop their voice.” As a way of introducing readers to this dynamic addition to the High Country cultural community, CML posed some questions to Bateman after her first few months on the job. The following is edited only for length and clarity. CML: Your predecessor, Cherry Johnson, spent 28 years in the position, and her Ashe County counterpart, Jane Lonon, retired after 38. How does it feel to inherit their legacies?   Bateman: I am very grateful to both women and proud to be following in their footsteps. They made some incredible strides for the arts in the High Country and their dedication paved the way for Jeff [Fissell, her colleague in West Jefferson] and me. Jane achieved great success in transforming Ashe into an arts-centered county. Everywhere you go, you see the arts, and I look to Jane as an example. I would love to make a similar mark on the Watauga County landscape. To make  the  arts  more visible and easier to experience both within city limits and throughout the county, all the way to rural areas. If Jeff and I work together we can do great things to unify the efforts of Watauga and Ashe Counties, further solidifying arts as a destination of the High Country.

Those projects were not mine but the community’s; I was just the builder and both are doing well... beautiful examples of the power of a united community. When we work together, it can make a much greater impact on the lives of those around us. Both were built with intention, and I made sure we were not duplicating efforts but actually filling a gap in services. I hope to do the same with the Arts Council.   CML: I understand that at heart you are an artist. Tell us about your background and that creative side? Bateman: While I would have loved a career as a professional artist, I’ve been too busy with family or other projects to really pursue it. In my free time, I dabble with clay, inks, and painting. I sell what I make but I haven’t built an official business out of it. Maybe in the future. My husband Charlie and I incorporate visiting arts districts, galleries and museums in our travel plans every time we travel together or as a family. We gain so much inspiration from those outings. I think our exposure to other arts initiatives in other cities has fueled my desire to bring that back to Boone.  I have been commissioned for works in painting, photography, drawing, woodturning, and clay. I was awarded a scholarship through the Watauga Arts Council to attend  a summer session at  Penland School of Crafts. The process of applying for that grant, interviewing for it, and then actually getting to achieve that goal was really transformative for me. I was told the money for that grant program “dried up,” but I would love to raise funds to begin awarding more emerging artists those same opportunities. 

CML: Many of our readers know your name from the founding of Quiet Givers and helping to start the Back2School Festival. How are they doing and what will your role be in both organizations moving forward? Bateman: I handed over both organizations to very capable leadership years ago so I could focus on my family.

CML: Please tell us your vision for the Watauga Arts and the strengths and challenges you see in the organization?   Bateman: I desire to reenergize arts in Watauga County, to be identified as a region rich in arts and culture where artists feel like stakeholders rather than just an accent to our identity. I want to celebrate

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all forms of art, advocate for more public art, sculptures, and murals where our galleries thrive… a place where artists and art lovers abide and are invested in infusing creativity into the lives of those who live and visit this beautiful place. The Council needs to be an agency that bridges the gap between the artists, arts organizations,  and local leadership, businesses, and the tourism sector. If we listen to each other we might realize we have similar visions and find ways to collaborate to work toward the same goals.   CML: How has it gone so far, and about what are you most excited?  Bateman: Things have gone well! I have really enjoyed getting to know board members and volunteers of the Blue Ridge ArtSpace. While some things have gone slower than hoped due to COVID, others have moved so fast they have taken me by surprise.  One unexpected surprise  was getting a space in downtown Boone. In my first month here, I reached out to the owners of The Local, a restaurant on Howard Street. They leased a space on King Street but it was vacant, waiting for them to start another restaurant, but those plans got pushed back due to COVID. I asked if we might be able to use the space until they start renovating. Without hesitation they offered us the space, rent free, until they were ready to turn it into a restaurant. Jean Borhman, Colton Lenz, and Alaina Walker made one of the most significant donations to the arts that we have seen in a long time.  We named the space King Street Art Collective. I am excited to get started, to start meeting artists, musicians, performers, to start networking with local arts organizations, to unify all these smaller efforts and display it in a way that people can really see the arts in our region. I am excited to meet with local leaders and find ways we can work together to enhance this beautiful place we call home. For more information, visit www.watauga-arts.org.


A Call to Spy

a Different Sort of War Story By Elizabeth Baird Hardy

In 1941, by the time the United States entered World War II, the conflict had already been consuming Europe for years, as the forces of Adolph Hitler’s Third Reich prowled across the landscape, consuming countries in their path. To combat the looming threat of the Axis powers, Great Britain’s Special Operations Executive (SOE) ran an espionage campaign that worked to undermine Nazi domination in Europe. Operatives were sent into regions that already were under Nazi control or were in imminent danger from Hitler’s forces. Wireless (radio) operators were responsible for transmitting messages to and from London and operatives on the ground who were building underground networks to collect information and conduct sabotage. While recruiting individuals to take on these dangerous missions, the SOE realized the potential of using “lady spies.” Women were less likely to be searched, could go places less accessible to men, and, thanks to the stereotypes of the era, were often underestimated as being incapable of serving as undercover agents. Playing on those assumptions, the SOE used a number of female agents in its effective but costly efforts to save Europe from the Axis. IFC Films’ A Call to Spy (alternatively titled Libertie: A Call to Spy), released in the U.S. in October 2020, tells the remarkable stories of three of the women whose efforts and sacrifices were crucial pieces in the SOE’s efforts and the eventual triumph of the Allies. While there were scores of women crucial to the efforts of the SOE (including 114 who gave their lives to the cause) the film focuses on “spymistress” Vera Atkins (played by Stana Katic) at SOE headquarters and two of her field agents, American Virginia Hall (Sarah Megan Thomas) and wireless operator Noor Inayat Khan (Radhika Apte). All three of these women overcame enormous obstacles to support the Allied cause. Atkins, unbeknownst to many of her colleagues, was Jewish and sometimes regarded with suspicion. Noor was Muslim and a pacifist. Virginia

Hall, later to become the spy the Nazis most feared, had lost the lower portion of one leg in a hunting accident and walked with a slight limp due to her wooden prosthesis. These obstacles sometimes made it challenging for them to heed the “call” to spy, but certainly did not impede their incredible accomplishments. Each of these remarkable women had a vital role to play, and A Call to Spy beautifully showcases all three of them, without ever resorting to heavy-handed “girl-power” lectures or Hollywoodglamor posing. Rather, the film shows the amazing jobs these women did, whether behind a desk, a radio, or enemy lines. The film shows how vital these women, and those like them, were to the Allies’ success. The film was written by Sarah Megan Thomas, who also plays Hall with understated grace and grit. Stana Katic, familiar to television audiences from Castle, portrays Atkins with both period-appropriate restraint and unusual capability. Radhika Apte may be less familiar to American audiences, although she is well-known internationally; she brings Noor to life as both beautifully human and hauntingly courageous. The other performances in the film are strong as well, including those depicting real people. There have been some liberties taken with timelines in order to create cohesion for the story. Although both Hall and Noor worked for the SOE and with Atkins, they did not actually know one another. However, the film does not over-romanticize or otherwise tinker with the characters’ lives in order to make them more like twenty-first century people. Their stories are incredible ones that do not require movie-business alternations, although a number of fictional characters and stories have been based on these women and their heroic efforts. As a result, although the film is gripping, it is not a blockbuster thriller, jam-packed with action sequences. Nor is it an introspective lecture. Rather, it is a fascinating introduction to real people and events.

While the film depicts harrowing and terrible events, based on the actual ordeals and horrors of the war, these events are portrayed with sensitivity, rather than sensationalism. The film is thus appropriate viewing even for those who might be unable to stomach Saving Private Ryanlevels of realism, while avoiding sugarcoating the facts of the war and the very grim prospects for survival faced by the SOE agents and their civilian allies and networks. Moments of humor, including Noor’s struggle to carry a wireless almost as big as she is and Hall’s self-deprecating jokes about “Cuthbert” (the name she gave her wooden leg) are appropriate bright spots in a sometimes grim story. While there are some errors in the operation of firearms and explosives, these minor filmmaking missteps, like the intentional artistic liberties taken to create a cohesive story from three separate lives, in no way detract from this film’s excellence or from its power to tell the stories of these heroic women. As 2021 marks sixty years since the events that begin the film, and the entry of the United States into WWII, A Call to Spy is a great way to get to know some perhaps unfamiliar figures in that crucial story. A Call to Spy is available on a number of video-on-demand streaming services, including Amazon Prime. It is rated PG13, but younger viewers may be able to cope with the peril the film portrays, especially if there is an opportunity to discuss how real human beings underwent the ordeals depicted in the film, heeding the Call to Spy in spite of the cost. CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE Winter 2020/21 —


Embrace all seasons.


EAT, DRINK, BE SOCIAL... Lunch • Dinner • Full Bar Tues-Sat, 11am-9pm 128 Pecan Street Abingdon, Virginia (276)698-3159

Be sure NC to visit The Rock View from 4KBlowing above sea level

Santa will be at the Blowing Rock Saturdays and Sundays, 1-3 pm, December 12, 13, 19 and 20.

“Enjoy the Legend”


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Book Nook

As the winter weather drives you into your favorite “nesting” zones, be sure to equip yourself with a cup of cheer and a good book. Whether on your cozy couch or in your warm and aromatic kitchen, our Book Nook reads are perfect choices for the season.

A Smoky Mountain Boyhood: Musings, Memories, and More Jim Casada, Author —Reviewed by Edwin Ansel

Canvas and Cuisine: the Art of the Fresh Market Jorj Morgan, Author | Susan Fazio, Artist —Reviewed by CML Staff

I’m sitting in the kitchen with Audrey, my one and only. I’m reading Jim Casada’s A Smoky Mountain Boyhood, a vivid account of life in the High Country in the 1950s. “He says his mom put up two hundred quarts of apples every year.” “I put up three hundred quarts back when I had my garden,” replies Audrey. “But this is just the apples,” I say. “She also canned the beans and peas and tomatoes and all that.” “Hmph,” she says. Audrey’s competitive that way. At Casada’s boyhood home there was always a jar of stewed apples on the table, or applesauce, and there might also be an applesauce cake, or a cobbler, or fried apple pies. And, as he recounts in loving detail, cookies with raisins and black walnuts that he’d collected himself. Pumpkin pie. Country ham, cured by his father, from a hog that they’d raised out back. Rabbit or quail that Casada may have brought home from an afternoon ramble with his gun. Fried squirrel served up with biscuits, sweet taters and “kilt” greens. And if it was Sunday, “yard bird” raised by his grandfather and roasted to a rich toasty brown by his grandmother, along with giblet gravy and cracklin cornbread cooked in a cast iron “spider” and slathered with butter they’d churned at home. And this is just any given day in December! Much like his family’s table, A Smoky Mountain Boyhood is itself a buffet. His account of living close to the land, and living well, caught my attention right away, but there is so much more going on. He brings you right in the house as his guest at all the family’s celebrations, from New Year’s Day to Christmas. He introduces you to his people, and especially Grandpa Joe, who was both “unquestionably quair” and also his great friend and mentor. He’ll teach you how to shoot marbles. What it’s like to hang out with the whittlers and tale-tellers at “Loafer’s Glory.” The importance of the pocket knife, and its care and feeding. And there’s the joy of the words themselves. Tanglefoot. Honeyfuggling. Quair. Words that may not be in your dictionary, but that are good and valuable and that Casada uses without apology. Looking back at this idyllic boyhood it’s natural to make comparisons, and to regret the things we’ve lost. I’m wary of nostalgia, though. Like a swig of that tanglefoot, it’ll make your head spin. Resisting that temptation reveals the truly great virtue of this memoir. It’s practically a handbook on how to raise up a boy, even today. It’s not necessary to duplicate Casada’s boyhood—Audrey’s grandson won’t be shooting rabbits on our hillside, it just wouldn’t be neighborly. But we can pass down to him the spirit of it. The joy of exploring a field or a wood, on his own. Hefting real tools and using them so far as he’s able. Getting up wood with the men. A Smoky Mountain Boyhood makes the case for this kind of modern boyhood, for which I say, “Thanks Jim!” A Smoky Mountain Boyhood: Musings, Memories, and More is published by the University of Tennessee Press. Signed and inscribed copies are available through the author’s website at www.jimcasadaoutdoors.com; the book is also available at the publisher’s website, utpress.org, barnesandnoble.com and amazon.com.

Accomplished cookbook author Jorj Morgan and gifted artist Susan Fazio are best friends who love to travel. Morgan seeks out farmers’ markets, restaurants, and fresh ingredients around the world. Fazio always packs her easel and paintbrush, painting city scenes, landscapes and of particular interest, fresh food. So it was natural that they decided to partner on their new book, Canvas and Cuisine: the Art of the Fresh Market. Created in the spirit of a coffee table book, this culinary collection features over 130 recipes that lead readers by the hand through the aromatic streets of France, Italy, Vietnam, England, Russia, China, and beyond. The friends traveled and collaborated for years on Canvas and Cuisine, and their recipes, paintings, and stories come to life on its pages. The book is divided into digestible sections, all illustrated by Fazio’s oil paintings: Bulbs and Flowers; Fruits, Fungi and Leaves; Roots and Seeds; Stems and Tubers; Meats and Cheeses; Fish and Fowl; and Breads, Pastries, and Sweets. Each recipe transports your taste buds to exotic locales, a welcomed escape in a time when travel and dining out is limited. And peppered throughout the book are Fazio’s renderings of the open air farmers’ markets and quaint villages, “so lively, you hear flamenco music coming from that cozy tapas bar around the corner,” says Morgan. And that’s what this book is: full of life. You’ll want to share it with your friends, who, even if they don’t cook, will appreciate the art and the armchair tour of places many of us yearn to see in person. Canvas and Cuisine: The Art of the Fresh Market is available from Barnes and Noble, Amazon or directly from the author’s publisher (Dorrance Publishing Co.). Proceeds from sales will be donated to Hospitality House of Northwest North Carolina (www.hosphouse.org), and The Boys and Girls Club of Hendersonville (https://bgchendersonco.org). Jorj Morgan is the author of several books that include subjects ranging from entertaining, to cooking, to health and wellness. View her titles and subscribe to her free cooking blog at Jorj.com. Susan Fazio’s work can be found in the Silver Fox Gallery and Main Street Theater both in Hendersonville, North Carolina. Her paintings are also found in designer studios, including Dianne Davant Studios in Stuart, FL, and Art Cellar in Banner Elk, NC. View her works at www.suefazio.com and on YouTube.

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Once Upon a Storyteller’s Tale By Steve York


By Amy C. Millette, Vilas, NC “Once upon a time…”; the most memorable, engaging and powerful four words in all of English language storytelling.   It’s true! And it isn’t just within English literature. In fact, no less than 88 world cultures catalog libraries full of stories, fables, legends, songs or religious writings that include some version of Once upon a time. And many of those writings date back thousands of years. Now, think back to your earliest childhood. Do you remember the moment when your mother first opened up that colorful picture-book to read you a bedtime story? You were instantly captured by the magic of those four words, Once upon a time. And let’s be honest…those four words have continued to captivate all of us throughout our lives. From ancient legends and fables, to poems and songs, from fairytales to animated films, from classic novels to contemporary epic motion pictures, Once upon a time still wields its magic. Why? Because we never outgrow our childhood fascination with the fantastic. Like some sorcerer’s spell, it is words such as Once upon a time which enchant us. They grab and command our attention and then…they propel us and our imaginations like arrows shot from a bow through page after page, chapter after chapter, and story after story.  For example, we all recall these classic opening lines that defy us to turn away: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.”(1); “Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered weak and weary…”(2); “Call me Ishmael.”(3); “All this happened, more or less.”(4); and this dramatic movie opening scroll, “A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…”(5). Here’s a little secret: Great storytellers know exactly when and where to use such phrases to jar and hold our awareness while weaving their tales, drawing us deeper and deeper into the magic and mystery about to unfold from within their stories and from within our imaginations.   And here’s another little secret: It isn’t just those opening words. It’s the phrases used to transition from one paragraph to the next, from one scene to the next and from one chapter to the next, always mindful to keep us engaged, held in suspense and transported to the next reveal. Typically, storytellers use lines like: And, suddenly, without warning; Then, as quickly as it began… ; No question. I was lost!; In a blink, everything went dark; Here’s a little secret; and Now listen very closely to what I’m about to tell you. Of course, there are zillions more. But, to honor the season, we must include this beloved opening: “’Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the house…”(6). From that point on, every child first hearing these words was forever enchanted. And, finally, let’s not overlook the four most powerful words in all of JudeoChristian religion, “In the beginning God…”(7). There could be no more profoundly evocative words in the entire history of humankind, for they set the stage for everything to come in time, space and infinity. And those words—or their equivalent—are found as the opening text within virtually all religious scripture throughout recorded history. Ah, but wait! Before we close this modest essay, let’s not forget the other two most powerful words in storytelling, “The End.” This version appears as excerpts from the author’s original essay. 1: A Tale of Two Cities, Charles Dickens (1859), 2: The Raven, Edgar Allen Poe (1945) 3: Moby-Dick, Herman Melville (1851), 4: Slaughterhouse 5, Kurt Vonnegut (1969) 5: Star Wars, George Lucas (1977), 6: A Visit from Saint Nicholas, Clement Clarke Moore (1823) 7: Genesis, The Holy Bible (various editions)

Winter’s Lullaby The snow drifts down, windlessly down the side of the mountain like flour falling in slow motion time from a bread baker’s hand-turned sifter The dusk time hush of the scene brings thoughts of lazy slumber a sense of utter quietness signaling the soundless pace of Winter Cradled in the heartstrings of Mother’s quiet Earth Nature shifts her own heartbeat to a slowing pulse, where breathing is barely existent Bears snuggle into the warmth of nearby hollowed caves satiated by fall’s distant bounty, hickory nuts, crunchy and tasty huckleberries, juicy and ripe, the rare find of honey combs dripping like sticky manna from a bee’s colony of summer’s delight The groundhog burrows deeper within his own dug den summer’s soothing song of warm winds humming in the ears of his sleep-filled dreams No sounds from above disturb his peaceful hermitage save for the snap of a lone branch heavily weighted down with fallen snow Winter’s Lullaby … purrs like the motor of a sleeping cat gently rocking the Earth with its long wished for melody Hush little babies Don’t you cry … Spring’s gonna be here … by … and by …



D I S C O V E R A N E L E VAT E D E S C A P E With a central location just minutes from the High Country’s most enticing seasonal attractions, Echota keeps you close to lifelong memories. Excitement abounds in our community as well with the introduction of a fourth phase of development — The Summit at Echota. Each luxurious and maintenance-free one- to four-bedroom floor plan is an escape unto itself. To view all community listings and to learn more about The Summit, visit echotanc.com. TO SCHEDULE A HOME TOUR, CALL (828) 963-7600.

