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Volume 8 • Issue 7 July 2013

Gem Mining Wahoo’s Is 35 Chris Clark Gallery Plus Anniversaries for

Daniel Boone Native Gardens & Grandfather Home for Children

Be Sure to Check Out Our Local Restaurant & Shopping Sections July 2013

High Country Magazine


DI A N N E DAVA N T & A S S O C I AT E S Excellence By Design Since 1979

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High Country Magazine

July 2013

TRUST Piedmont Federal

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Boone Branch 828.264.5244 | 1399 Blowing Rock Road, Boone, NC 28607 2013 High Country Magazine 3 N. Wilkesboro Branch 336.667.9211 | 200July Wilkesboro Avenue, North Wilkesboro, NC 28659

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We’re well known for our landscaping and gardening supplies and plants, but did you know that inside our 9,000 square foot center are thousands of unique items for your garden, lawn and home to look fabulous this summer. Come by to see what you can add to your summer decor.

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High Country Magazine

July 2013

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• Having a constant sensation of heaviness above • your eyes? Having a constant sensation of heaviness above your eyes? • Having difficulty seeing when you drive? • Having difficulty seeing when you drive? • Having trouble reading for long periods of time? • Having trouble reading for long periods of time? • • Becoming aware that you see better only when you Becoming aware that you see better only when you raise your eyes? raise your eyes?

If so, these signs should not be ignored. Join Dr. Alicia Carroll If so, these signs should not be ignored. Join Dr. Alicia Carroll Eyes. to discuss Age RelatedChanges Changes Around Around Your Your Eyes. to discuss AgeRelated

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High Country Magazine

July 2013

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High Country Magazine



e d r tou

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every 4th “The ORIGINAL JuSneatu- Nrday gallery and studio tour”


The Tour De Art is a unique opportunity to experience fine art works and master crafts while interacting with the most talented artists of our region right here in the “Balcony of the Blue Ridge!”




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High Country Magazine

July 2013

Alta Vis ta Galler Vista Galleryy An vil Ar ts S tudio Anvil Arts Studio Ar Artt Cellar Galler Galleryy Carlt on Galler Carlton Galleryy Cr ossnore Galler Crossnore Galleryy k S tudio Kevin Bec Beck Studio ts Dis trict Lin ville Ar Linville Arts District tt er Lin ville Riv er Po Linville River Pott tter eryy k Po tt er Maggie Blac Black Pott tter eryy Pam Brewer Studio Rivercross Made in USA Sally N oone Noone ooneyy Galler Galleryy Studio of Mike Hill


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Our customer friendly waiting room has a coffee bar and a viewing area of the service department so you can see your car being repaired.

Our 30 employees are trained and ready to serve you. From sales to financing to repair and service, we’ll take care of you and your vehicles.

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Lube Oil and Filter up to 5 quarts Bring in this coupon or mention this ad. Tire Rotation All offers expire 8/15/2013 Multi Point Inspection *Oil changes up to 5 quarts, excludes synthetic and diesel.




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High Country Magazine


54 88 C O N T E N T S

22 100 Years of Caring for Children

Throughout its 100-year history, the Grandfather Home for Children in Banner Elk has adapted to the ever-changing needs of the children arriving at its doorstep.

32 Bloomin’ for 50 Years

For 50 years, the Daniel Boone Native Gardens has bloomed in Boone. Recently, the local treasure was rejuvenated by nearly 100 hours of volunteer labor for an Eagle Scout project.

54 ‘Swept Away’ by the River

While attending Appalachian State, Jeff Stanley, the founder of Wahoo’s Adventures, pondered careers in professional wrestling, law, medicine and education. But it was one of his first loves – the river – that played an instrumental part in his decision.

64 Soulful Art in Banner Elk

Chris Clark has fascinating tales of brushing up against stars of the art world in Aspen, Colorado, and New York. Clark opened the doors to Clark Gallery in Banner Elk in 2001.

64 32

Kirksey - A Legend of 72 Jerry Southern Gospel Music While never playing an instrument or singing and writing songs, Jerry Kirksey has become a legend of Southern Gospel. He spent more than 40 years as the editor-in-chief of Singing News, the printed voice of the genre that began in Boone.

88 Mining Memories - and Gems

Tourists and locals, alike, enjoy the experience of mining for gemstones in the High Country. Take a look at our guide of the local mines to see which one you should visit.




High Country Magazine

July 2013

on the cover: Frederica Georgia Frederica Georgia is one of the region’s most accomplished photographers, specializing in editorial, travel, portraiture and commercial photography. To view more of her work, click to Or visit www.


The first High Country Press newspaper was published on May 5, 2005, and the first issue of High Country Magazine went to press in fall 2005. In March of 2012, the newspaper made the transformation to an online newspaper at our new website: Our new “webpaper” is still packed with information that we present and package in easy-to-read formats with visually appealing layouts. Our magazine represents our shared love of our history, our landscape and our people. It celebrates our pioneers, our lifestyles, our differences and the remarkable advantages we enjoy living in the mountains. Our guiding principles are twofold: quality journalism makes a difference and customer care at every level is of the greatest importance. Our offices are located in downtown Boone, and our doors are always open to welcome visitors.


Our magazine is a wonderful way for businesses to advertise to our readers. Our magazines tend to stay around for a long time, on coffee tables and bed stands, and shared with family and friends. To find out about advertising, call our offices at 828-264-2262.


Back issues of our magazines are available from our office for $5 per issue. Some issues are already sold out and are no longer available.


Photography and page reprints are available for purchase. For sizing, prices and usage terms, please call our office. Some photos may not be available and some restrictions may apply.


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High Country Magazine



A Publication Of High Country Press Publications Editor & Publisher Ken Ketchie Art Director Debbie Carter Contributing Writers Chelsea Pardue Tim Gardner Madison Fisler Megan Hall

Sights of Summer


Ken Ketchie

ummer arrived right on time at my house. Dipping below the horizon that my backdoor faces, the summer solstice sunset occurred at exactly 8:32 p.m. – just like it does every year. Finally, this year’s lingering winter is in the rearview, and the sights of summer are refreshing to see. From watching the patches of dirt in the neighborhood gardens slowly sprout into fresh fruits and green vegetables to witnessing the mountain landscape explode with color from all sorts of wildflowers, the sights of summer are everywhere. While girls sporting their summer fashion is always a pleasure to see, I get a kick out of the sights of arms dangling out of windows of cars stuck in lines of traffic on a hot summer afternoon, trying to capture the cool mountain breeze. Also, it’s fun to catch a glimpse of golfers following their golf balls – or in some cases losing them – across the flawless fairways that are green and manicured. While driving around you see the occasional clotheslines of laundry flapping in the wind and screen doors that keep the bugs out and let the mountain air in, both are timeless reminders of summertime. This year, though, I rediscovered a summer scene I hadn’t noticed in some time. After viewing that sunset on the longest day of the year, I took a stroll down my shaded driveway to continue enjoying the cool mountain air. As my eyes adjusted to the darkness, the nearby roadway sparkled with what seemed like thousands of those amazing fireflies, turning the night into a sea of green flashing speckles. It was interesting to watch the ebb and flow of the flickering tiny lights and made me curious to know more. Reminiscent of a summer romance, the flashing pattern of green light that the firefly emits help in the search for potential mates, and for those curious, the signature glow that the winged beetles produces, according to National Geographic, is extremely efficient, occurring in a “dedicated light organ” beneath the abdomen of the firefly when oxygen is combined with the substance luciferin. But of the many summer sights that have been prevalent so far this summer, there is one that I have grown weary of, and that is the sight of all of this rain. For the month of June – from when summer officially arrived on June 21 to the last day of the month – it rained seven out of 10 days in Boone, and that is after the April showers stretched into May and June. So here’s wishing us a drier ending to this summer before it all becomes just a memory as we turn our sights to the colors of fall and the grays of winter. 12

High Country Magazine

July 2013

Liz Parker Virginia Roseman Contributing Photographers Todd Bush Jerry Sebastian Eitan Abramowitz Frederica Georgia Finance Manager Amanda Giles

SHARE WITH FRIENDS You can share our magazine with friends that are out of town by sending them to our website. Just click on “Magazine” in the Menu Bar and that will take you to our online magazine where you can flip through an issue online - just like you would with a printed copy. HIGH COUNTRY MAGAZINE P.O. Box 152, Boone, NC 28607 828-264-2262 Follow our magazine online where each issue is presented in a flip-through format. Check it out at: Reproduction or use in whole or part of the contents of this magazine without written permission of the publisher is prohibited. Issues are FREE throughout the High Country. © 2013 by High Country Press. All Rights Reserved.

Mast Store

July 2013

High Country Magazine


Calendarof Events JULY 2013 1-31

Lyle Lovett, July 27

Group Show, Blowing Rock Frameworks & Gallery, LTD, Blowing Rock 828-265-0041


Artist Reception, Blowing Rock Frameworks & Gallery, LTD, Blowing Rock, 828-265-0041


Outdoor Fireworks Concert: The Band Perry, Kidd Brewer Stadium, Boone, 828-262-4046


Ensemble Stage Presents: Mindgame, Blowing Rock School Auditorium, 828-414-1844



Independent Films From Around The World: The Other Son, Valborg Theater, ASU, 828-262-4046 Broyhill Chamber Ensemble: Reflections: Part Two,

Rosen Concert Hall, ASU, 828-262-4046 11-14


Grandfather Mountain 58th Annual Highland Games at McRae Meadows, 828-733-1333 Summer Concerts in the Park: Wolf Creek, Tate Evans Park, Banner Elk 828-898-8395