44 — Winter 2020/21 CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE

E F F O R T LE S S M O U N TA I N LI V I N G F R O M T H E $ 2 0 0 s



...notes from the Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation

Rime ice coat sM Photo by Skip ile High Swinging Bridg e at Sickler | Gran dfather Mou op Grandfather Mountai ntain Stewar n dship Founda . tion

Give the Gift of Grandfather this Winter ‘Tis the season to spend the holidays a mile high above the ordinary at Grandfather Mountain. The park is open yearround, weather permitting, which allows visitors to get a unique 360-degree glimpse of the wintery scenery. “Wonders never cease at Grandfather Mountain, and the holidays are a perfect time to share that sense of wonder with family and friends,” said Frank Ruggiero, director of marketing and communications for the Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation, the nonprofit organization that owns and operates the Linville, N.C., nature park. Gift Shops Located in the Nature Museum and the Top Shop, Grandfather Mountain’s gift shops carry a variety of artisan crafts and goods, as well as signature Grandfather Mountain souvenirs, from apparel to hiking gear to drinkware and all things in between. The shops (as well as the mountain’s Entrance Gate) also offer Grandfather Mountain gift cards, which are applicable toward admission, souvenirs, food, fudge and more. Fudge Shop The mountain is also home to a sustainably operated fudge shop, which boasts a colorful variety of homemade, delectable and seasonal flavors. Fudge will also be for sale daily in Mildred’s Grill, located in the Nature Museum. Adopt-an-Animal Looking for a gift that’s warm and fuzzy? While Grandfather’s resident animals are not for sale, the mountain’s Adopt-an-Animal program is the next best thing.

When you adopt an animal through the Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation, you help improve the lives of the animals in our care — from Logan the cougar to Nova the river otter. Adopted animals make great gifts, too. If you are purchasing this product as a gift, please indicate the name of the recipient, so it can be appropriately customized. Animal Wishlist Make our animals’ season merry and bright by treating them to gift items and enrichments. An enrichment is a special treat or toy designed to break up the animals’ routines and help keep them active and intellectually stimulated. Since the founding of the Stewardship Foundation in 2009, funds have gone to upgrading the habitats in which these animals live—and to purchase treats, toys and other enrichments to give the animals something fun and different to liven up their day. Want to buy a gift for the animals themselves? Visit our Animal Wishlist at http://bit.ly/GMAmazonWishlist. Season Pass For a gift that keeps on giving, shoppers can purchase an annual membership to Grandfather Mountain’s Bridge Club. Starting at $30 for children and $70 for adults, Bridge Club membership offers unlimited, free admission to Grandfather Mountain for a year, exclusive discounts on and off the mountain, invitations to special member programs, a Bridge Club car decal and much more.

One of Grandfather Mountain’s resident otters enjoys a snow day. Photo by Frank Ruggiero | Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation

Winter Hours Grandfather Mountain is open daily throughout winter, weather permitting, with the exception of Thanksgiving and Christmas, with online tickets being sold from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. When winter weather arrives, visitors are encouraged to call the park’s entrance gate at 828-733-4337 to confirm the day’s conditions and set the stage for a memorable outing. Online Admission Now, rather than purchasing tickets at the park’s Entrance Gate, visitors must do so online in advance at www.grandfather.com by placing a reservation for a set date and time of entry. This measure aims to help limit the number of guests in the park at one time, in accordance with the state of North Carolina’s social gathering guidelines. A limited number of tickets will be available at the gate on weekdays if the reservations are not already sold out online. To learn more about our COVID-19 operating procedures, visit www.grandfather.com/covid-19-update. Photo Wall Want to share your picture-perfect visit? Post your Grandfather Mountain photos to Instagram, Facebook or Twitter with our hashtag #GrandfatherMtn for a chance to be featured on our website and photo wall in the Nature Museum. The not-for-profit Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation strives to inspire conservation of the natural world by helping guests explore, understand and value the wonders of Grandfather Mountain. For more information, call (800) 468-7325, or visit www. grandfather.com to plan a trip.

Winter notes

To learn more, visit http://www.grandfather.com/ product/bridge-club-membership/.

The not-for-profit Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation strives to inspire conservation of the natural world by helping guests explore, understand and value the wonders of Grandfather Mountain. For more information, call (800) 468-7325, or visit www.grandfather.com to plan a trip.




Capturing and Crafting Winterscapes


stark winter scene may first appear to the eye as dull and dreary. Shades of gray, brown, and white, with subtle hints of blue and dark green, can make a winter landscape feel lackluster. Distant. Uninviting. Some artists are especially prolific this time of year, having developed a number of techniques to capture bland winter subjects and transform them into alluring works of art. CML recently spoke with local artists David Thompson and Judy Larkins to find out how they draw inspiration from “cold” subjects, and achieve mastery in portraying local winterscapes as full of color, texture and breathtaking beauty.


CML: What do you love most about the season, and what does the winter mean to you? Judy: I grew up near Vaughn Woods in Maine, and spent winter weekends out in the snow, either sledding, skiing, or walking in the woods with my family. Winter in the NC mountains means forest hikes, and cross country skiing on the Parkway and Roan Mountain after beautiful snowfalls. I love the covering of snow on trees and trails, and the quietness—I like to be the first to hike a snow covered trail. David: I’m a native of Ontario, Canada, so cold, snowy days are fun for me. The sting of wind wakes up my creative juices. CML: As an artist, how does capturing winter scenery vary from other seasons, and what winter subjects inspire you most? Judy: All of western NC is inspiring to me in all seasons, but the snow scenes are fun to create, especially snow covered trees and trails. David: Light and shadow relationships become more dramatic with the winter season’s paintings. The direction of light

is more on an angle. Snow texture and movement is fun to create and experience. Capturing winter scenes compared to other seasons involves cooler colors. And, best of all, you don’t have to paint leaves. Leaves can be a real pain. As far as winter subjects, anything along the Blue Ridge Parkway, around and up on Grandfather Mountain, and lots and lots of trees. Around 4:30 in the afternoon is a great time to sketch and plan paintings. The sun cuts through the trees producing strong value changes and movement. CML: What is your process for “painting winter”? Judy: My process is mixing oil paint with cold wax, which makes a frosting like mixture that glides over the dark underpainting on a wood gessoed panel— this brings out patterns that remind me of winterscapes, and I work with scrapers, not brushes, until they say what my intentions are. There is both spontaneity and control, but keeping in mind contrasts in shape, value changes, texture and composition. I do not paint from a photo, but from how


A CML Interview with Artists David Thompson and Judy Larkins the painting evolves, and I guide it along with print making and marks; I sometimes add mica, marble dust, charcoal dust and bits of charcoal scraped from a burnt stick to add some highlighted darks to my birch trees and rocks. David: Especially during the winter season my process includes sketches and small studies before the actual painting. This is always done on location. I always carry a sketch book, not a camera. Photos are flat and they can lie. You lose shapes and movement with a photo. I love winter colors and values. Blues, grays, some purple (my favorite color) combined with phthalo blue, white fluffy clouds with a little pink and gray. Shadows are deeper and stronger. My mediums include watercolor, acrylic, and oil. My favorite is oil on canvas and wood panel. CML: What projects do you have planned for this winter, and has COVID impacted or influenced your art? Judy: I am enrolled in Cold Wax academy presently, and taking online weekly classes, which continues to inspire me to grow in my oil and cold

wax techniques. These classes are helping me evaluate my work immensely. With COVID, I have painted more. I find I am not as spontaneous and spend more time detailing, which loses the spontaneity. I did a sidewalk demo in Burnsville in October, and have given some private painting lessons.  David: COVID has been difficult for me as an artist. I’ve always been part of various paint groups. I’m a social person and I like being with other artists; it fuels my energy. On the positive side I’ve done more outdoor Plein Air painting around the Grandfather Mountain area. I have a year round family pass to enjoy greater access to the wonders of Grandfather, and I’m a big believer in the future so that generations to come can experience nature and beauty the way we do today. Currently I’m working on winter tree landscapes, country roads, some barns, and hopefully all three included in one painting. I’m also working towards the North Carolina Environmental Education Certification. Combining the beauty of nature and art is an awesome combination. It thrills me.

CML: Where can readers view or purchase your art? Judy: You can view my art on my Facebook Page, Painting Creations by Judy Larkins (https://www.facebook.com/ Painting-Creations-By-Judy-Larkins). A selection of work can be purchased at BE Artists Gallery in Banner Elk, NC (BEartistsgallery.com) and Toe River Crafts in Celo, NC (toerivercrafts.com). David: My paintings can be viewed and purchased at Creative Interiors by Darlene Parker, 4501 Tynecastle Hwy, Banner Elk, NC, or view my website at https://www.davidthompsonart4u.com.

art! About the featured artwork: Judy Larkin’s paintings are on page 46 and David Thompon’s paintings are on this page.



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48 — Winter 2020/21 CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE


Supporting Our Mountain Streams By Tamara S. Randolph

Live stakes planted on an eroded river bank


iving in the mountains of NC, VA and TN means being blessed with an abundance of creeks, streams and rivers. People rely on the streams and rivers in our watersheds for recreation, scenery, food, drinking water, irrigation, flood control, wildlife habitat, and other uses. Thanks to the efforts of dedicated people and organizations, our waterways remain some of the healthiest in the region. And yet many sections of our favorite streams and rivers are always in need of help. Development, agriculture, and a variety of other disturbances can result in the removal of plant life along streams, which in turn increases the flow of water. Without plants and roots, soil particles are more likely to wash away during heavy rains and rapid snow melts. In addition to land damage, erosion results in sediment build-up and cloudy water that degrades habitat for fish and aquatic plants. Riparian Buffers to the Rescue Riparian buffers are the vegetated areas along water bodies that connect terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. According to Andy Hill, High Country Regional Director of Watauga Riverkeeper, an affiliate of the environmental and conservation organization MountainTrue, “The native trees and shrubs that make up our riparian buffers are key components to healthy streams, rivers and lakes.” Hill adds that streamside riparian buffers help filter pollution from runoff, trap excess soil and take up surplus nutrients. “As a result,

Stream with healthy riparian buffer

these buffers keep water temperatures cooler (which trout require), prevent erosion and loss of land, and provide food and shelter for wildlife.” Ideal riparian buffers consist of a variety of native plants that thrive on moisture. Our local NC State Extension Office states that, “native trees, shrubs, flowers, ferns, and grasses at varying heights provides a tangled mix of different root structures that help to hold soil to the banks, along with all kinds of other benefits to the environment.” Live Stakes Stabilize Stream Banks For landowners and recreationists alike, winter is a good time to assess the need for erosion control. Exposed and eroding stream banks can often be restored and stabilized through the natural and cost-effective practice of live staking. A live stake is a cutting from a native tree or shrub that can be planted along a bank during the time of the year when the plant is dormant, typically October through March. Each live stake develops a root structure through the winter and early spring, and as stakes grow into trees, they stabilize the sides of the rivers and creeks, and reduce the overall amount of sediment getting into the river. If you’re a landowner, chances are you have some common natives already growing along the stream banks on your property that can be harvested as live stakes. Once the dormant plants are cut, they can be planted along the bank with ease. “We

Stream with heavy erosion / land loss

recommend planting native pollinators such as elderberry, nine bark, silky willow, silky dogwood, sycamore and butterfly bush,” Hill advises. The NC State Extension website provides a variety of step-by-step guides to backyard stream repair, including the document “Small-scale Solutions to Eroding Streambanks,” at https://gardening.ces.ncsu. edu/water-2/. But perhaps a better way to learn more about live staking is to participate in one of MountainTrue’s hands-on Live Staking Workdays this winter. By working alongside seasoned “streamkeepers,” you’ll learn the process for selecting, harvesting and planting live stakes, while also helping the Watauga River. “All sections [of the Watauga] are in need of some plantings,” says Hill. And every live stake that is planted reduces the amount of sediment that flows into one of our most valuable local rivers. You’ll find a list of live staking events at https://mountaintrue.org/eventscalendar/. And if you can’t make it to a Workday this season, you can still reach out to MountainTrue for assistance. “We focus our efforts on public lands,” says Hill, “but we are always happy to consult on private land.” Learn more about Watauga Riverkeeper and MountainTrue at MountainTrue.org. Tamara S. Randolph, CML’s editor, is a N.C. Certified Environmental Educator and Blue Ridge Naturalist. You can reach Tamara at tamara@NCexplorers.com. CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE Winter 2020/21 —



At Blue Ridge Energy, we understand … keeping up with your bills may be tough during this time of COVID-19. In response, we launched the In This Together Relief Fund to help members and customers with their bills for electric and propane and fuels. If you need help paying your electric or propane and fuels bill, apply for In This Together funds through the local helping agencies found at BlueRidgeEnergy.com/Assistance. If you’re able to help, please consider donating to the fund. Every penny goes directly to help neighbors in need. Call or go to BlueRidgeEnergy.com/Together.




For more ways we’re helping, visit BlueRidgeEnergy.com/COVID19. 50 — Winter 2020/21 CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE

Purple Finch, by Nelda Faulkner

Pine Siskin, by Linda Butler

Evening Grosbeak, by Mick Thompson

Ready for Finches?! By Curtis Smalling


hanks to COVID and a very strange and stressful 2020, a lot of folks are turning their eyes and ears to what is happening in their own backyards and gardens this year. Birds can provide some solace and lift our sprits as we watch them go about their lives, sharing our spaces and providing bursts of color and song. It is easy here in the High Country to miss our summer residents during the cold snowy days of winter. But all is not lost on our feeders and yards during the winter. Many hardy species stay with us or join us from areas farther north and thankfully many are common feeder birds. We love our chickadees, titmice, cardinals, downy woodpeckers and many others that visit our yards and feeders, bringing some life and activity to an otherwise cold and wintery landscape. But nothing can really compare to a surprise visit from hordes of finches. Pine Siskins, American Goldfinches, Purple Finches, and occasionally Evening Grosbeaks or Red Crossbills all can show up (or not) at our winter feeders. We always count ourselves lucky to have sometimes dozens of these lively birds grace our yards—that is unless they decide to stay for weeks and bring literally hundreds of their friends! The reason for this erratic behavior, showing up in droves some years and being completely absent the next, is kind of peculiar to finches in our region

and arises from a behavior tied to food resources. Many of these finch species are boreal forest nesting birds, meaning they nest in upper New England into the Boreal Forests of Canada and all are seed eaters, many eating the seeds in cones and buds of conifers like hemlock, spruce, and pines. When these seed sources are scarce heading into winter, thousands of these birds move south or “irrupt” and go in search of good food resources. Finches do like black oil sunflower seeds, thistle seed, and peanut hearts so keep those feeders stocked. Once in 1977 when we had a great finch year, my feeder was visited by about 50 Evening Grosbeaks for about a month. They ate about 10 pounds of sunflower seeds per day! So make sure you have plenty on hand. Already here in the High Country we are seeing reports of Pine Siskins, Purple Finches, Evening Grosbeaks and Red Crossbills. It has been literally years or even decades for most of us since we saw our last Evening Grosbeak. So be on the lookout. Also keep in mind that we have another finch or two here that are largely non-migratory (or at least found here year round). That is the American Goldfinch and the House Finch. Similar to the Purple Finch, the House Finch male has a rosy reddish head and chest. Females of both species are brown, with Purple Finch females being somewhat

darker overall and having an eye line and more of a face pattern than House Finches. If you get a good look, the under tail coverts, or crissum as it’s called, is pure white in Purple Finches and white with brown streaks in the House Finch. That field mark is easy to see when the birds are feeding at your feeder. Don’t forget your other regulars— keep suet, sunflower seeds and wild bird mix on hand for the rest of the birds. The sparrows and Mourning Doves tend to like to feed on the ground and love the small round seeds of wild bird mix. Good luck this winter, as the finch family adds a lot of life and color to our yards and gardens! And please stay safe. Bird watching can be done from home, or alone on a walk, but I know it is most fun with friends and family out exploring our favorite places or traveling to new ones. We will get back to that eventually, so in the meantime please explore your isolated part of the world and take some comfort that the natural world continues to inspire and enrich all of us. Curtis Smalling is a Boone resident and is the Director of Conservation for Audubon North Carolina. He works conserving birds in North Carolina through monitoring species populations, working with volunteers in Important Bird Areas, and through public outreach. Visit nc.audubon.org for more details.



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Explore the Parkway’s History with a New Online Gallery By Rita Larkin, Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation

If you love Blue Ridge Parkway history, you now have a new way to delve into the national park unit’s fascinating history. More than 8,000 photographs and documents have been made available in the National Parks Service’s online archive, NPGallery. The trove includes photos of road and tunnel construction, families at picnic areas, historical demonstrations, maps, and so much more. The work to upload, label, and categorize the files was funded by donors to the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation. The project will serve visitors, students, researchers, writers, educators, and park staff for decades to come. This fall, the gallery connected one man with his family’s ties to the Parkway. “My grandfather worked for the National Park Service on the Parkway until his retirement. The gallery not only led me to photographs that could potentially show my grandfather, but the search feature let me find two photos that were actually tagged with his name, along with the date and location,” Neil Bridge explained. All images in the gallery can be downloaded and are available for public use. Bridge plans to print and frame the photos as a gift for his mom.  An earlier project laid the groundwork for NPGallery. Approximately 7,000 of the photographs in the gallery were originally scanned and digitized for the Driving Through Time website (https://docsouth. unc.edu/blueridgeparkway/), a digital humanities project of UNC-Chapel Hill led by Dr. Anne Mitchell Whisnant, the author of Super-Scenic Motorway: A Blue Ridge Parkway History.  No matter where you are this season, you can explore the archive at NPGallery. nps.gov/blri.