Concerts at the Jones House featuring David Childers and the New River Boys, Downtown Boone, 828-262-4576


Music on the Lawn, Worthless Son in Laws, The Best Cellar, Blowing Rock, 828-295-9703

12 12


Music in the Valle, featuring Midnight Sun,





TCVA Workshop: Children’s Camp, Turchin Center,

Independent Films From Around the World: No,



Valborg Theater, ASU, 828-262-4046 17-21



Watauga Humane Society Benefit featuring Morgan Bernard, Canyons, Blowing Rock, 828-265-7661 Tennessee Playboy: a Redneck Romance,




Sunday Music Series: Concert by Fire Pink Trio,



Poker Run, Watauga Humane Society, 828-264-7865 Summer Sunset Concert: Echo Park, Beech Alpen Pavilion, 828-387-2354



Mercantile, 828-387-4838


High Country Magazine

July 2013

Third Thursday: Eliot Angel Reprised: Winston Churchill, Blowing Rock art and History Museum, 828-265-9099

Concerts at the Jones House featuring The Mercury Dames and Todd Wright & Friends, Downtown Boone,


Music on the Lawn, Harris Brothers, The Best Cellar, Blowing Rock, 828-295-9703


Music in the Valle featuring The Mountain Laurels, Valle Crucis Community Park, 828-963-9239

Summer Sunday Concert: Joe Shannon and the Mountain Home Bluegrass Boys, The Gazebo at Fred’s

Summer Concerts in the Park: Party Prophets with Cindy Floyd, Tate Evans Park, Banner Elk, 828-898-8395 Idina Menzel with the Eastern Festival Orchestra, Schaefer Center for the Performing Arts, ASU, 828-262-4046

Spongebob Squarepants and Patrick Star at Tweetsie Railroad, Blowing Rock, 828- 264-9061 Family Day at the Turchin Center, Boone, 828-262-3017 12th Annual North Carolina Blackberry Festival, Blowing Rock Art and History Museum, 828-295-9099

Lees-McRae Summer Theater presents: 39 Steps, Lees-McRae, 828-898-5241

Downtown Lenoir, 828-726-0616

EMF Young Artists Orchestra: Peter and the Wolf, Rosen Concert Hall, ASU, 828-841-2787

Valle Crucis Community Park , 828-963-9239

Valborg Theater, ASU, 828-262-4046 12-14


Music on the Lawn, Worthless Son in Laws, The Best Cellar, Blowing Rock, 828-295-9703


TCVA Workshop: Photography in the Gallery Workshop, Turchin Center, 828-262-3017



39-Steps at LMC Starting on July 17, residents of the High Country can enjoy John Buchan’s “The 39 Steps” at Hayes Auditorium in Banner Elk. The performance is an active play for all ages. The production tells the story of a man who meets a mysterious woman and after she is

July 17









AUGUST 1 - 24 RECEPTION SATURDAY AUGUST 3, 6-8pm 828-898-5175 920 Shawneehaw Avenue, Hwy. 184, Banner Elk murdered, a strange organization is hot on his trail. The slapstick comedy is part of Lees McRae Summer Theater and is directed by Janet Speer. The play holds a small cast of four top notch actors and actresses. This play is one you should be sure not to miss!

Fine Arts and Master Crafts Festival

From July 19 through July 21, The Fine Arts and Mastercrafts Festival of Avery County will take place at the Historic Downtown Banner Elk Elementary School. This year, 85 artisans are ready to display their wares, from metal working, paintings, glass work, textiles and much more. There is something for everyone at this fantastic annual event.

Gabriel Ofiesh Trunk Show auGuST 29 - 31, 2013

July 19-21 | 828-898-4653 July 2013

High Country Magazine


Mary Chapin Carpenter, August 1


Grandfather Highland Games, July 11-14

The Education of a Good Picture Writer: Eric Carle,

Family Film Night: ET, Schaefer Center for the

BBQ Boot Camp, Sugar Mountain Resort, 828-898-4521 Bikes, Brews ‘n’ Views, Beech Mountain, 828-438-2093 22nd Annual Fine Arts and Master Crafts Festival,


Reich College of Education, ASU, 828-262-4046


19-21 19-21

Downtown Banner Elk, 828-898-5605


Todd Music Series featuring Eric Ellis, Cook Memorial Park, 336-877-5401




Boz Scaggs, Schaefer Center for the Performing Arts,

ASU, 828-262-4046 20-21

First Annual Health and Wellness Weekend, Buckeye

Recreation Center, Beech Mountain ,1-800-438-2093 20-28

K9’s in Flight - Frisbee Dogs, Tweetsie Railroad,



Summer Sunday Concert: The Cockman Family, The Gazebo at Fred’s Mercantile, 828-387-4838