54 — Winter 2020/21 CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE

Snow Scene, Bull Gap 1962

Family Picnic at Flat Top Manor, 1967

Flat Top Manor, 1967

Neil Bridge’s Grandfather, 1953

Peaks of Otter Picnic Area, Milepost 86, 1960

Blue Ridge Parkway by the Numbers There is so much to enjoy within our national park, including: • • • • •

369 miles of trails 216 overlooks 8 campgrounds 942 campsites 14 picnic areas

Craft Center at Flat Top Manor, 1953

Cookout, Weismans View, 1974

Ranger with camper at Peaks of Otter Campground, 1959 CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE Winter 2020/21 —



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56 — Winter 2020/21 CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE

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From BE to Bond to Boards to Brands:

The JJ Collier Adventure By Steve York


t was a warm spring evening in May of 1985. John Joseph Collier (or “JJ,” as he’s commonly known) and friends were gathered at the former Chalet movie theater in the Boone Heights Shopping Center. It was just after JJ’s 14th birthday and the guys were celebrating at the movies. The film was “A View to a Kill,” a James Bond film featuring Roger Moore’s last performance as the fictional Ian Fleming MI6 British secret agent. And it was that movie that marked one of the two most pivotal decisions in JJ’s life. In the opening scene Bond’s mission was to retrieve a microchip from a fellow agent frozen beneath the Siberian snows. Recovering the microchip would prevent movie villain, Max Zorin, from using it to destroy California’s Silicon Valley and building a worldwide microchip monopoly. Bond narrowly escaped with the microchip amidst a barrage of heavy artillery fire, fleeing on a single snowmobile ski blade and racing snowboard-style down treacherous slopes and into the arms of a beautiful, blonde submarine pilot. So, why was a Bond movie pivotal in JJ’s life? To answer that, we need to back up a little. JJ comes from a very dynamic family. They moved to Banner Elk when JJ was about six. His father “Big John”— as the family often calls him—is a retired, highly-decorated and heroic Lieutenant Colonel in the Airborne Ranger Special Forces/Green Berets. His mom

60 — Winter 2020/21 CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE

Katherine is a retired and highly-respected “RN” with years in both the ER and OR at Cannon Memorial Hospital. Then there’s his younger brother Dave, who runs a Charlotte screen-printing business, and his younger sister Kristan, a professional private caterer in Massachusetts. All are successful, very creative, competitive and athletic. Given that family chemistry, it’s not surprising that during high school JJ became a tri-athlete and a formidable competitor. Both JJ and younger brother Dave were also avid trail bike enthusiasts in the early 1980s, tearing across rugged mountain terrains around home. JJ steered his BMX Mongoose California bike and Dave road atop a Vector model. Back then both were sporting the trendy ‘80s west coast skateboarder “look” and emulating daredevil feats of world-renowned bikers pictured in BMX magazine. As fate would have things, it was in one of those BMX magazines that JJ first saw an ad for Burton snowboards. Pivot #1 Back to the original question: Why did that Bond movie so impact JJ’s life? It was that opening scene when Bond used a single snowmobile ski as a makeshift snowboard and careened down those shear Siberian slopes. That scene pivoted JJ’s focus from trail bikes to snowboards. “That’s what I want to do!” he declared. “After all, we don’t have waves and skate parks like California,”

JJ thought to himself. “But we do have these mountains!” By November of 1986, both JJ and Dave had begun blazing down snowy Beech Mountain slopes on their Burton Elite 140 snowboards. And, to hear JJ tell it, “Dave was not only a great competitive snowboarder, he was also right on my heels and always driving me to excel.” Within two years, and with “Big John” behind the wheel, JJ and Dave were on their way to the 1988 U.S. Open Snowboarding Championships in Stratton Mountain, Vermont. There, JJ won first place in the Junior Moguls competition defeating 67 riders from around the nation and even landing a sponsorship from Burton Snowboards. Throughout the next decade JJ became a snowboarding star. He reached national ranking in the U.S. Open, went on to finish third and fourth in the 1995 half pipe and then achieved an overall second half pipe champion placement during the 1997 U.S. Pro Snowboard Tour. It was also during those late 1990s while in Breckenridge, Colorado, that he met his future wife, Shannon. Yes, JJ was living his dream, a dream first inspired by 007 when he was only 14. But wait! There’s more. Since his youth, JJ had a talent for drawing and pulling design ideas together with an original twist. He also had a keen eye for well-tailored, superfunctional fashion, a knack inspired by his mom and dad. “I credit my parents

for my ‘innate’ fashion sense. My dad’s sharp uniforms, his appreciation for quality clothing and my mom’s eclectic style, along with her vision for what’s coming next, all made a big impact on me,” says JJ. Turns out that his drawing talents and fashion design savvy fed perfectly into the next phase of his life. During his travels around the world, competing and donning the sportswear fashion of the times, he became deeply schooled in what looks good, feels good and actually functions under the stress of competition. So while still at the peak of his snowboarding fame, JJ began a second pivot towards outdoor sporting apparel design. Pivot #2 In 1997 he bought a sewing machine and, during his downtime from touring, began crafting his own designs. Before long JJ had stopped competitive snowboarding and in 1998, he and Shannon left Colorado and made a bold move to Charlotte, North Carolina, where JJ launched a small custom apparel design business. Later that year, he delivered a successful 34-piece johncollier brand fashion show in Charlotte, and ultimately established his professional designer credentials. “Somehow, I knew I was born to do this,” he recalls. JJ and Shannon were married in January 1999, and while she worked for ESPN, he was putting in long hours

building one-off garments for several clients throughout that summer. Then in October, he got a life-changing call from Salomon ski gear of France and was hired to design their first ski apparel collection. “Salomon was my first full-time professional job, and I was their first fulltime apparel designer. So, Shannon and I moved to Boulder and—working with a great team there—launched Salomon’s first apparel line in Fall 2001,” JJ notes. A mere two years later, after locating to Salomon’s French headquarters, Ralph Lauren recruited JJ as Outerwear Design Director for their RLX Black Label designs. RLX then led to Spyder Active Sports in 2010, where he helped reinvent their product line and greatly boost their market position. After Spyder came design work for Triple Aught Design, VF Corp, and more until establishing his own collierbrands firm in 2016 (collierbrands.com). Today, his progressive design company works primarily on apparel and accessories in the outdoor and lifestyle market specifically for ski, nautical, cycling, running and even some auto racing. They contract directly with various brand partners offering concept, design, product launch, aesthetic product reinvention and line expansion. At the same time, JJ and his team are in the business of “giving back” to help inspire and mentor future designers to achieve their dreams.

Along the way, JJ and Shannon brought two sons into the world—Curran, 18, and Jenson, 16. The brothers are, naturally, avid mountain outdoorsmen who enjoy snowboarding, rock climbing, cycling and camping. “Both are also very creative,” says JJ. “Curran loves photography while Jenson is into digital art. They both get it in terms of knowing what good work looks like,” JJ proudly notes. With all his successes, living out his dreams, having a wonderful wife and sons and cherishing his Porsche passion (since age 7), 49-year-old JJ still harkens back to his Banner Elk roots. For him it all started with growing up in the High Country and receiving abundant encouragement from family and hometown supporters. Then, of course, there’s his spirit of adventure inspired by that 1985 James Bond opening scene. And it’s that spirit which is built into everything he’s ever done, whether as a top pro snowboard competitor, a top sporting apparel designer or a grateful husband and father. To bring it all back home, JJ likes to acknowledge, “I wouldn’t be me without BE (Banner Elk)!”

exce ptional Footnote: In snowboarding, certain critical moves require a strategic “pivot turn” shifting weight towards the front leg. Successful pivots require skill and timing. But they can also help achieve a win. So far, life decision pivots have scored big wins for JJ.



The original Historical Marker for Appalachian State was erected on King Street in 1950. This marker replaced that one in 1990. (Michael C. Hardy) Capt. Edward F. Lovill, whom B.B. Dougherty considered the “Father of Appalachian State.” (Internet Archive)


Appalachian State University By Michael C. Hardy

The task of establishing what became Appalachian State University was the work of many groups and individuals. One name, however, stands out: Edward Lovill. Born in Surry County, Lovill came to Watauga County following service during the Civil War. He first settled in Todd, then, after attaining his law license, moved to Boone. Lovill was a major supporter of education, and on several occasions, while serving in either the state house or senate, advanced bills to support higher education. One of the first came in 1883. Lovill introduced legislation to establish a “normal school,” a school to educate teachers, in Boone. The bill would eventually pass, and for two years, starting in 1885, Boone would have a school to train teachers, but the General

62 — Winter 2020/21 CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE

Assembly moved the school to Sparta, where it eventually folded. Two brothers, Dauphin and Blanford Dougherty, opened the Watauga Academy in Boone in 1899. Following an address in Boone by Gov. Charles Aycock, the Doughertys believed that the area still needed a school to train local teachers. They turned to Lovill, who drafted the legislation. Blanford Dougherty and Lovill made their way to Raleigh where they lobbied for the bill. There was a lot of opposition, but the bill passed by one vote in March 1903. The Watauga Academy was changed to the Appalachian Training School, which opened in October, with Lovill serving as chairman of the board, Blanford as the superintendent and teacher for Latin and pedagogics, and Dauphin as principal and teacher for mathematics and science. High school students were taught in the fall and spring, and teachers in the summer. When Lovill died in 1925, Blanford considered him the “Father of Appalachian State.” In 1929, the school became a fouryear college, and the name was changed

to the Appalachian State Teachers College; in 1948, the school became the first teachers’ school in the South to grant graduate degrees. In 1967, the name was changed again to Appalachian State University, joining the University of North Carolina system five years later. As of 2020, Appalachian State University has more than 20,000 students in more than 150 undergraduate and graduate majors. The original State Historic Marker denoting the Appalachian State Teachers College was erected in 1950 on King Street. It read “Established in 1899 as Watauga Academy. State-supported since 1903. A 4-year college, 1929.” This marker was replaced in 2009 with a marker changing the title to Appalachian State University. It now reads “Est. 1899 as Watauga Academy by B.B. and D.D. Dougherty. A campus of North Carolina since 1972.” As mentioned, at the time of Lovill’s death in 1925, Blanford had considered him the “Father of Appalachian State.” Yet today, there is nothing on campus denoting his huge role in establishing Appalachian State University.

William VonCanon’s Home Stood Below the Hanging Rock By Carol Lowe Timblin, with historical photos courtesy of Cliff Elder


he William VonCanon home, a familiar landmark located at 815 Dobbins Road, disappeared from the Banner Elk landscape several months ago. Now a grassy space fills the oncelively spot, where four generations of a founding family lived, worked, played, and died. The two-story white frame house, with its long front porch and covered upstairs veranda, was started around 1860 but not completed until after the Civil War. Built with solid beams cut from the farm, the house featured poplar and oak floors and glass windows. The original building had four rooms, two downstairs and two upstairs, flanked by brick chimneys on each end. As was the custom in those days, the kitchen was located in a separate building. A dining room was later added between the kitchen and the main house, as well as upstairs bedrooms. A small room near the kitchen served as a springhouse. It had running water from two springs and provided refrigeration for milk, eggs, and other perishables.​A later addition on the west side of the house completed the structure that eventually covered approximately 4,000 square feet and included four bathrooms. Jacob VonCanon, William’s father, laid claim to 1,000 acres below the

Hanging Rock around 1858 but gave the property to his son when he moved to Elk Mills in Carter County, TN, a few years later. An early picture shows family members posed around wooden fences made from trees cut from the property with buildings in the background. The family planted apple trees and built a root cellar for winter storage. They also kept bees and raised sheep for wool. The VonCanons ran water from Hanging Rock Creek to power a mill they used to cut wood and grind grain. “The water system was elaborate,” says Cliff Elder, a great grandson. “A few years ago we were digging in the meadow and found hollowed-out locust poles attached to each other, which carried the water through a reservoir at the house and then to a trough for the animals out back. Fish caught from the creek were kept in the reservoir until they were ready to cook.” “The farm grew large gardens, potatoes, wool, cattle, and timber,” relates Bill Guignard Elder, an older brother to Cliff. “My great grandfather cut curly birch and maple and hauled the lumber to Tweetsie Railroad in Elk Park to sell. The wool was processed in the wool house, where I live now. It was taken to Lenoir where it was spun into cloth and

blankets to sell to neighbors in Banner Elk. The trip took all day and William VonCanon would return home with his beard frozen in ice.” The VonCanon family moved to Banner Elk from Randolph County, NC, where they had worshipped as Quakers after emigrating from Germany. They traded their fertile farmland in the Piedmont for the rocky mountain terrain of Watauga County, where extremely cold winters cut the growing season short. The VonCanons brought their most prized possessions with them, including fine furnishings, family heirlooms, musical instruments, a Bible, hymnals, and classical books, which were used to teach reading, writing, and arithmetic to children. A teaching certificate, bearing William VonCanon’s name and signed by G.W. Dugger and Samuel Trivett, members of the school committee, shows that he was paid $50 for teaching two months, from Nov. 4, 1870, to Jan. 6, 1871. When the third generation of VonCanons came along, Quaker tutors from Guilford College and students from Lenoir-Rhyne College lived with the family and taught the children. One year after the VonCanons started building their home, the Civil War broke

history CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE Winter 2020/21 —


Beech Mountain from Banners Ford, Banner Elk, N.C.

out. During the war it served as a safe house for people on their way north. At the age of 18, William joined the North Carolina Mounted Regiment, under the command of George Washington Kirk, a guerrilla outfit that came to be known as “Kirk’s Raiders.” Formed on February 3, 1864, the regiment was attached to the 2nd Brigade, 4th Division, 23rd Army Corps, Department of Ohio from June 1864 to February 1865 and the 2nd Brigade, 4th Division, District of East Tennessee Department of Cumberland from March to August 1865 (Wikipedia). On September 1, 1864, VonCanon ran into Keith Blalock, who had sustained serious arm and head wounds inflicted by the Rebel Home Guard near Grandfather Mountain. “Blalock and four or five of his companions, among them his wife (Melinda), were all on their way to Crab Orchard,” recalled VonCanon. “He looked horrible. The ball of his right eye was destroyed... and from the swelling from his ruined eye down to the ear, I supposed that the ball was lodged in the inside of his head and would have to stay there.” The party spent the night at the VonCanon house and then went to Lewis Banner’s house, and finally fled to safety in Carter County, TN. Melinda, posing as a man, and


VonCanon home with family on horses

her husband Keith had joined the Confederacy but switched to the Union side. Both survived the war and are buried in a Montezuma cemetery (​Rebels in Blue​ by Peter F. Stevens). After the war ended in 1865, the VonCanons resumed their life on Dobbins Road—cutting timber, growing crops and livestock, gathering wool, educating the children, and doing whatever needed to be done. If a family member died, a viewing was held in the parlor, a custom that continued through 2016. A rare picture of William and Mary’s family, believed to be taken during the 1890s, shows Charles Banner VonCanon (son, 1872-1922), Isaac Nathaniel Banner (a relative), William (father, 1846-1926), Anna Belle VonCanon (daughter, 18821981), Mary Mildred Banner VonCanon (mother, 1848-1928), John Henry VonCanon (son, 1879-1966), and Frederick William VonCanon (son, 1886-1965). Missing from the photo is Nancy Blanche VonCanon (daughter, 18691948), who married Robert Lowe in January 1891. As business partners, the couple ran the Banner Elk Hotel from the time they wed until they died within a few months of each other in 1948. The wedding of Lowe and VonCanon, attended by family and friends, took

place at the William VonCanon home. Dugger included an account of the event in “Origin of Presbyterian Work at Banner Elk,” a lively chapter in ​War Trails of the Blue Ridge,​plus details on events leading up to that time. According to the story, the Rev. R. M. Hoyle, who conducted the ceremony, had also preached at the Methodist Church against the sins of drinking, only to be sprayed with whiskey from squirt guns by pranksters Isaac Banner and Alfonzo Brewer as he entered the front door a few Sundays later. Humiliated, Hoyle vowed that no Methodist minister would ever preach in Banner Elk as long as he was in control. (Isaac Banner is shown in the aforementioned family photo.) “The elder spent the night there, and Mrs. VonCanon, being crowded with company, put him and his associate minister to sleep together in a large room containing three beds, where some boys in their teens, including her son, Charles, were accustomed to sleep...After the ministers had gone to sleep, two of the boys entered in the dark….They had some whiskey, both in their stomachs and in a bottle….Charles turned back the cover and whaled Elder Hoyle in the face with a pillow, then stooping over, blew his breath in the Elder’s face, saying, “Get up, we’ve got some

Mary Banner VonCanon (8/5/1848–5/14/1928) daughter of Lewis Martin Banner, wife of William VonCanon

William VonCanon Family/Hanging Rock in background

damned good whiskey.” The author goes on to explain that “Mrs. VonCanon kept one of the most respected houses in the county {Watauga} and for the boys to have some whiskey on a wedding occasion...was no disgrace whatsoever….” Anna Belle VonCanon, who married James Sanders Guignard of Columbia, SC, inherited the house after her mother died in 1928. The couple had five sons ( James, William, John, Lewis, and Charles) and one daughter (Mary). James continued to raise crops and livestock on the farm until his death in 1953. During the early 20th century he oversaw the production of Shawneehaw Co-op Cheese Company at the Cheese House on the Mill Pond. The cheese had the second highest scored entry for 93/14 grade American Cheddar at the Chicago World’s Fair. Revered as “Banner Elk’s historian,” Anna enjoyed living in the family home on Dobbins Road until her death at age 98 in 1981. “I lived with my grandparents in the William VonCanon house during third grade while attending Banner Elk School,” says Luann Guignard, who lives near the old homeplace. “I slept with Nana (grandmother) because her room was warmed by a wood stove. PawPaw, my grandfather who slept upstairs,

came a year later. We had to work hard, but it was fun.” Mary Guignard Elder inherited the house from her mother in 1981 and lived there with her husband Bill T. Elder for several years, carrying on the family traditions of mountain hospitality that began with William VonCanon. After her death at age 105 in 2016, the property passed to her children, who sold the house and seven acres of land around it in 2019. Though the old house where a Banner Elk family made memories for 159 years is gone, it will live on in the hearts and minds of many who loved and cherished it.

would get up first to make coffee and the grits. Then, they would get me ready for the school bus. “Years later, as a young mother with two young daughters, I lived with my grandmother a second time,” Guignard continues. “The house, with its back stairs and so many places to hide, was wonderful for children. Sometimes Nana would bring out the old trunks and allow my children to go through the treasures and well-worn books—if she gave permission—first. My girls were fascinated by Nana’s ring of keys. “My grandmother taught history every day of her life. She said the family would take down the beans drying in front of the fireplace if they knew the Methodist circuit riders were coming because they would often spit in the fire. The VonCanons disliked the circuit riders for replacing their tired wornout horses for the family’s fresh, rested horses.” Bill Elder, Luann’s cousin who grew up in Florida, moved into the house during his high school years after his grandfather died. “There were cows to milk and livestock to care for on the farm,” he recalls. “We had to make sure we had wood to heat the house. My parents and siblings (Mary Frances, Cliff, and John)

history CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE Winter 2020/21 —



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Julie Loven (left) Creates “Christmas Yarn Art” on Daytime Spaces, WJHL-TV

Meet The Effortless Girl By Karen Rieley


ne of the High Country’s own, Julie Loven, also known as The Effortless Girl, knows something that many of us are coming to embrace this year. Crafting, creativity, growing and building the things you and your family need contribute to well-being. Especially this year, with all its uncertainties and in the midst of a pandemic, Loven’s simple lifestyle tips and ideas, which focus on cost consciousness, are bringing joy into viewers’ lives by making the place where they are spending so much of their time—their homes— beautiful. “I focus on projects that use what you have on hand and that cost $30 or less to make,” Loven said. “Search closets or your yard; go to the discount stores to see what’s available. I encourage viewers to not let the intricate, expensive projects they often see in magazines intimidate them. I design projects that anybody can do.” Some of her projects are original; some are her adaptations of projects that others have done. For example, when she saw a pumpkin decoration that cost $54.99, she found a way to redesign and produce her own pumpkin decoration for $6. “I use a lot of spray paint,” Loven said with a laugh. Loven is at heart a hometown girl. She grew up in Pineola, an unincorporated community in Avery County, NC, with a three-mile radius from the intersection of U.S. Route 221 and NC 181. Her three


siblings and she learned from their mother how to be resourceful and creative. “Living in a small, remote area meant we didn’t have access to lots of stores from which we could buy ready-made things, so we made and grew things from scratch,” Loven remembers. Making their own products extends to the Loven family business as well. After graduating from college, Julie returned to Pineola to work with her father, Bobby Loven, and still does bookkeeping and payroll for Loven Casting & Construction Company. The business is an outgrowth of a sawmill business that her grandfather, Carey Loven Sr., began in 1938. The Effortless Girl began as a hobby that Loven started sharing in a blog about seven years ago. “I wanted to find a way to share recipes and ideas of weekend projects,” said Loven. Then, in 2014, a television news director for WCCB Charlotte saw her post on how to make a dining room table centerpiece with pinecones, sticks and pine boughs and asked her to appear on the station’s Thanksgiving Day show. The show was so well received that she was invited back to appear on the station’s Christmas show and then the New Year’s Day, Valentine’s, and St. Patrick’s Day shows. The station hired Loven as DIY and lifestyle expert on WCCB Rising. What started as a personal blog had matured into The Effortless Girl.

Loven now appears every other Thursday on Good Day Charlotte and about every other week on Daytime TriCities and QC Life. During this time of COVID-19, she designs projects on the weekend and then presents them via Zoom during the week, all the while still working in the family business. The future looks bright for The Effortless Girl. Loven is working with a media coach and looks forward to working with a publicist, both of who will help her move into bigger markets with larger audiences. Still, what matters most to Loven are the affirmations that she is helping to brighten others’ lives. She loves receiving photos and comments from viewers and readers who share their own results from following her DIY projects. “I try to focus on the benefit of my work to my followers by sharing the things I would like to see in my own home,” she said. “DIY is a good outlet for families, especially now, and I’ve focused on adding kid-friendly projects to help parents with at-home kids. “For many of us who grew up and live in the High Country, DIY is a lifestyle rather than just a hobby,” said Loven. “This isn’t what I do; it’s who I am. I’m fortunate to live in a place that appreciates and celebrates self-sufficiency.” Learn more about The Effortless Girl and some projects you can do at www.effortlessgirl.com.

The Effortless Girl Presents:

DIY Ice Globes By Julie Loven

Winter is perfect for candlelight. I think candlelight is soothing and gives everything a beautiful, warm glow. Winter’s weather is perfect for making DIY Ice Globes. I love using ice globes in winter as outdoor luminarias. The globes in the snow are a creative welcome to guests and make a great marker for a snowy walkway. They are also a fun tabletop candle holder for a winter party. The globes cost about ten cents or less for each one so they make an affordable project that even the kids will enjoy.

Materials: n n n n

Balloons Plastic cups Water Tea Light Candles

You could also get really creative by adding food coloring to the water for different globe colors.


To make the small, round globes: Fill a balloon with water until it is the size of the globe you want to create. Place the filled balloon onto the top of a plastic cup as a stand. Put them into the freezer for a couple of hours. Once the water in the balloon starts to freeze/harden on the outer shell, cut a hole in the bottom of the balloon. Allow the excess water to drain into the cup. This makes the hole for the candle. Allow to freeze completely for several more hours. Once frozen, remove the balloons from the ice globes. Be careful moving the globes once they are frozen, or else they will shatter if dropped. The final product will be a beautiful ice globe. Place a tea light candle in the center and enjoy the light!


Walks in Winter By Jim Casada


ften thoughts on how to spend idle hours in the midst of a mountain winter revolve around themes such as curling up with a good book, snuggling beneath a quilt while gazing at a cheery wood fire, sipping a steaming cup of Russian tea or a toddy, or savoring a scrumptious meat-and-vegetable stew hot from the stove. All are undeniable creature comforts, but there’s a different, equally delightful side of winter which deserves special recognition. It’s a pastime which clears the mind, lifts one’s spirits, and puts the negativity associated with cabin fever (sometimes described with a wonderful Appalachian word as “mollygrubs”) in abject retreat. That’s the simple yet full measure of pleasure associated with walks in the midst of winter. One obvious benefit of pedestrian meandering during the cold months involves the splendor of solitude. Byways and hiking trails which overflow with other humans during the wildflower glories of greening-up spring or the splendor of fall’s leaf-peeping time are virtually deserted. All of us, and that includes even the most gregarious of souls, need time alone to meditate or perhaps just enjoy a respite from the stressful hurly-burly of our daily world. Of course, for those already inclined to reclusiveness, perambulations with bitter chill borne by whistling winds or perhaps with a skiff of snow on the ground offer pure delight. Yet another appealing aspect of winter rambles, at least in the present time of coronavirus troubles, is that they offer a type of recreation and exercise which allows you to avoid human contact. While winter walks are soothing balm for the soul, they also offer special treats for the senses. There’s something especially appealing in the elusive yet enchanting aroma to be sampled and savored after a newly fallen snow, a frost so heavy you could track a rabbit in it, or the passage of a cold front followed by see forever skies of purest blue. Similarly, the sounds encountered while walking in winter can entrance—the raucous cacophony of busybody crows, the cheery “pretty, pretty” call of a cardinal, the scream of a soaring hawk, or the eerie eight-note cadence of a barred owl all captivate in their special, unusual ways. For all the appeal of these sensory perceptions, however, it is what winter walks afford the wayfarer’s eyes which must be reckoned most appealing. The opportunities for observation, especially if one pauses frequently to wonder as they wander, are endless and endlessly enjoyable. In times of bitter cold, various manifestations of sub-freezing temperatures greet you at every turn. Here are long, tapering icicles formed from seeps as mountains laden with sub-soil moisture unburden their inner treasure. Or maybe the ice takes the form of never to be duplicated natural architecture as spray from tumbling waterfalls or gurgling branches and creeks decorates overhanging branches, shorelines, and indeed any part of the landscape touched by water. Then there’s the fairly common High Country phenomenon of

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rime ice which occurs when moisture-laden clouds freeze on trees and other vegetation atop ridges and mountains. Seen from afar, especially when highlighted by the sunshine of a chilly winter daybreak, rime ice appears to be a distant eternity of diamonds sparkling on the branches of tree limbs and indeed any bit of vegetation to which moisture might cling. Another inveigling aspect of winter strolls involves all sorts of captivating little vegetative surprises. The cold months can seem almost monochromatic, with nothing but muted grays and grim earth tones found at every turn. Yet there are always abundant evergreens for relief, while one oft-overlooked blessing of the absence of leaves on deciduous trees is enhanced viewing. Landscapes which seem close and almost cloistered in the months of verdant foliage suddenly open up and allow for sights which are unseen at other seasons. But for me it is the abundance of closeup miracles of color or configuration which are most enticing of all. Who can fail to be awestruck by the vivid purple leaves of puttyroot orchids? Their flowers may be the least fetching of all the orchid family, but the puttyroot’s foliage is, as my Grandpa Joe used to put it, “a glory to behold.” Similarly, leaves of the ubiquitous galax, so colorful they were once gathered and sold for Christmas decoration (those who gathered them earned the delightful name of “gallackers”), along with their basic green, afford hues spanning the whole spectrum of red—carmine and crimson, maroon and magenta, salmon and scarlet. Often galax grows beneath rhododendrons, a plant which has a particularly charming characteristic in times of bitter cold. The more bitter the weather the tighter rhododendron leaves roll up, cigar like, almost as if they are hugging themselves against the chill. Once temperatures moderate, the leaves open back up. Of course for many the grandest of winter’s visual offerings comes in the form of snow. To walk a winter path after a soft overnight snow has adorned the earth and every limb with a cleansing coat of purest white is to know blissful inner peace. It is something better experienced in person than described in print. Moreover, for the nature lover or wildlife observer, such snows are in effect a tabula rasa where creatures great and small paint a picture. Here a deer of impressive size, judging by its prints, walked leisurely through the forest. Dainty tracings of bird tracks form wildlife graffiti atop the snow, while mayhap a flock of turkeys have wrought mayhem to the pristine whiteness as they scratched for acorns, beech nuts, or other tidbits. With persistence you can track a rabbit to its bed, a squirrel to its den, or simply enjoy the challenge of reading and interpreting the signs creatures have left to mystify or mesmerize you. The message, in short, is a clear one. Winter walks offer wide and varied appeal, and to take one, be it a brisk hike or aimless ambling, is uplifting. Upon return to hearth and home you feel better about the world in general, relish a cup of mulled cider rich with the flavor of mountain apples, and suddenly discover that maybe, just maybe, you aren’t quite so beset by the mollygrubs as you thought. Jim Casada’s latest book, A Smoky Mountain Boyhood: Musings, Memories, and More, has recently been released through the University of Tennessee Press. Signed and inscribed copies are available through his website, www.jimcasadaoutdoors.com, as is a free subscription to his monthly e-newsletter.

70 — Winter 2020/21 CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE

Blair Fraley Sales Store

Resource Circle: The Gift of Thrift B

eing “resourceful” has long been considered an admirable quality, one that Americans initially attained through necessity. During certain periods in our country’s history, thriftiness was required, especially in times of economic downturns; during WWII, frugality was considered patriotic, as our country united to conserve resources for the sake of the “war effort.” Today, most of the “stuff ” we desire is readily accessible; yet, we’re aware that the natural resources that go into producing new stuff are finite. As stewards of our shared planet, we all can understand and appreciate the need to get creative with resource management. For example, we can purchase used goods, upcycle older materials, and donate our own spare goods for others to use. Here in our area, we’re fortunate to have some wonderful thrift stores that are stocked with affordable, pre-owned products. Shopping these stores is great for the pocketbook, but an additional advantage to spending your dollars at our local thrift stores is that you support important causes in our local community. You find bargains, the community benefits—everyone wins!

Top Ten Reasons to Visit Local Thrift Stores this Season: Contribute to Kids | The Blair Fraley Sales Store in Crossnore is one of the largest resale shops in the High Country. Here you’ll find a great variety of high quality, second-hand selections. When you shop at the Blair Fraley Sales Store, you “help make miracles happen for children in need”—all the money you spend will benefit The Crossnore School, a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization providing residential foster care for children in crisis from North Carolina. https://www.crossnore.org/sales-store/

Take a Stand for the Animals | Want to dig up some treasures? The Watauga Humane Society’s Bare Bones Boutique thrift store offers the community a place to bring unwanted or unused items that are then resold with all funds going to benefit the animals. “The store is entirely staffed by volunteers and stocked with the generous donations of our community,” says store volunteer Karen Keys. “Our resale store embraces recycling and upcycling and we enjoy finding new homes for gently used

By Tamara S. Randolph

items.” Over in Avery County, the Paws & Claws Resale Shop brings in funds for the animals at the Avery Humane Society. “We want to move things out quickly so we can make room for new items,” said store manager Patti Manning. “Discriminating sale shoppers visit us regularly.” https://wataugahumane.org/bare_bones_boutique; https://www.facebook.com/averyhumanepawsnclaws

Help Build Homes for Families | Habitat for Humanity’s thrift store, ReStore, offers several locations in our area, including Watauga and Avery counties. Shopping for furniture? ReStore has an excellent collection. You can donate your own used furniture, appliances, household items, and building materials to the ReStore—donations are tax deductible and all profits support the home building efforts of Habitat for Humanity. “Our goal is to turn donated items into funds to further our mission, while also eliminating things of value going to the landfill,” says Avery Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore staff. http://www.averycohfh.org/get-involved/restore; https://restore.wataugahabitat.org/home

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Rams Rack

Rams Rack

Support Neighbors Struggling with Addiction | Several popular thrift stores in our area share a goal to help end drug and alcohol addiction in the High Country. The Salvation Army thrift store uses proceeds to fund their Adult Rehabilitation Centers, where “those struggling with drugs and alcohol find help, hope, and a second chance at life.” Hebron Colony Ministries, a Christian recovery center, operates two thrift stores in the High Country area that provide a significant amount of resources and funds for their ministry. Freedom Farm Ministries’ local thrift store in Boone welcomes donations year round, and revenues generated go to support transformational Biblical treatment for those struggling with addiction. Freedom Farm staff and residents operate the store providing employment opportunities for those looking to start a new life.  https://www.salvationarmycarolinas.org/; http://www. hebroncolony.org/thrift-stores.html; https://www. freedomfarmministries.org/thrift-store/

Provide Families with Food, Clothing, and Emergency Assistance |The Ram’s Rack Thrift Store and Emergency Pantry in Newland are programs of Reaching Avery Ministry (RAM). RAM has been in existence for 38 years serving those in

72 — Winter 2020/21 CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE

Restore - Watauga

need in Avery County. “We help families with food, clothing, furniture, household items, crisis situations and emergency financial assistance.” Over in Boone is the Ram’s Rack Thrift Shop Vintage Store, affiliated with Resort Area Ministries (RAM). RAM is an ecumenical organization ministering to the residents and visitors of High Country; the organization provides minor house repairs, mowing, roof repairs, cleaning and other services for low-income Watauga residents. https://www.ramsrack.com/; https://www.facebook. com/Rams-Rack-Thrift-Shop-111748122194921/

Create Jobs | Many of our local thrift stores are run by volunteers; however, some also provide paid positions to help people gain work experience and earn a living. There are several Goodwill stores in our area, that through the sale of donated items in their stores,“fund employment and training programs that help people find hope, opportunity and jobs.” https://www.goodwillnwnc.org

Help the Planet | Clothing manufacturing is one of the world’s top polluters, impacting both air and water quality. It also contributes significantly to resource depletion and climate change. Most thrift stores offer clean, stylish fashion and textiles to

please all sizes, shapes and tastes. Plus, when you buy gently used clothing you get a better fit—clothing that has already been laundered is less likely to shrink or stretch out! Stretch Your Budget | Regardless of which thrift store is your favorite, your dollars will go a LONG way. Find a New Home for Your Old Stuff | Tired of running out of room in your closets and cabinets? Guess what? Someone out there would LOVE to repurpose those items you no longer use. So plan your next thrift store adventure (see #10) and prepare a box or two of your higher quality giveaways to take with you and donate. Nurture Friendships and Have Fun! | Shopping is always more fun with a friend. Map out the stores you want to explore, make a day of it, and see who brings home the best treasures!

Opportunity By Mary Williams


ollowing my father’s death 18 years ago, my mother selected gifts from his things that she felt would be meaningful for each family member. My daughter received the ring my father always wore, my son, his grandfather’s copy of The Prophet and his pocketknife, my husband, his wellworn cooking apron—my mother gave me the coffee mug Dad received as a volunteer with Meals on Wheels at the Project on Aging. Dad was a lifelong volunteer. He was a blood donor. He volunteered at his church and with the Boy Scouts, and as a retiree he gave his time to The Project on Aging in Watauga County. My children recall accompanying him on his route and how he would beam with pride as he introduced them to “his people.” These old memories swirled around somewhere in my unconscious brain as I contemplated what to do with my time this past fall. I am fortunate to live in a neighborhood where people know and care about one another. It is a mix of old family summer homes, now with a new generation of residents, owner occupied homes, and rental properties. The people are as diverse as the dwellings they occupy and range in age from 2 to 86. For the past four years we have gathered for a neighborhood picnic in August. People eat, play, and visit with one another and rarely want to leave when the party is over. This year we were not able to have our annual picnic due to COVID-19. Throughout the spring, summer, and fall, neighbors visited from the road and waved from passing cars. I have felt the most for the elderly as they are more isolated than in years past and I’ve marveled at how the working families

with school-age children juggle their responsibilities and still manage to remain cheerful. A wise, compassionate person once told me, “Opportunities are always present, you just need to look harder in a crisis.” Meals on Wheels resumed their home delivery program as the County reopened in late July. Having read their ad in the paper, I called to volunteer. Around the same time, parents were faced with the difficult decision of what to do about school. One family with whom I am particularly close decided to homeschool their kindergartener, Mia. Mia and I have always liked each other, and I decided to ask her and her mother if we could spend one morning a week in a kindergarten lesson and delivering Meals on Wheels. They agreed. We chose a day and a delivery route was assigned to us. Our first day together was Mia’s first day of school. When I picked her up, her backpack was full of notebooks, pencils, crayons, a stylish mask, hand sanitizer and lunch! We spent the first forty-five minutes learning about the calendar, reading a story and wondering what it would be like to deliver food to people. Mia and I are now several months into our volunteer experience. We have grown and learned a lot. At first, we experienced the formalities of having your temperature taken, filling out forms, counting and remembering our food, learning the route, and meeting and getting to know our people. Mia has blossomed during this time from a cautious child, to one who thinks about what someone might like, what

we can do for them, and what she wants to ask or tell them. In her lunch box she might pack a dinosaur and yo-yo to show Mr. John, and a dog biscuit for someone’s pet. One Monday after a family and friends’ Woolly Worm race, she took her Woolly Worm, named Sassafras, to share. She knew everything about “Woolly Bears,” as they are officially named, and beamed with pride as she answered questions about them. In October, we collected brightly colored leaves to give our friends. She was able to name the tree the leaf came from as we were making a leaf collection to learn about trees. A sweet friendship is developing among all of us and conversation easily flows back and forth. After weeks of placing colorful stickers on bread bags, a woman gave Mia a page of stickers she thought she might like. Both were excited about their gift. Recently a man asked her if she knew what day was his favorite? When she said no, he answered, “Today, because I get to see you!” Last week Mia spontaneously said, “I love volunteering!” I said, “Oh really, what do you like about it?” She responded, “I like it because it makes people happy and me, too.” Opportunity found. As a department of County Government, the Project on Aging serves as the focal point for aging services in Watauga County. The agency encourages independence and promotes wellness by providing supportive services, including the Home Delivered Meals Program, commonly referred to as “Meals on Wheels,” to the County’s older adults. Learn more at http://www.wataugacounty.org/ App_Pages/Dept/Aging/home.aspx. CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE Winter 2020/21 —


“Winter Lights” at The N.C. Arboretum, Asheville | From now through January 10, guests are invited to take a dreamy ride through the N.C. Arboretum’s enchanted forest and attend Winter Lights safely within their own vehicles. With per-car ticketing, guests can navigate through a one-mile stretch of the Arboretum’s campus and see unique exhibits covered in thousands of holiday lights. Winter Lights proceeds will directly support the Arboretum’s mission-driven programming. Open nightly 5:30-10:30. Visit www.ncarboretum.org/winterlights/ for more information.

Support Crossnore with Holiday Cards & Inserts

You can support Crossnore by spreading the word about their important work and at the same time share some love! Shop at the Blair Fraley Sales Store or online for limited edition holiday cards, holiday insert cards (to include in your personal Christmas cards), and “gift in your honor” insert cards. Visit www.crossnore.org for more information.

“The Hope Shines Brightly Holiday Light Show” in Downtown Lenoir Hope shines brightly this holiday season in downtown Lenoir, NC. Safely celebrate creativity and be dazzled while strolling through the 10,000 lights of the musically animated Hope Shines Brightly Holiday Light Show! Watch and listen safely from your car or from one of many widely dispersed benches. The show begins at 6 p.m. and runs until 10 p.m. every night through January 4. https://downtownlenoirnc.com

WAMY Community Action

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As winter approaches, offer high calorie and high fat foods to your backyard bird friends! Black oil sunflower is a great overall seed with its high fat and protein content and relatively thin shell. Suet is another great food for winter feeders. Be consistent and keep your feeders full for those long, cold nights. Birds grow accustomed to your feeders, especially in severe weather when your snacks may contribute to their survival.

WAMY’s weatherization program serves low-income families in Watauga, Avery, Mitchell and Yancey Counties. The program helps make homes more energy efficient, usually through the installation of insulation, air sealing and duct sealing. After receiving weatherization, families typically save 30%-35% on their heating/cooling costs. With our extremely cold winters, your neighbors can really use your help this season; consider volunteering time or donating money to this active organization that works hard to break the cycle of poverty in our region. Learn more at wamycommunityaction.org.

The Helping Hands Woodlot Ministry, an outreach ministry of Grace Lutheran Church in Boone, is located next to the Hospitality House in Boone and is run in partnership with the Hunger and Health Coalition and WeCAN agencies. Volunteers meet every Tuesday year round from 8:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. to collect, cut, and split donated trees and wood. The split wood is then given to people who cannot otherwise afford firewood to heat their homes during the winter months. If you have a fallen tree or trees on your property that need to come down and that you would like to donate to this ministry, or if you can volunteer, please contact Harold Stophel at (828)-789-9127.


Downtown Lenoir

“Festival of Lights” at Chetola in Blowing Rock | This year as you drive or stroll around Chetola Lake, you can view glittering ice skaters, “Rudolph” reeling in a big fish, strolling carolers and many more captivating holiday scenes. The “Festival of Lights” will be open to the public through January 31. The displays illuminate at dusk each evening. https://chetola.com/events/festival-of-lights/

Feed the Birds

The Helping Hands Woodlot Ministry

N.C. Arboretum

Winter Lights throughout the Region

Photo by JLR Safechild

(GES) and Department of Art is now on display—Archie “is the largest and most accurate aetosaur sculpture in the northern hemisphere and one of the best in the world.” You can visit Archie in the Fred Webb Jr. Rock Garden and Outdoor Laboratory on App State’s campus. Learn more about this special facility at https:// earth.appstate.edu/facilities/rock-garden. Photo by Dr. Lauren Waterworth


greeted by Market Staff and plenty of maps to help you navigate this new system. The winter market will be open every Saturday from 9 a.m. – noon at 252 Poplar Grove Rd., downtown Boone. Visit www. brwia.org/ for more info.

Vicki Essig

What’s New at Mica

Mica, in downtown Bakersville, NC, showcases the craft work of its 15 artistmembers, including Penland artist Vicki Essig, the gallery’s newest artist-member. Essig’s work is noted for its quiet, contemplative, and deliberate qualities. Her process incorporates found and ancient objects into visual compositions. “On my daily hikes my pockets gradually fill with artifacts and curiosities that I find along my path,” says Essig. Mica is a must-see destination for those who appreciate the hand made, and is located at 37 Mitchell Ave, Bakersville, NC. Mica is open Mondays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sundays from 12–5 p.m. For more information call 828.688.6422 or visit micagallerync.com.

Local Sculptor Releases New Work

Mayland Offers Personal Enrichment Courses

At Mayland Community College, there’s always something new to learn. Whether you’re interested in local history, digital photography, or beekeeping, or you want to give the pottery wheel a try, Mayland’s Personal Enrichment courses are designed to help you discover new talents and enhance your creative skills. Check out the 2021 Spring schedule and register at www.mayland.edu/continuing-education/.

Winter Farmers’ Market in Downtown Boone

Archie the Aetosaur Makes His Bronze Debut on App State Campus

A four-year collaboration of faculty and students in Appalachian’s Department of Geological and Environmental Sciences


From December through April, Boone’s Winter Farmers’ Market, powered by Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture, will feature flavorful and nutrient rich local foods. Due to COVID-19, vendors will be spread throughout the parking lot, Agricultural Conference Center, and Warehouse with a system of one-way customer foot-traffic. Upon arrival to the market, you will be

Renowned abstract painter and sculptor MaryAnn Prack, who works from her home/studio and sculpture garden in Jefferson, NC, has recently released a new series of artworks titled, Describing JOY. “At the heart of my sculpture and paintings is an expression of joy that transcends the chaos and uncertainty that surrounds us.” View Prack’s newly released work, and other artwork at her website, www.prackartist.com.

Let Us Hear from You! Have an event or tidbit you’d like to share with CML readers? Send your information to the editor at tamara@greenway.today.



“.Community ..read& Local allBusiness a b News out it ” Raising Awareness and Funds to Meet the Needs of the Homeless The Hospitality House annual Honor Card is a great way to recognize a client, employee, friend or family member this season, while at the same time giving a meaningful gift to someone in need. With a minimum donation of $5 per card, you receive an Honor Card that you can send to an individual or business, allowing you to show your support for the community while acknowledging others during the holiday. 100% of contributions support the Hospitality House’s housing, hunger relief and homeless prevention programs in seven NC counties. “In the tough times of life are the seeds of great beauty, joy and fulfillment. It’s an opportunity for us to rise above our selfishness and make a change for the better, helping those that have stumbled along life’s path to take one positive step. The Honor Card is a marvelous way to recognize a friend or family member and at the same time impacting a local outreach agency to support the needy and homeless this season.” —William Mangum, 20202021 Honor Card artist You can purchase your Honor Card online at https://www.hosphouse.org/ honorcard or find them at popular retail locations throughout the High Country.

Local Toy Drive in Progress Organized by local resident Lynne Lear, and supported by many volunteers, the High Country Toy & Gift Card Drive is in its eighth year, working with the

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Hospitality House, the High Country’s only homeless shelter servicing seven counties. In addition to all of the children at Hospitality House and its satellite housing, the toy drive also helps individual families in the area who are in need. “Last year, we were able to bring Christmas to 96 children who would not have had one otherwise,” said Lear. “Many of the children we helped have never had a Christmas present before. This year we have so many more children than ever to help. Every year I am blessed and moved by the generosity of people here in the High Country. One of the best things about living here is the strong sense of community that we all have and how we rally around those in need. ” You can drop off unwrapped toys and donations at Lost Province Brewing Company in Boone or The Painted Fish Café in Banner Elk. Anyone wishing to contribute in other ways can contact Lear at (423) 794-8825. Checks made out to High Country Toy Drive can be mailed to P.O. Box 2133, Banner Elk, NC, 28604, at any point during the year, and if you would like a tax deduction letter please specify so on your donation.

YMCA Continues Important Work in Our Community A Message from Trey Oakley, CEO of the Williams YMCA of Avery County in Linville, NC: The Williams YMCA of Avery County has been the cornerstone of health, wellness, youth development and community

outreach in Avery County since its inception. This year is no different.  While we have faced challenges, we have and will continue to overcome them.  Over the last seven to eight months our organization, staff and our community have hurt, have experienced monumental change, have grieved and have worried about longevity.  Also during this time we have pulled together, we have fought, we have remained hopeful and are optimistic about the future.  Since our normal operations were forced to cease in March (2020), the Y has served close to 10,000 meals to children in camp and out of school, we have cared for up to 90 young children a day enabling parents to go back to work, we have completed over 500 wellness calls to seniors, provided opportunities for 80 virtual and distancing healthy living activities and delivered food and medication to seniors who are homebound.  In the near future, we will begin delivering food boxes to seniors, completing wellness and home assessments for residents aging in place, and join our school system in ensuring that our students have hats, gloves, socks and coats for the upcoming winter season. While we continue to undergo financial challenges, we are committed to serving those in our communities who need us most, we remain determined to return to normal operational hours and to better serve our membership.  Should you be able, please consider a tax deductible end of the year contribution to the Williams YMCA.  Gifts may be restricted to areas of choice (children’s programs, supper feeding program, community outreach, operations, etc). Thank you for your consideration and support as we all strive to ensure a healthier and happier Avery County.        Please visit www.ymcaavery.org to view winter programs and scheduling, and to learn how you can support our local YMCA’s important work here in our community.

Lees-McRae: 120 Years and Counting Though there have been many changes in the past 120 years, much remains the same at Lees-McRae, a private institution in Banner Elk, NC, founded in 1900. From fireside education for local young women, to the four-year comprehensive college of today, LeesMcRae continues to serve and inspire students from this region and beyond. As the highest elevated campus on the east coast, the College’s location remains central to its identity, demonstrated in the school’s motto—In Montibus, Ex Montibus, Pro Montibus or In the Mountains, Of the Mountains, For the Mountains. Lees-McRae’s academic curriculum emphasizes an experiential education. Programs in Wildlife Rehabilitation, Biology, and Wildlife Biology make use of spaces including the May Wildlife Rehabilitation Center and the 70-acre Elk Valley Preserve and Field Station as student learning laboratories in a natural environment. Students from the Outdoor Recreation Management, Ski Industry Business and Instruction, Wilderness Medicine, and Cycling Studies also use the location to their advantage with Beech Mountain Ski Resort, Grandfather Mountain, the Blue Ridge Parkway, miles of trails, and much more just steps from the classroom. Even the school’s Nursing, Health and Wellness Science, and Emergency Medical Services and Management programs focus heavily on healthcare practices tailored to the unique needs of Appalachia, and the use of cutting-edge technology to serve rural residents. Lees-McRae was ranked #26 among the top regional colleges in the South by

U.S. News & World Report in its recent 2021 Best Colleges guide. The institution is included on the Best Colleges for Veterans list and for the second consecutive year, Lees-McRae has ranked with the Top Performers for Social Mobility in the same regional category. “Our work is not motivated by rankings, but by our 120-year commitment to being a school of opportunity,” said Lees-McRae President Lee King. “Nevertheless, we are proud to be recognized for offering a high quality education and especially proud to serve disadvantaged students and their families.” Want to see more of what Lees-McRae has to offer? Take a virtual tour at https:// www.lmc.edu/admissions/visit/index. htm.

A New Nature Day Camp Planned for 2021 at Holston In the midst of the challenges of 2020, Holston Presbytery Camp and Retreat Center (HPCRC) remained committed to its mission—to provide a safe and hospitable environment, in God’s outdoor creation, for guests to experience a transformation of mind, body, and spirit within a community of faith. This past fall, HPCRC continued to respond to the pandemic’s  impact on learning and social environments. They offered two programs for local families: a Student Day Camp and an After School Camp. Both were successful in providing a safe classroom  space with academic and outdoor activity supervision. New programming will continue for 2021. HPCRC, in partnership with Banner Elk Presbyterian Church, is in the process of visioning and implementing a new nature preschool program for fall of

2021. The nature preschool program— made possible through generous contributions from the High Country Charitable Foundation (Banner Elk, NC), the Mooneyhan Family Foundation (Johnson City, TN), and the Kiwanis Club of Banner Elk—will offer local families an affordable, quality outdoor early education and childcare option for children ages 2-5. As a 501(C)(3) non-profit organization, HPCRC depends on grant funding, as well as the overall cash flow of each program (summer camp and retreats) to pay for overhead expenses including staff, equipment, facilities, maintenance, utilities, and insurance. Due to the pandemic, scheduled retreats have canceled and few have booked future retreats. Additional financial contributions from donors are especially needed for 2021 so that summer camps and other programs remain affordable and accessible to families. Learn more about Holston, its programs, and ways that you can help at https://holstoncenter.org/. Holston Presbytery Camp and Retreat Center is located at 6993 Hickory Nut Gap Road in Banner Elk, NC.

Sweet Success for Sugar A new 75-page website (www. SeeSugar.com) for the Village of Sugar Mountain features plenty of things to do in the High Country for both visitors and locals. It’s just one component of a sixmonth successful marketing campaign that kicked off in May 2020 by the Sugar Mountain Tourism Development Authority. Continued on next page CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE Winter 2020/21 —


“.Community ..read& Local allBusiness a b News out it ” The website, written in a helpful travel guide style, inspires trips to Sugar Mountain during all four seasons. Find photo guides for village attractions including golf, tennis and winter sports, as well as events such as the Fine Art & Master Crafts Show and Oktoberfest. To encourage longer stays on the mountain, website readers also discover things to do within a 20-mile radius, including hiking, waterfalls, dining, shopping and touring the Blue Ridge Parkway. More than 100 Avery County businesses are featured on the website, and a “Top 10 Things to Do with Social Distancing” was added. The Village Hall section (https://seesugar. com/village) includes resources for residents and property owners, including a new page with relocation FAQs. The TDA partnered with regional and statewide tourism organizations for multiple promotional initiatives, including Avery Chamber, High Country Host, Blue Ridge Parkway Association and Blue Ridge National Heritage Area. The TDA also took advantage of the resources of VisitNC, the tourism marketing organization at the NC Department of Commerce. See for yourself all that the Village of Sugar Mountain has to offer at www. SeeSugar.com.

Winter Highlights at Mystery Hill Big things are happening at Mystery Hill this winter! From exciting new attractions to scrumptious new vittles, Mystery Hill is creating an enhanced experience for its guests. Of course visitors will still be able to experience the Natural Gravitational Anomaly, The Hall of Mystery, Bubblerama, Native American Artifacts Museum, and the 1903 Dougherty House, as well as throw hatchets at Tomahawk Hill. But winter

78 — Winter 2020/21 CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE

visitors will also get to enjoy the following added attractions: n The all-new Historic Farmyard at the Dougherty House offers a glimpse at a turn-of-the-century farm with chickens, rabbits, and other  farm animals in a petting zoo setting.  n Prospector Hill Gem Mining offers an indoor space and new retail shop this winter, with an outdoor flume opening this spring. Prospector Hill is the only gem mining business in the area offering private sluices for each family.  n The Bull Riding Challenge is a fun  new attraction, allowing visitors to try their luck at riding a mechanical bull.  n Mystery Hill’s favorite eatery, Front Porch Eats, is offering a blockbuster brand new milkshake bar featuring Over the Top Mason Jar Milkshakes with creative flavor combinations and monthly features. n While Professor Finnegan’s Old Time Photos has been a popular attraction at Mystery Hill for years, this winter they are expanding to a larger space with new backgrounds and costumes, offering more than just old time photos.  n And look for the all new River Runners and VR attractions coming late winter or early spring.  Mystery Hill is an entertainment attraction for all ages located on Hwy 321 in Blowing Rock. Visit mysteryhill.com for more information.

Allen Tate Realtors® Opens New Boone Office Allen Tate Realtors® now serves the High Country region with two offices, one in Blowing Rock and one in Boone, and more than 45 professional Realtors serving clients in Blowing Rock, Boone, West Jefferson, Banner Elk, Linville, Beach Mountain, Sugar Mountain and Lenoir. In September, Allen Tate opened its newest office at 736 West King Street.

The two-story modern office features a rooftop patio that overlooks downtown Boone. “We’re excited to bring this beautiful new office to the heart of downtown Boone. We look forward to helping more valued clients find the right home, vacation property or investment property in this highly desirable region,” said Scott MacIntosh, Allen Tate branch leader. The Carolinas’ No. 1 real estate company opened its first local office at 6236 US Hwy 321 South.in Blowing Rock in 2019. The 64-year-old real estate leader operates 45 local offices spanning five regions of North and South Carolina, with more than 1,600 agents and 20,071 closed transaction sides totaling $5.75 billion in 2019. In addition to real estate, Allen Tate offers a full range of homeownership services including mortgage and insurance. To contact an Allen Tate Realtor, call 828-278-8337 or visit the Boone or Blowing Rock offices. Learn more at allentate.com. Outstanding Chamber of the Year for 2020: Blowing Rock Chamber of Commerce The Carolinas Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives (CACCE) recently recognized the 2020 Outstanding Chamber of the Year (for a chamber with under 700 members) at their Annual Management Conference via Zoom. The Blowing Rock Chamber of Commerce was honored as the recipient of this prestigious award. The CACCE Outstanding Chamber of the Year Award focuses on acknowledging one or more significant achievements that a chamber has initiated, stimulated, and/or led in its respective service area at some point during the 18 months prior. CACCE is the professional development organization dedicated to providing educational opportunities for chamber of commerce executives and staff members in North Carolina and South Carolina. CML congratulations the Blowing Rock Chamber! To find out all that is happening in Blowing Rock this winter, visit the Chamber’s website at https://blowingrock.com.



Timeless Lessons By Katherine S. Newton, CFP® Certified Financial Transitionist®, CeFT®


o doubt 2020 will stand out as one of the most unusual years in any of our lives. And just because it has been so unique, it is a good time to take a look at those timeless lessons of investing. 1. No matter how astute, how on top of the news, or how many degrees we have, we can never be prepared for really big disruptive events. If we react to them with the emotion of the moment, we are apt to hurt ourselves and oftentimes badly. Being successful over the long term is more about temperament than intellect, as Warren Buffett has reminded us. Best to stick to a long-range plan you can adhere to over the course of a lifetime. 2. Even though it may not seem like it, markets have had declines similar to what we experienced in March of 2020 about every five years. The market crashed suddenly, but it came back to reach new highs by August. Likewise, if you look at history, market downturns have been temporary.  3. The market will always anticipate rather than wait for the recovery to happen. Even when all we heard were negative prognostications about the virus and the effects on the economy, the market bounced back. If we “wait for things to look better,” we are liable to miss the positive market moves. 4. Put and keep your attention on what you can control. Continue to save automatically, even, and especially, during downturns. Manage taxes using whatever strategies are available to you. Anticipate and plan for cash flow needs, keeping cash separate from your portfolio rather than having to sell into a down

market. Had you needed a distribution at the end of March 2020, it would have been a poor time to be forced to sell. 5. Resist the urge to think “this time is different.” Whether you look at a recent chart of the stock market or one going back 75 years, it continues to go up and to the right. Bottom Line: 2020 enforced rather than negated the same timeless investing lessons we learn again and again throughout history. • Katherine Newton, Certified Financial Planner™ and Certified Financial Transitionist® or CeFT®, partners with Clients through Life Transitions, helping them craft protectorates for their resources so they can pursue what’s most important in their lives. • She can be reached at katherine@waitefinancial.com or at 828-322-9595. • The views are those of Katherine and should not be considered as investment advice or to predict future performance. •Past performance does not guarantee future results. • All information is believed to be from reliable sources. However, we make no representations as to its completeness or accuracy. • Please note that neither Waite Financial LLC, Cetera Advisor Networks LLC, Carroll Financial Associates or any of their agents or representatives give legal or tax advice. • For complete details, consult with your tax advisor or attorney. • Investors should consider their investment objectives, risks, charges and expenses associated with municipal fund securities before investing. • This information is found in the issuer’s official statement and should be read carefully before investing. • A diversified portfolio does not assure a profit or protect against a loss in a falling market.

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CMLmagazine.online CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE Winter 2020/21 —


LINVILLE CRAFTS Handmade Birdhouses, Birdfeeders & Crafts

Located in Linville, NC (near Grandfather Mountain) Call for appointment to visit the workshop 828.260.9591

Apple Hill Farm Store

“Get back in touch with what's real.” Largest selection of alpaca yarns & accessories in the High Country. Winter Hours: Wed - Sat 10-4; Sun - Tues by appt. Banner Elk, NC | (828)963-1662 www.applehillfarmnc.com


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A Store from Days Gone By...


828-733-2107 Downtown Elk Park, NC Tools, Hardware, Toys, Bedding Furniture, Sleds Galore and Much More!



and more coming soon...

Tomahawk Hill

Hall of Mystery ! EW


Prospector Hill Gem Mining




Historic Farmyard


Serving the High Country for all electrical Needs

Dougherty House Museum SC NE EN W ES !

37 Years of Service






Natural Gravitational Anomaly

Sales, Installation & Service for all Generators


GlenDavisElectric.com 8742 NC-105, Boone, NC 28607

avery, watauga, and ashe counties 80 — Winter 2020/21 CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE

Prof Finnegan’s Old Time Photos Over The Top Mason Jar Milkshakes

The Bull Riding Challenge

Plus, Bubblerama, Native American Artifacts Museum & River Walk


number one in the Carolinas

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Demand Continues to Climb By Jason Reagan


s winter cools the region down, local realtors and developers are still in the metaphorical summer of torrid real-estate activity despite COVID-related obstacles. As 2020 came to an end (finally), the High Country housing market saw record sales and heavy volume in overall transactions. The major takeaway? The cupboard is bare—home inventories have dropped as demand soars. “While the market has been extremely healthy across the state and nation, the demand for housing has been extraordinary here in the High Country,” said Duncan Martin, CEO of the High Country Association of Realtors. “The High Country has always been in demand,” Martin added. “The summer is part of the traditional selling and buying seasons, and this year set a number of benchmarks.” Local realtors couldn’t agree more— especially when it comes to resort-market sales. “I would say that the High Country trends mirror the state and national trends of resort area properties,” said Jim “Fitz” Fitzpatrick of Peak Real Estate in Banner Elk.

million as of October 31, surpassing total 2019 sales of 2,609 homes and a volume of $805 million. That’s an increase of more than 14.7 percent in sales volume. “About 375 new listings were added to the market in October, but the supply couldn’t keep pace with demand,” the High Country Association of Realtors notes. “As of Oct. 4, about 640 homes were for sale—that’s almost half the inventory active at the start of the year and more than 860 fewer than were for sale this time a year ago.” “The High Country is currently running into some inventory challenges which is contributing to make this a very challenging market for both buyers and sellers,” Martin said. Fitzpatrick added that, at the time of this interview in mid-November, “Last year, at this time, there would have been approximately 3,400 available homes and condos in the High Country. This morning, there were 605.” And the sales frenzy’s not dinging home prices—the median sale price is up 16 percent compared to all of 2019, from $240,000 to $280,500.

By the Numbers


When looking back on an unprecedented 2019 sales bump, some might think High Country realtors could have struggled to beat that record in 2020—what with the coronavirus lockdowns slowing travel. Nope. By the end of October, realtors had already surpassed the mark with a nearly billion-dollar year. The High Country had recorded 2,634 home sales for a total volume of $923

82 — Winter 2020/21 CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE

If a banner home sale market is the Ferrari in this year’s sales race, land sales are a supersonic jet. High Country land sales nailed a record high for the fourth consecutive month by October’s end with 182 tracts sold in a month—a 26 percent increase in unit sales from the month prior. Watauga County recorded nearly half of those sales with 36 tracts sold for $3.2 million. However, Avery County

recorded a more robust volume per sale with 25 tracts for a total of $3.4 million. Will Adkins could have told you that. Adkins owns Eagles Nest just outside Banner Elk. The laid-back home community focuses on a more active mountain lifestyle, offering UTV and hiking trails, sports fields, play areas and multiple parks—a perfect getaway from an increasingly chaotic world. “Land sales at our established communities (Eagles Nest in Banner Elk, and Chinquapin in Cashiers) have tripled this year over last,” Adkins said. “We also introduced a new project in Banner Elk called Monteagle and one in Morgantown, WV, called Whitewater Preserve. Both sold out in less than 30 days,” he said. “I would consider this to be exceptional, given the trying year that 2020 has proven to be.” While the spike in sales is exceptional, it’s not a huge surprise for Adkins. Eagles Nest’s sales have grown every year since he bought it from the bank in 2013. He attributes such a steady growth rate to the speed of development and construction. “The lot buyers have moved swiftly to engage a builder to build their mountain homes. The activity has driven the market steadily upward,” he said. “The decision of the early lot buyers to build has paid off for them.” Martin and Fitzpatrick echo Adkins’ sentiments. “As we have seen the increase in existing construction sales, the High Country is currently seeing a fast moving land market,” Martin said. “People are seeing opportunities here in the area and are taking advantage.”


Photos courtesy of Eagles Nest

Fitzpatrick added, “We’ve sold more land and lots than previous years. Some of it because, with inventory levels low, buyers are having difficulty finding existing homes to buy.” Although Adkins’ developments are generally land-focused, he’s watched home inventories in the region dry up even as land sales bloom. “Our housing market at Eagles Nest is very tight, with most houses selling within days for premium prices,” he said. “I believe inventory is a problem for everyone in the High Country right now. My realtor friends are having trouble keeping product on their shelves too,” Adkins said. “It’s a good problem to have.”

A Pandemic Paradox

As COVID-19 continues to ravage the U.S., High Country realtors have adopted CDC and state guidelines to engage buyers and sellers in a safe way. “Health and safety are always paramount in the realtor’s mind as well as care for their clients,” Martin said. “Many have been doing ‘Zoom Tours’ where they will tour the property while [video-conferencing] with their clients— with the approval of the seller of course,” he added. If the seller chooses to let the buyer visit the property, Martin said, safety protocols are established by the seller for the buyer and the buyer’s agent to follow.  “Overall, realtors, sellers and buyers have been able to adapt and overcome the challenges that the pandemic has created.” For Eagles Nest, remote sales have long been the “old normal.” “I’ve been

selling social distancing for more than 30 years,” Adkins said. “Being able to social distance and still enjoy life has been the driving factor in the secondary real-estate market boom.” While no one in the real-estate market would want to see regional sales activity grow as a result of COVID-19’s spread, it seems that the anxiety people feel living in more crowded cities and suburbs may be fueling the market surge. “The virus has definitely provided urgency to people who have considered a second home away from the crowds,” Adkins said. Plans that were already underway for Eagles Nest may likely drive even more getaway sales. “Eagles Nest is coming out of its adolescence stage and the final stages of development are taking place,” Adkins said. The development will open its latest amenity, Camp Eagles Nest in the spring of 2021. The 45-acre camp will include a three-sport activity field, two tennis courts, four pickleball courts, disc golf, archery, hiking trails, fishing pond and full court basketball courts. “This, in addition to the improved Great Camp Amphitheatre, new hiking, biking, ATV trails, Sportsman’s Grille and Fitness Lodge, will only add to this already uniquely original mountain community,” Adkins said.

Down the Road

With a vaccine on the horizon, there’s every reason to think we will heal from 2020’s travails in 2021. For those looking forward to brighter days, real-estate experts

say the High Country will continue to be a haven from the old normal, new normal and abnormal stress we face, offering an ideal mountain getaway. “The secret about the High Country is out and we are an extremely desirable area,” Martin said. “We’re surrounded by the incredible beauty that this region has to offer and we have a thriving community that is a center of learning. We offer a unique feel of community and belonging here.” “Since 2004, we at Peak have been making the High Country real estate experience fun,” Fitzpatrick said. “What we’re really selling isn’t property; it’s a lifestyle. Be prepared to act quickly and be prepared to offer over list price. Home values are on the rise but are still realistic.” “I would tell the person entering the market to be patient,” Adkins cautioned. “Although I believe the steady market conditions will continue for the next few years, wait and find the place that checks most of your boxes.” Adkins adds, “The entire region of Boone, Blowing Rock, Banner Elk and Linville has been undergoing a quasirenaissance, even before the land rush of 2020. Businesses have been gearing up for the surge of visitors from the new homes, improved ski slopes and local attractions. “It’s a great time to be in the High Country—take the time to pick the place that will suit your family the best.” A resident of Boone for more than 15 years, Jason Reagan is a freelance writer and marketing consultant. Find him on Twitter @JasonPReagan, on the web at jasonpreagan. com or via email at jason@jasonpreagan.com. CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE Winter 2020/21 —





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659 Clubhouse Drive J2




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OVER $10 MILLION SOLD IN 2020. Tricia Holloway . Engel & Völkers Banner Elk . 610 Banner Elk Highway Banner Elk . NC 28604 | Office: +1 828-898-3808 . Mobile: +1 561-202-5003

Learn more at bannerelk.evrealestate.com

84 — Winter 2020/21 CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE ©2020 Engel & Völkers. All rights reserved. Each brokerage independently owned and operated. Engel & Völkers and its independent License Partners are Equal Opportunity Employers and fully support the principles of the Fair Housing Act.

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Urgent Care

Now open Urgent care services are now close to home for the families of Avery County. If you or a loved one needs medical care for a minor illness or injury, you can trust our team to provide high-quality, convenient care, when you need it most. We care for patients of all ages – no appointment necessary. Treating minor illnesses and injuries, including:

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86 — Winter 2020/21 CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE



Ounce of Prevention By Mike Teague

Beech Mountain / Photo by Sam Dean


he leaves are off the trees and the winter chill has arrived. It is time for those cold nights and beautiful crisp sunny days. With these colder temperatures comes the opportunity for our local ski resorts to help out Mother Nature and put down some fresh machine-made powder. Whether you are a local skier or visiting the High Country, preparation before hitting the slopes is a must!

Proper Clothing Before you head out to the slopes there are a few things that you must take into consideration. Winter in the NC High Country is unpredictable at best. It isn’t uncommon for the weather to change several times throughout the day. Because of this unpredictability it is important to employ the “layering method” for dress. I have been with National Ski Patrol for the past twenty-two years and this is one of the biggest mistakes that I see in our skiing public. Every time I head out to the slopes I check the weather forecast and prepare for the unpredictable changes. First, I make sure I have a good base layer which will provide sweat wicking even on cold days. Second, it is important to have an insulation layer. A morning ski session may require the insulation layer due to colder temperatures and/or wind; an afternoon session that is 15 to 20 degrees warmer may require little or no insulation. Lastly, you should always make sure to have an outer layer that will shed the wind, rain and snow. Please stay away from blue jeans and novelty jackets supporting your favorite sports team. This type of clothing can lead to dangerous hypothermic conditions because they get wet and speed up your

body’s loss of heat. Waterproof or water resistant gloves is another item that should be high on list. Beginner skiers are going to spend a lot of time with their hands in the snow as they learn to ski. A good pair of gloves will make the adventure much more enjoyable.

Personal Safety Make sure you have a plan for the day before going onto the slopes. This plan should include how long you plan to ski, fluids to maintain proper hydration, rest and meal breaks, and knowing when to call it a day. Your skiing level and the weather conditions will have a direct impact on this plan. Beginners will use a lot more energy learning to ski than an advance skier will running our local slopes. Really cold, wet or sunny days can put a drain on your energy, each in different ways. Especially later in the day, after you may already be tired from skiing. In addition to proper clothing, please consider adding a ski helmet to your gear. Once only used by racers, a quality ski helmet will help to protect your brain during collisions with other skiers or slope side objects. It doesn’t take a lot of speed to cause a serious head injury. Beginner skiers have difficulties with control and stopping. As an individual’s skill level improves they have a tendency to increase their speed and move up to more difficult slopes. Whether you are a novice or an advanced skier, mistakes and accidents can happen. Wearing an appropriately sized ski helmet can help keep an accident from becoming a tragedy. Skier Responsibility The National Ski Patrol and The National Ski Areas Association strive to improve the overall enjoyment and safety of

the skiing public. As a skier it is important that you recognize your responsibilities in this effort. There are seven established skier responsibilities that all skiers are expected to follow. They are: Always stay in control, and be able to stop or avoid other people or objects. People ahead of you have the right of way. It is your responsibility to avoid them. You must not stop where you obstruct a trail, or are not visible from above. Whenever starting downhill or merging into a trail, look uphill and yield to others. Always use devices to help prevent runaway equipment. Observe all posted signs and warnings. Keep off closed trails and out of closed areas. Prior to using any lift, you must have the knowledge and ability to load, ride and unload safely. Snow skiing is a wonderful sport that can be enjoyed individually or in a group. But it is important to plan ahead, be prepared and ski within your abilities. Please visit websites for The National Ski Areas Association at https://www.nsaa.org and The National Ski Patrol at https://www. nsp.org for additional information and programs provided by these two fine organizations. I hope you enjoy one or all of our wonderful ski resorts in the NC High Country. Maybe I will see you on the slopes! Frequent CML contributor Michael Teague is the Assistant Chief of the Boone Fire Department and a member of the National Ski Patrol.



DEPUTY DOG | found stray and malnourished with injuries to the mouth and teeth, thought to be due to chewing through a chain


Deputy Dog... ... one of many animals in our community who have suffered abandonment, abuse and neglect, yet could not speak out for themselves. If you live in Avery County* and want to support efforts to rescue and care for animals in need, make your voice heard. When our voices are heard, so are the animals’.

Speak Out Take Action

ADVOCATES for the Care of


in Avery County

Learn about the ways in which you can take action by calling 828-783-9143 or emailing info@advocatesforaveryanimals.com *Avery County is the only county in North Carolina where the County does not provide any animal control resources.


Heart & Vascular Center M

ovin’ on up! Patients of the Heart & Vascular Center now have quicker access to care and overall convenience under one roof in a new location. “I always say it’s not the building, but the people in it that matters, but the new facility does give us the opportunity to do things more efficiently,” says Andrew Hordes, MD, a board-certified cardiologist at the Heart & Vascular Center. “Everything is in one place, and there are circumstances when someone comes into the office, and it is an urgent situation. We can now get certain tests done right away and being down the hall from our testing area makes it streamlined. It’s good to be in the same building.” Formerly known as The Cardiology Center, the newly named Heart & Vascular Center is now located in an 8,000 square-foot space inside Watauga Medical Center. The setting is new but offers the same award-winning, quality care to patients. Prior to the move, space was an issue. Parking could be scarce. Staff shared desks and offices. Social distancing for patients and personnel was harder to implement. The move now allows for a better working environment and roomier waiting area, as well as convenience of care. “Our patients have been very impressed with our new office space and comment that it is so warm and inviting,” says Beth Miller, Senior Director for Clinical Support Services. “Also, they like that we now have the ability to provide vascular care in the same office they receive their cardiology care—it’s been a real plus.” The Heart & Vascular Center offers a full spectrum of cardiology and vascular

By Koren Gillespie

services to the community. Common heart disease in the United States. About patient needs include heart monitors to 805,000 Americans have a heart attack per evaluate for heart arrhythmias, high blood year. Heart disease is the leading cause of pressure management, stress testing and death for both men and women, and one echocardiography to evaluate the heart, in four deaths are due to heart disease. The management of pacemakers and defibril- main culprits for heart disease are high lators, management of heart failure, and blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, care after a heart attack. Additionally, and smoking, and about 47 percent of medical personnel often see undiagnosed Americans have at least one of these three vascular issues during a general assess- risk factors. Think about how many people ment of their cardiac patients. The most you personally know who have suffered prevalent issue is peripheral artery disease from cardiac-related conditions, and sadly, (PAD), leg pain, and decreased circulation.    you are likely to come up with at least a Miller adds, “Every day I work with handful of people. To meet these everstaff and providers who demonstrate growing needs, Appalachian Regional compassion and care to our patients and Healthcare System continues to prioritize families. And, in many cases, our staff and cardiovascular care as demonstrated with providers go above and beyond to not only the newly expanded Heart & Vascular provide exceptional care but an excep- Center. tional patient experience. Our team gets “One of the primary missions of our to experience the enjoyment of providing healthcare system is to provide high qualcardiac and vascular care during a really ity, compassionate care close to home,” critical time in a patient’s life. Often, we shares Miller.  “We pride ourselves at the are able to experience the positive impact Heart and Vascular Center by focusing when caring for someone through a criti- on state-of-the-art care here in the High cal illness. We get to take care of them as Country.  We want to treat each patient we watch them return to a healthier way of like they are a member of our family, strivlife. That’s truly rewarding!”       ing to provide excellent care right here Also new to the Heart & Vascular in our surrounding communities.  We Center is the ability to provide 24-hour, have excellent providers, excellent staff, seven-days-a-week catheterization lab and now excellent healthcare facilities in coverage. For patients experiencing the which to care for our community. The enmost serious symptoms of heart attack, all tire healthcare team genuinely wants to access availability saves time and allows for care for each patient by providing attenquicker, possibly lifesaving interventions. tion to individual needs and the individual The need to prevent and treat cardio- needs of their families,” concludes Miller. vascular health issues is still an ongoing effort for our nation and local community. For more information about the Heart & Vascular Center, Statistics from the Centers of Disease visit http://apprhs.org/heart/ or call Control and Prevention (CDC) show (828) 264-9664. troublesome facts about the burden of CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE Winter 2020/21 —


Your Immune System:

The Most Effective Weapon Against Illness (Part Two)


or those of you who are new to our “Be Well” column, my name is Samantha Steele and I am a Holistic Health care practitioner. “Holistic Health” is the  practice  of working with the whole person to improve overall  health, wellbeing and immunity. Rather than a diseasebased approach to  health  care—get sick, see a doctor, take medication—a Holistic Health Practitioner uses a wellness-based model to prevent and treat the whole person, mind, body, and spirit. I exercise my intervention specifically through diet, lifestyle and supplementation. I believe many illnesses can be successfully prevented, and even some treated, this way. Because of these uncertain times, in this two part series I focus mainly on supporting the immune system, which starts with the basics of heathy living: whole foods, restorative sleep, reducing toxin exposure, effectively managing stress, building and maintaining a healthy microbiome, and emotional health. In our Autumn 2020 issue, I covered good vs. bad bacteria, diet, sleep, stress management, earthing and forest bathing. You can read Part One online at www.CMLmagazine. online. In Part Two of this series, I cover the importance of hydration, detox, meditation and deep breathing, hygiene and supplementation.


Hydration Stay hydrated with at least half of your body weight in fluid ounces of water. Our immune system is seriously dependent on the nutrients in our blood stream, and our blood stream is made mostly of water! If we don’t have enough water, we cannot properly transport nutrients to each organ system. Staying well hydrated is also very important for detoxification pathways by increasing lymphatic drainage and making sure we are clearing out any foreign invaders and other waste materials. Dehydration can contribute to muscle tension, headaches, low serotonin production and digestive issues. Detox Start by adopting the detoxifying habit of drinking at least six ounces of lemon water in the morning and/or evening. Simply squeeze one half of a small lemon in six ounces of water. You can reduce toxin exposure by avoiding excess sugar, high fructose corn syrup, and fructose. Watch out for environmental toxins, like artificial fragrances found in personal care products and household cleaners, and trace amounts of weed killers and pesticides found in certain foods. Buy organic and know your sources when choosing what to put in and on your body.

By Samantha Steele

If you vape, smoke or use other forms of tobacco, consider cutting back or quitting altogether. Actively reduce any dependence on over-the-counter medications that compromise liver function, such as Ibuprofen, Tylenol and Motrin. Tylenol can deplete glutathione, a very strong antioxidant that your body requires daily. It is especially helpful in fighting harmful viruses, and some people who suffer the most from COVID have shown a glutathione deficiency. Meditation with Deep Breathing Even a few minutes at the beginning and end of the day can make a HUGE difference in your immune system and your overall wellbeing. And feel free to practice as needed throughout the day! Hygiene Work to build and maintain your skin and gut microbiome. You can help accomplish this task by avoiding chlorine and antibiotics, which obliterate your healthy microflora. Wash your hands with natural soaps rather than antibacterial sanitizers, which can sometimes be toxic. The CDC recommends washing 20 seconds in warm or cold water. I recommend cool water because hot water can dry and crack the skin barrier, making

“Holistic Health” is the practice of working with the whole person to improve overall health, well-being and immunity. us much more susceptible to invasion. Eat plenty of fresh, leafy vegetables, fermented foods and cultured dairies which are full of natural enzymes. Rotate these foods because different foods feed different types of bacteria and cultivate a diverse microbiome. A healthy microbiome is proven to help our bodies fight against invaders that lead to disease. Don’t forget how important oral care is for overall health! Take care of your mouth with twice daily teeth brushing and flossing. Avoid alcohol based mouthwashes. Instead, rinse your mouth out with salt water made with Celtic sea salt and a little peppermint essential oil. Try oil pulling, a practice that involves swishing oil, such as unfiltered coconut oil, in your mouth once a week to keep gingivitis at bay. Also avoid toothpastes made with unhealthy or potentially toxic ingredients, such as Triclosan, microbeads, artificial colors, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate and propylene glycol. Supplementation Supplementation should be considered a way to “top off ” the nutrients that you naturally receive by eating a healthy diet. Even with a very healthy, balanced diet, it is necessary to supplement in times of need to offset poor food quality and to aid

the body in regaining balance. Currently we are all in need of a strong immune system as we face the current threat of COVID-19. There will be future threats as well, so why not arm yourself for the next one? Consider adding the supplements listed below to your daily regimen, and seek support from a trusted health care professional for more information on including them in your immune support regime: n Vitamin D3 and Vitamin K2 n Liposomal Vitamin C n Vitamin E n Liposomal Glutathione n Quercitin n Zinc n Broad spectrum Probiotics n Elderberry As cooler weather approaches and you begin heating your home, use a humidifier in your bedroom if your indoor air is too dry. This can help reduce the risk of infections, as bacteria and viruses do not typically travel well in moist air. Signs of a dry climate are lips that start chapping and houseplants that wither more readily between waterings. Lastly, building your immune system doesn’t have to be all boring and mundane.

Do something fun! Enjoy some quality time with a loved one. Find something that makes you laugh really hard and just relax for goodness sake! All of these things will boost your “feel good” hormones, lower your ambient anxiety and promote joy in you and others.

• Samantha Steele is a nutritionist, food scientist and herbalist who loves spending time outside foraging for wild foods while appreciating the abundance of God’s creation. • Samantha can be contacted at cmlmag3@gmail.com. • The views are those of the author and should not be considered medical advice. Please consult your personal physician or healthcare professional before making changes to any treatments or regimens.

Be Well References: https://www.cdc.gov/drugresistance/pdf/threatsreport/2019-ar-threats-report-508.pdf https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/ insomnia/expert-answers/lack-of-sleep/ https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15632669/ https://www.cdc.gov/handwashing/when-howhandwashing.html



Creativity, Community Service and Flexibility: The Key Ingredients of the Watauga Campus of Caldwell Community College’s Culinary Arts Program By Kim S. Davis


ining out drastically changed in 2020. However, many people are still going out or taking-out because everyone needs to eat, and a majority enjoy great food and desire a dining experience. Just as so many institutions and organizations have had to do during the pandemic, the Watauga County campus of Caldwell Community College’s Culinary Arts Director Keith Andreason and instructor Robert Back have re-structured their program of study to meet the evolving needs of the students and the industry. The recently mandated restaurant closures significantly impact the entire culinary industry including career preparation programs, and while future opportunities for students preparing to enter a culinary field are unclear, having trained employees will definitely be necessary for a recovery. There are several pathways to a career in the food industry and Caldwell Community College’s Watauga Campus provides exceptional individualized instruction and value through low-cost tuition as well as realworld career experience.

92 — Winter 2020/21 CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE

Finishing Pastry in Baking Class

Re-Crafting Culinary Arts during COVID While many of the nation’s students are having to adapt to blended learning, Caldwell Community College’s Culinary Arts program has shifted their curriculum to ensure students are receiving direct hands on instruction for the most complicated skills early into coursework in case they need to transition to a virtual format if the pandemic necessitates. As Chef Robert explains, “I want to work with the students on harder projects and be there to give them advice as they implement the more complex skills.” Therefore, students begin with some of the more challenging tasks early on, such as charcuterie and pastries. If they must move to remote learning, he would then provide the ingredients for the students to take home and would develop videos depicting how to perform the skills. Students would subsequently submit photos or videos of their implementation for evaluation and feedback. Planning for the possibilities of an unusual year, the director and instructor developed logs to check out equipment, set up schedules for once-a-week pick up of material boxes and equipment, and budgeted for the remote learning option because virtual instruction of such

a skills-heavy curriculum costs more money. Additionally, while there is already a unit dedicated to food safety and sanitation, the adapted curriculum adds an even heavier focus on sanitation and safety. While culinary skills are the focus, soft skills are also a crucial component of the courses and work-ethic and responsibility are stressed and expected throughout the program. Attendance is a critical element; however, while there was a strict policy before the pandemic, students are now taught the importance of staying home if they feel sick. The Benefits and Value of a Community College Degree The two-year Associate Degree (AAS) in Culinary Arts offered at the Watauga Campus thoroughly prepares students in a professional lab setting, in close proximity to where they currently live and work, and the instructors are highly regarded industry professionals. For instance, Chef Robert Back is a graduate of the esteemed Culinary Institute of America (CIA) in Hyde Park, NY, and the recipient of the American Culinary Federation Chef of the Year Award. He trained under master bakers and elite chefs, including the White House head chef. Additionally he worked at West

Chef Robert Back demonstrates how to clean the equipment after students finish grinding their house-made sausage.

Point Military Academy and Sodexo, where he supervised 28 chefs and was the safety coordinator, and he also was the chef/owner of two restaurants. Connecting the Culinary Classroom and the Community Students in the Caldwell Community College Culinary program not only receive lab and classroom instruction from industry professionals, they earn valuable experience both through community service and local business on-thejob training. The program partners with the Casting Bread Food Pantry (through Faith Bridge Methodist Church*) where they donate extra food products and volunteer their skills and service. For example, when the food pantry received an influx of bread, the students used some of the excess to make stuffing and brought the transformed food back to the pantry to distribute to needy families. Caldwell Community College Culinary Arts additionally supports Casting Bread with funds they raise through community meals and other endeavors. The Culinary program also volunteers at the Watauga Farmers Market two times each month, using local ingredients donated by vendors to prepare delicious dishes for shoppers to sample. The main goal is to showcase both the local

food movement and the program, with an additional goal to encourage young people to eat healthy and enjoy fresh inseason produce. Through this work with local farmers, the students are also able to visit area farms to harvest fruits and vegetables and learn about traditional mountain recipes and cooking methods. To further demonstrate culinary students’ skills and to fundraise, the Culinary Arts Program provides community dinners three times each semester. Students prepare and package full meals for up to 50 diners, including one regular dinner party group of 14-18 diners. The remainder is purchased by families and individuals to take home and re-heat the meals. Students prepare a variety of dishes and can accommodate any dietary restrictions. As a final demonstration, once a year students prepare a full-course sit down dinner in which the students determine the menu, plan, prepare, present and serve a delectable meal to friends, family and community members. Community service opportunities have been especially important during the pandemic because a majority of the students in the program typically have jobs with local restaurants where they can implement their skills in real world situations. With the restaurant shutdowns and constraints, there are fewer

openings for students to work in fine dining establishments and further develop their culinary creativity. However, when the restaurants are once again able to operate at full capacity, these students will be prepared and ready to work.

For more information on the Culinary Program at the Watauga Campus of Caldwell Community College visit: http://cccti.smartcatalogiq.com/en/2020-2021/ College-Catalog/Programs-of-Study-1/Culinary-Arts/ Culinary-Arts-A55150. *For more information on Casting Bread Food Pantry, visit: http://www.faithbridgeumc.org/home--castingbread-food-pantry.html CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE Winter 2020/21 —



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Festive Spirits of the Season

From the Vine and Orchard to You By Steve York


inter is back, and so are those tasty High Country seasonal wines. Specialty blends, classic fruit favorites, and of course those extra celebratory fortified wines and ciders are on tap, artfully labeled and ready to light up seasonal gifting and joyful gatherings. From Watauga Lake Winery in nearby Tennessee, to Grandfather Mountain Vineyard & Winery in Foscoe, NC, to Banner Elk Winery and Villa just outside Banner Elk, all the way down highway 221 to Linville Falls Winery & Christmas Tree Farm, our High Country A.V.A. (American Viticultural Area) wineries have become the home of preferred wines and the cheerful destinations for seasonal visitors. So, let’s hit the High Country Wine Trail and check out what’s awaiting wine lovers this year… Starting first at historic Watauga Lake Winery & pastoral Villa Nove Vineyards in equally historic Butler, Tennessee, Linda and Wayne Gay are recommending their Beary Apple, a

fortified dessert wine with bright notes of vanilla cream and ripe apple character. Also there’s Beary Black, a portstyle with bold flavors and aromas of chocolate, plum and ripe blackberries. Finally, they suggest their Duncan Hollow, another port-style wine with bold fig, chocolate and cinnamon flavors. All have a little extra “kick” to warm up your winter. Back on Watauga County turf, Nicole Tatum of Grandfather Vineyard & Winery is boasting about their raspberry cider, a dry and sweet, lightly carbonated treat full of apples and raspberries. Next on the list is the Chardonel, a semi-sweet hybrid Chardonnay and Seyval Blanc grape wine with vanilla, banana flambe’, yellow apples, honeysuckle and cream soda. Another fun choice is their Sparkling River White crafted from locally grown Vidal Blanc grapes with pineapple, honeydew melon and mango—the first of their carbonated sweet wines. And, lastly comes their classic Black & Blue. A blend of Appalachian blueber-

ries and blackberries makes this sweet, ruby red wine a perfect pairing with charcuterie boards and buttery desserts. Just up the road in Avery County is Banner Elk Winery and Villa, on Deer Run off Hwy 194 just outside of downtown Banner Elk. General Manager Pattie Greene started off her list with their Banner Elk White Reserve. It’s a semidry made from Columbard and Seyval Blanc grapes creating a mellow blend of fragrances courtesy of its sweet pear and golden apple highlights. Her next selection is their High Country Rosé. It’s an estate-grown semi-dry rosé blending red Steuben and golden Muscat grapes with notes of fresh strawberry, peach and white cranberry; it makes a great pairing with your seasonal turkey meal. For a bold twist, it’s their rare and decadent French-American hybrid Marechal Foch. This unusual grape is the result of successfully grafted currents and red berries onto a grape vine to produce a red

cheers! Continued on next page



wine of intense flavor and deep color. And then there’s Petit Syrah, a big-bodied, dry red wine that boasts of plum, blackberry, currant and black cherry that is aged for 10 months on French oak to give it a full, smooth flavor with excellent depth. Now head down Hwy 221 south to Tuscan-style Linville Falls Winery and Choose & Cut Christmas Tree Farm. Three generations of the Jack Wiseman Family have been growing grapes, making wine and hosting winery visitors since opening its doors in 2012. And they’re continuously adding new wines to their bounty. An always seasonal favorite is their special, authentic Cherry Bounce with the added taste of cinnamon and fortified with apple brandy. Speaking of brandy, their Brandy Barrel Aged Cabernet Sauvignon is a hearty, dry red with notes of tobacco, oak and vanilla, aged in French oak barrels for two years and an additional six months in American brandy barrels. Their Red Barn Blend (named after the historic red barn below the winery) is a dry red with rustic notes of tart cherry and spice. And brand new to their Club Members’ offerings is Wiseman’s View, an authentic Appalachian High Country dessert style Noiret, complete with a backstory of the breathtaking Wiseman’s View overlook facing picturesque Table Rock and Linville Gorge. Once again this season, our own High Country A.V.A. wineries have decked the halls with bottles bright just in time for winter festivities. Beginning with the surge of Christmas tree trekkers and running all through our snow-clad ski season, wine lovers from throughout the southeast and beyond look forward to spending time in these magical Blue Ridge Mountains and tasting the many award-winning varieties that our wineries feature. Despite the disruptions to normal life and holiday gatherings that have come with recent health concerns, our wineries have been operating under current guidelines and continuing to offer on-site and online customers a rich selection of wines and festive ambiance. So, as you plan your seasonal outings and gifting, our area wineries are ready with warm hearts, warm hearths and a true spirit of wonder and joy. Season’s greetings to you from all High Country A.V.A. wineries.

wine! 96— Winter 2020/21 CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE

W I N T E R R E S TA U R A N T G U I D E Fine food, friendly service, great atmosphere—you’ll find it all at our High Country restaurants! Here, we feature a selection of popular dining establishments and showcase some of our favorite chefs’ specialties.

Photo by Casey Davis

Reid’s Cafe & Catering

4004 NC-105 Suite #8 Sugar Mountain, NC 28604 828.898.9200 https://reidscafeandcatering.com/ “Pork Chop, Winter Squash, Pepitas, Calabrian Chili, Lemon… as Michael Scott always says, ‘Keep it Simple, Stupid.’” — Chef Alek Schober

Highlander’s Grill & Tavern

4527 Tynecastle Hwy. Banner Elk, NC 28604 828.898.9613 http://www.highlandersbannerelk.com “Where the locals go! We feature daily lunch and dinner specials, a children’s menu, and a large selection of appetizers, burgers, quesadillas, salads, and wings— seven days a week!”

Bayou Smokehouse & Grill Restaurant

130 Main Street East, Village Shops Banner Elk, NC 28604 828.898.8952 https://www.facebook.com/ BayouSmokehouse/

L “ et food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.”

“Open since 2003, The Bayou Smokehouse & Grill restaurant offers authentic Texas and Louisiana cuisine transported to the High Country. Traditional family recipes are used to create delicious meats smoked in-house and a variety of menu items sure to please.”

Bella’s Italian Restaurant


Elk River Depot

“Pizza is our #1 best seller!”

“The High Country’s Premier Steak & Seafood Restaurant for over 35 years.”

3585 Tynecastle Hwy. Banner Elk, NC 28604 828.898.9022


344 Shawneehaw Ave. South 828.898.5550 http://stonewallsrestaurant.com

6460 Banner Elk Hwy, Elk Park, NC 28622 “Serving breakfast and lunch—country style—with breakfast served all day.”



Banner Elk Café, The Lodge and The Tavern

Lost Province Brewing Company

“In the Café’, the Best Burger in the mountains is hand-pattied 100% beef and served with your choice of toppings and a side. At The Lodge, what’s not to like about a fire, fresh brewed cappuccino and a dessert that’s made fresh daily.”

“From our traditional Neapolitan pizza dough, sourdough and buns, to all of our sausages, sauces, aiolis, and dressings, we make everything in house using the highest quality ingredients, and source as many items from our local farming community as possible.”

Stick Boy Kitchen

Casa Rustica

“A new favorite item to our menu is this Mediterranean Salad. This meal piles leafy greens with fresh cucumber, cherry tomatoes, pickled red onion, feta cheese, and roasted chickpeas with lime vinaigrette.” 

“Casa Rustica Piatto Di Mare—A medley of shrimp, scallops, and crabmeat, sauteed with fresh mushrooms, julienned bell peppers, and onions in a lightly thickened white wine sauce, tossed with fresh pasta.”

324 Shawneehaw Ave S Highway 184 Banner Elk, NC 28604 828.898.4040, 828.898.3444 http://www.bannerelkcafe.com/

211 Boone Heights Drive Boone, NC 28607 828.265.4141 https://www.stickboybread.com/kitchen

98 — Winter 2020/21 CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE

130 N Depot Street Boone, NC 28607 828.265.3506 https://lostprovince.com/

1348 NC-105 Boone, NC 28607 828.262.5128 https://casarustica1981.com/

Bodega’s Kitchen and Wine Bar 488 Main St W Banner Elk, NC 28604 828.898.7773 https://www.bodegasbe.com/

“Fresh Brussel sprouts lightly fried with a tangy aioli with traditional mojo pork cooked in house and served on white rice with black beans and topped with authentic mojo criollo.”

Sorrento’s Italian Bistro

140 Azalea Cir SE Banner Elk, NC 28604 828.898.5214 http://bannerelkvillage.com/sorrentositalian-bistro/ “Mrs. A’s Crab Cake sautéed in our secret lobster cream sauce.”

The Chef’s Table

140 Azalea Cir SE Banner Elk, NC 28604 828.898.1940 http://bannerelkvillage.com/chefstable/ “Filet Mignon with mashed potato, spinach topped with crispy onion, drizzled with demi-glace.”

Fred’s Backside Deli

Woodlands Barbeque

“Margie’s House Made Chili is a traditional favorite on a winter’s day.”

“Woodlands Barbeque Plate, where you get your choice of meat, two sides and a bread.”

501 Beech Mountain Pkwy Beech Mountain, NC 28604 828.387.4838 https://fredsgeneral.com/

8304 Valley Blvd Blowing Rock, NC 28605 828.295.3651 https://www.woodlandsbbq.com/

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

The Chestnut Grille at The Green Park Inn

The Italian Restaurant

“Enjoy a taste of the south with our homemade Cast Iron Cornbread, served with honey butter, blackberry-sorghum jam, and pickled jalapenos.”

“The Italian style of cooking is simply great food to be enjoyed and shared with family and friends. We believe in fresh, premium ingredients prepared with great care to ensure ‘simple, great food.’ Sauces are prepared fresh daily in our kitchen.”

9239 Valley Blvd. Blowing Rock, NC 28605 P: (828) 414-9230 http://greenparkinn.com/

2855 Linville Falls Hwy Pineola, NC 28662 828.733.1401 https://www.theitalianrestaurantnc. com/

Gamekeeper Restaurant 3005 Shulls Mill Rd Boone, NC 28607 828.963.7400 https://gamekeeper-nc.com/

“Gamekeeper’s Venison Osso Buco, slowly braised for hours in a rich tomato stew with rosemary gremolata. Our hearty wintertime favorite warms the soul, best served by the fire along with your favorite beverage.” CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE Winter 2020/21 —


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

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

- Award Winning -

Craft Beer

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

130 N Depot Street, Boone NC | lostprovince.com | 828.265.3506

Locally sourced foods and wood fired pizza.



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


down bedding & fine linens



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

100 — Winter 2020/21 CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE

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

Downtown West Jefferson 336-846-8327

Enjoying Winter Wines By Jennifer Weaver-Carson


inter in the mountains is a very special time of the year. There is something magical about the holidays, an opportune time to hunker down for the cold and snowy nights ahead. Most of us know what we are going to eat—our traditional family meals are already planned, and our comfort food recipes are pulled out and ready to go. The question left is what are we going to drink? If you will indulge me, I’d like to share with you some of my favorites for the winter season. I’ll start by telling you what I tell all of my clients—I never want to choose between food and wine; I want them both. I am going to highlight some of my favorite wines that will keep you warm and also allow you to enjoy your favorite seasonal meals. Bubbles. If you aren’t drinking bubbles you should be. Bubbles have to be the happiest wine there is. Crémant is a group of sparkling wines made in the champagne method, but not in the champagne region. Using different varietals, these sparkling wines are soft bubbles with a clean flavor without being flat or boring. If you are a white wine drinker, let’s talk about Chenin Blanc for a moment. Chenin Blanc is usually from the Loire region in France, although you can find domestic chenin. Chenin is also a popular grape grown in South Africa. Chenin is a

crowd pleaser and is the perfect blend of sweetness and acidity. It is a lean wine that is not going to stick to your teeth or hit your stomach like a brick. French chenin is going to be more of what we expect as a winter wine, as it is a little more full bodied than what we see in other regions. Traditionally in the winter we think of red wine—we’re not wrong. Though Gamay might not be the warmest of the red wine varietals, it is a food wine and is similar to pinot noir. Mostly grown in France, this dark grape produces a lighter wine with earth tones. Raspberry and plum flavors are found in these wines. Gamay grapes grown in the U.S. tend to have a little more fruit than earth flavor. In fact, there is no harm in chilling your gamay if you prefer. If I haven’t lost you with all these outside-the-box varietals, let’s bring it back to something familiar: Merlot. I am always going to drink merlot. Merlot is steady; it is a silky wine that can warm the soul. There are many ways to drink merlot. My personal favorite way to drink merlot is from California—vintage, more expensive merlot. Winemakers on the west coast have perfected making this wine and it shows in the bottle. If you are not convinced or you want something more cost-

friendly, travel with me to Bordeaux for your merlot fix. Merlot-based Bordeaux blends are usually blended with a combination of Cabernet franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, malbec and petite Verdot—all the greats in my opinion. There are beautiful Bordeaux blends out there that will make any red wine drinker happy without cutting into your budget. Now, here is the real secret to enjoying winter wines in the mountains: the High Country is filled with local restaurants and retail shops. I happen to know there is not a bottle of wine on the list or on a shelf that hasn’t been handpicked. Open up a conversation at your table or in a shop. Let them help you find the wines that make you happy. I have full confidence you will not be disappointed. Jennifer Weaver-Carson is a Territory Sales Rep with Advintage Distributing (@imbibeadvintage). She got her start in the wine business as the wine buyer at Bayou Smokehouse in Banner Elk, and has been with Advintage for eight years. Alongside Advintage, she is currently working with brand development with Noah River Wines, LLC. She lives in Banner Elk with her husband, Luke, their 6-month-old baby, Gentry and their two dogs, Big Ben Rufflisburger and Terrier Bradshaw. 



Offering Peace of Mind For Your Mountain Home

Avery Animal Hospital

Locations Across the High Country:

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


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



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



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

102 — Winter 2020/21 CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE

Since 1978 1104 Hwy 105, Boone NC 28607 828-964-2648 Peabodyswineandbeer.com


Servings 8



Toppings: 4 slices of bacon, diced 8 oz. shredded Gruyere cheese Roasted butternut squash (see instructions) Arugula Salad (see instructions)

Pre-heat the oven to 425 degrees.

For the Pizza base: 12 oz. jar roasted red peppers 2 TBSP Chipotle Peppers in adobe sauce 2 Garlic Cloves, minced 1 Vidalia onion, sliced thinly and caramelized For the Roasted Butternut squash: 1 small butternut squash, cut into 1-inch pieces 2 TBSP Extra Virgin Olive Oil ½ tsp of chili powder ¼ tsp cinnamon ½ tsp salt ¼ tsp fresh ground pepper 1 TBSP Honey

From CML’s Kitchen By Meagan Murphy Goheen

In a medium size bowl add cubed butternut squash, 2 TBSP Extra Virgin Olive Oil, ½ tsp of chili powder, ¼ tsp cinnamon, ½ tsp salt, ¼ tsp fresh ground pepper, 1 TBSP Honey. Toss butternut squash. Spread out in a single layer on a baking sheet. Roast until tender, 20-25 minutes, stirring the veggies halfway through. Remove and set aside. In a medium sauté pan, crisp bacon, set aside. Drain all but 1 TBSP of bacon fat, add sliced onion and cook down on low until caramelized, add minced garlic until fragrant (about 1 minute). To your blender, add caramelized onion and garlic, chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, and roasted red peppers. Preheat your oven to 500 degrees. Stretch your pizza dough into either 2 small pizzas or 1 large pizza. Add to preheated oven for about 5-8 minutes until very lightly browned. Add to a medium size bowl arugula, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, honey, shaved parmesan, salt and pepper, then toss.

made wit h love! Arugula Salad 2-3 cups arugula 1 TBSP Extra Virgin Olive Oil 1 TBSP Balsamic Vinegar 1 tsp Honey ¼ tsp salt 1/8 tsp fresh ground pepper 2 oz. shaved parmesan cheese


Add red pepper chipotle sauce to pizza, then add Gruyere cheese, bacon and roasted butternut squash. Bake the pizza for 15-20 minutes or until the cheese is melted and bubbly. Top pizza with arugula salad and serve. Enjoy!




Serves 6



1 small onion, diced 4 TBS butter ¼ cup flour 4 cups cooked chicken, diced 4 oz pancetta (can substitute bacon) 1 cup chopped carrots 2 cups cauliflower, diced (can substitute potato) 2 cups of frozen vegetables medley (peas, corn, green beans) 3 cloves of garlic, minced ¾ cup heavy cream 1 ½ cups chicken broth ½ cup white wine ½ tsp salt ½ tsp fresh cracked pepper ½ tsp ground turmeric ½ tsp rosemary ½ tsp thyme 2 TBS fresh parsley, chopped 1 sheet of puff pastry 1 egg 1 TBS water

Preheat oven to 425 degrees

104 — Winter 2020/21 CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE

In a large dutch oven or pot, cook pancetta over medium heat. Remove and set to the side. Add butter, once melted add the onions, carrots and cauliflower cooking until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in flour, seasonings, and herbs. Cook, stirring continuously for 30 seconds. Slowly add white wine until absorbed about 3 minutes, slowly add in broth and cream stirring frequently until thick. Remove from heat. Stir in the chicken, frozen veggies and pancetta.


Pour into your pie dish. Top with puff pastry and pinch the edges shut: and cut slits in the top of your crust. Whisk together the egg and the water and brush it all over the top of the crust Bake for 30 minutes at 425 degrees F, or until golden brown Allow to cool slightly and serve!



Chai Spiced Banana Bread 1/2 cup buttermilk 3 chai tea bags 1/2 cup unsalted butter, 1 cup dark brown sugar 2 eggs 3 overripe bananas, mashed very smooth 2 tsp vanilla bean paste (can substitute vanilla extract) 2 cups all purpose flour 1 tsp baking soda 1/2 tsp salt 1 tsp cinnamon 3/4 tsp ginger 3/4 tsp allspice 1/2 tsp cardamom

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Serves 6

In a small pot heat buttermilk over medium heat. Bring the buttermilk to a simmer and remove from heat. Place tea bags in the milk. Cover and let steep for at least 30 minutes. Slice butter and heat in aa small sauce pan over medium until browned, stir constantly and be careful to not burn. To a medium bowl, mix mashed bananas, brown sugar, eggs, vanilla, chai buttermilk and browned butter and mix until smooth.

wit h love! Cream cheese frosting 4 oz cream cheese, softened ¼ cup unsalted butter, softened 1 cup confectioners sugar 1 tsp vanilla bean paste (or vanilla extract)

To another bowl add flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, and cardamom and mix until combined. Combine your wet and dry ingredients and pour into a greased loaf pan. Bake at 350 for 50-60 minutes.

Blend cream cheese frosting ingredients together.

Top banana bread with cream cheese frosting and enjoy!



Come spend the day!

A to Z Auto Detailing 828.260.0283 Amy Brown, CPA Certified Public Accountant 828.898.7607 Avery County Chamber of Commerce 828.898.5605 / www.averycounty.com BB&T 888.BBT-ONLINE / www.BBandT.com Creative Interiors by Darlene Parker 828.898.9636 Encore Travel 828.719.6955 www.encoretravelltc.com Highlanders Grill & Tavern Open 7 Days a Week 828.898.9613 Peak Real Estate 828.898.1880 www.peakrealestatenc.com Salon Suites at Tynecastle • SALON M 828.260.3791 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 / tynecastlebuilders.com Tynecastle Realty 828.898.7777 / tynecastlerealty.com Valle de Bravo Mexican Grill valledebravomexicangrill.net 828.898.4949 Walgreens Pharmacy 828.898.8971


For Leasing Information Please Call 828.898.6246

SHOPPING • DINING • BUSINESS • At the Corner of Hwy 105 & 184 Tynecastle Hwy. • Banner Elk 106 — Winter 2020/21 CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE

The High Country’s Premier Steak & Seafood Restaurant

Dinner Nightly from 5pm

WINTER SPECIALS Martini & Meatloaf Mondays


$7 House Martinis Comfort Food Specials

25% off Bottles of Wine




“Avery County Chamber Business of the Year”


344 Shawneehaw Ave. South | stonewallsrestaurant.com

Caribbean Style Fare in a Unique Mountain Setting

Inspire Your Tastebuds Painted Salad

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

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

828.898.6800 paintedfishcafe.com

Try Our New Restaurant in Elk Park, NC!

At Shoppes of Tyne

, NC

castle in Banner Elk

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

www.facebook.com/Highlandersbannerelk/ 4527 Tynecastle Hwy, at the Corner of Hwy 105 and 184 Tynecastle Hwy 828.898.9613 | highlandersbannerelk.com

108 — Winter 2020/21 CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE

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

Our 6th generation family farm makes farm- fresh cheese on site from our own happy dairy cows. Our farm store also offers other local goods! 828-756-8166 Fri-Sat, 10am-6pm, year-round 19456 US 221 North (.5 miles south of Linville Caverns) Marion, NC 28752

Family Owned & Operated “Simply Great Food” Salads • Pasta • Hot Sandwiches Italian Pizza • Calzones • Desserts All ABC Permits – Carry out available – Intersection of Hwys 221 & 181 2855 Linville Falls Highway Pineola, NC 28662 (828) 733-1401 TheItalianRestaurantNC.com

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

Celebrating 25 Years! CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE Winter 2020/21 —


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











AAA FOUR DIAMOND RATING SINCE 2007 3 0 0 5 S H U L L S M I L L R O A D B E T W E E N B O O N E & B L O W I N G R O C K | (8 2 8) 9 6 3 -74 0 0 | R E S E R VAT I O N S R E Q U I R E D

110 — Winter 2020/21 CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE



Gideon Ridge Inn Lunch: 11 AM to 3 PM. | Dinner: 5 PM to 10 PM. Sunday Brunch: 11 AM to 3 PM.

10 wonderfully comfortable bedrooms with evening turndown service Serving Dinner Tuesday - Saturday from 5:30pm - 8pm Reservations Required Dining & Cocktails Alfresco and the view...

143 Wonderland Trail, Blowing Rock, NC 28605

202 Gideon Ridge Road, Blowing Rock, NC, 28605

bistroroca.com / 828-295-4008

gideonridge.com / 828-295-3644


Flatbread Friday

Amazing flatbreads & award-winning wine

Sangria Saturday

Check our Facebook page for our wood-fired pizza weekly specials

Savory Sunday Flatbreads & cheese trays

WATAUGA L AKE WINERY 423.768.0345 | 6952 Big Dry Run Road, Butler, Tennessee 37640 Open 11:00 AM - 5:00 PM | Food Service 12:00 PM - 4:00 PM



BA Y O U µ

Bayou Smokehouse & Grill Restaurant

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

The Heart of Texas The Soul of Louisiana in the

High Country

of North Carolina

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

112 — Winter 2020/21 CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFE

Corporate Retreats • Family Vacations • Special Events 135 Deer Run Lane, Banner Elk, NC 28604 828.260.1790 www.BannerElkWinery.com

BannerElkWVSep/Oct2012.indd 1

8/14/12 10:56 AM

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

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


140 Azalea Circle, Banner Elk, NC

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

Special Events & Catering: Corporate Events, Weddings, VIP Dining Parties Call 828.898.5214 | Email Trickynkky@yahoo.com

OUR SPONSORS: 106.................A to Z Auto Detailing 88...................Advocates for the Care of Animals in Avery County 81...................Allen Tate Realtors 31...................Alpine Ski Center 106.................Amy Brown, CPA 36...................Appalachian Blind and Closet 80...................Apple Hill Farm 88...................Appalachian Regional Healthcare System 29...................Appalachian Ski Mountain 88...................AppFamily Medicine 52...................Ashe County Chamber of Commerce 102.................Avery Animal Hospital 106.................Avery County Chamber of Commerce 94...................Avery Heating 88...................Baker Center 86...................Ballad Health Medical Associates Urgent Care 28...................Banner Elk Book Exchange 52...................Banner Elk Café, Lodge Espresso Bar & Tavern 100.................Banner Elk Olive Oil & Balsamics 28...................Banner Elk Realty 4.....................BannerElk.com 112.................Banner Elk Winery 113.................Barra Sports Bar 112.................Bayou Smokehouse & Grill 106.................BB&T 25...................Beech Mountain Resort 14...................Beech Mountain TDA 110.................Bella’s Italian Restaurant 48...................Bent Tree Furniture 111.................Bistro Roco 50...................Blue Ridge Energy 53...................Blue Ridge Propane 108.................Bodegas Kitchen & Wine Bar 58...................Boone Appetit 57...................Boonies Old Country Store 80...................Brinkley Hardware 110.................Casa Rustica 29...................Century 21 Mountain Vistas 113.................Chef’s Table 56...................Classic Stone 109.................CoBo Sushi Bistro & Bar 66...................Compu-Doc 106.................Creative Interiors by Darlene Parker

12...................Crossnore School for Children 94...................Custom Floor Coating 2,100..............Dewoolfson 3.....................Dianne Davant Interiors 8.....................Distinctive Cabinetry of the High Country 52...................Downtown Boone 44...................Echota 108.................Elk River Depot 88...................Elk River Medical Associates 106.................Encore Travel 84...................Engel & Volkers 109.................English Farmstead Cheese 102.................F.A.R.M. Café 15...................Footsloggers 67...................Fortner Insurance 58...................Fred’s General Mercantile 8.....................Fuller & Fuller 110.................Gamekeeper 111.................Gideon Ridge Inn 80...................Glen Davis Electric 115.................Grandfather Mountain 10...................Grandfather Vineyard 28...................Gregory Alan’s Gifts 48...................Hardin Jewelry 56...................Hemlock Inn 108,106..........Highlanders Grill & Tavern 67...................Hospitality House 56...................Hunter’s Tree Service 53...................Incredible Toy Company 109.................Italian Restaurant 41...................Jack’s 128 Pecan Restaurant 94...................Jerky Outpost 67...................Lees-McRae College 58...................Life Care 102.................Life Store Insurance 6.....................Linville Caverns 80...................Linville Crafts 7.....................Linville Falls Mountain Club 6.....................Linville Falls Winery 40...................Linville Land Harbor 11...................Lodges at Eagles Nest 100.................Lost Province Brewing Company 85...................Loven Casting & Construction 67...................Lucky Lily OBC................Mast General Store 31...................Mountain Dog and Friends 59...................Mountain Jewelers

53...................My Best Friend’s Barkery 80...................Mystery Hill 94...................OP Smiles 94...................Pack Rats 108.................Painted Fish Café 102.................Peabody’s Wine & Beer 80,106............Peak Real Estate 109.................Pedalin’ Pig BBQ 66...................Premier Pharmacy 53...................Ram’s Rack Thrift Shop 66...................Randall Forbes Plumbing 28...................Rivercross 66...................Root Down 48...................Sally Nooney Art Studio Gallery 106.................Salon Suites at Tynecastle 5.....................SeeSugar.com 106.................Shooz and Shiraz 41...................Shoppes at Farmers 106.................Shoppes 0f Tynecastle 28...................Ski Country Sports 66...................Skyline/Skybest 113.................Sorrento’s Italian Bistro 108.................Stick Boy Bread Co. 85...................Stone Cavern 107.................Stonewalls Restaurant 20...................Sugar Mountain Resort 31...................Sugar Ski and Country Club 30...................SugarTop 59...................Sunset Tee’s 19...................The Bee & The Boxwood 102.................The Best Cellar 41...................The Blowing Rock 59...................The Cabin Store 36...................The Consignment Cottage Warehouse 106.................The Dande Lion 102.................The Inn at Ragged Gardens 35...................The Schaefer Center Presents 100.................The Spice & Tea Exchange 66...................The Twisted Twig 5.....................The Village of Sugar Mountain 106.................Tynecastle Builders 106.................Tynecastle Realty 106.................Valle de Bravo Mexican Grill 111.................Villa Nove Vineyard Winery 10...................Village Jewelers 79...................Waite Financial 106.................Walgreens Pharmacy 111.................Watauga Lake Winery 29...................Woodlands Barbecue

thank you! 114 — Winter 2020/21 CAROLINA MOUNTAIN LIFEE


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

The grown-up of discovery at every turn around Fall colorssense give way to a blanket of white, then the mountain onlyof bespring. surpassed by the childlike come thewill blooms But the wonder of wonder our natural playground evokes. Grandfather Mountain knows no season. Or equal. wwwwww. .ggrraannddffaatthheerr. .ccoom m






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