21 22















Rosen-Schaffel Competition for Young & Emerging Artists, Rosen Concert Hall, ASU, 828-262-4046 Independent Films From Around the World: La Rafle, Schaefer Center for the Performing Arts, ASU, 828-262-4046

Broyhill Chamber Ensemble Reflections: Part Three, 30-8/4

Charity Horse Show, Hunter Jumper II, Blowing Rock

Equestrian Preserve, (828) 295-4700

Equestrian Preserve, (828) 295-4700


Broyhill Chamber Ensemble Reflections: Part Four,

Summer Concerts in the Park: Soul Benefactor,

Carolina Ballet: A Balachine Celebration featuring Rubies, Schaefer Center for the Performing Arts, ASU,

1 1


Concerts at the Jones House featuring Strictly Clean & Decent and Les Paul & Mary Ford Tribute with Tom & Sandy Doyle, Downtown Boone, 828-262-4576 Music on the Lawn, Soul Benefactor, The Best Cellar,


High Country Magazine

July 2013

An Acoustic Evening with Mary Chapin Carpenter and Shawn Colvin featuring special guest Suzanne Vega, The Schaefer Center for the Performing Arts , ASU, 828262-4046

Symphony by Chetola Lake, Chetola Resort,

Summer Concerts in the Park: Johnson Brothers, Tate Evans Park, Banner Elk, 828-898-8395


Blowing Rock, 828-295-5500 16

Summer Sunset Concert: Smokey Breeze, Beech Alpen Pavilion, 828-387-2354

Eastern Festival Orchestra, Schaefer Center for the Performing Arts, ASU, 828-262-4046

Blowing Rock, 828-295-9703

Summer Sunday Concert: Rebecca Eggers-Gryder with Amantha Mill, The Gazebo at Fred’s Mercantile, 828-387-4838

Tate Evans Park, Banner Elk, 828-898-8395

Ensemble Stage Presents: A Bench in the Sun, Blowing Rock School Auditorium, 828-414-1844

Rosen Concert Hall, ASU, 828-262-4046

Grandfather Mountain Campout Weekend, Mac Rae Meadows, 800-468-7325


TCVA Workshop: Creative Freedom through Intuitive Painting, Turchin Center, 828-262-3017 Charity Horse Show: Hunter Jumper I, Blowing Rock

An Evening with Lyle Lovett and His Acoustic Group,

Schaefer Center for the Performing Arts, ASU, 828-262-4046

Rosen Concert Hall, ASU, 828-262-4046

Bennette Rowan at Alta Vista Gallery, Valle Crucis,

828- 963-5247

Summer Sunset Concert: Shane Chalke BE Jazz, Beech Alpen Pavilion, 828-387-2354

Independent Films From Around the World: 11 Flowers, Schaefer Center for the Performing Arts, ASU,

828-262 4046

Blowing Rock, 828-264-9061

St. Mary Tour of Homes, St. Mary of the Hills Episcopal Church, (828) 295-7323

Ensemble Stage Presents: Marmalade Gumdrops, Blowing Rock School Auditorium, 828-414-1844

Music in the Valle featuring The Major Sevens, Valle Crucis Community Park, 828-963-9239

Performing Arts, ASU, 828-262-4046


Charity Horse Show, July 23-28 & July 30-Aug. 4

Concerts at the Jones House featuring Keith Ward, Elkville String Band featuring Wayne Henderson & Barefoot Movement, Downtown Boone, 828-262-4576 Music in the Valle featuring Down River, Valle Crucis Community Park, 828-963-9239


Art and Antiques Show, Blowing Rock Art and History

Museum, 828-265-9099


Sugar Brew, Sugar Mountain Resort, 1-800-Sugar-MT



CARLTON GALLERY Celebrating 31Years

Bikes, Brews ‘n’ Views The ever-popular Beech Mountain Bikes, Brews ‘n’ Views will be expanding into a threeday weekend of exciting events, starting on Friday, July 19. The centerpoint, as always, will be the beer festival on July 20 held in conjunction with a dual slalom mountain bike competition.

Approaching the Edge of Color

July 19-21

Andrew Braitman continues through July 21

Outside In and Inside Out - Soul Expressions

Toni Carlton & Michael Grady July 27 - August 21, Opening Reception July 27, 2-5pm

Mid-Summer Group Exhibition July 27 - September 24 Opening Reception July 27, 2-5pm

PAINTINGS • CLAY • GLASS • SCULPTURE • WOOD • FIBER ART • JEWELRY Located 10 Miles South of Boone on Hwy. 105 Grandfather Community

Symphony by Chetola Lake on a Friday Evening

22nd Annual

New this year is a beer contest, judged by the patrons, that will decide which beer will be highlighted during the 2013-14 ski season at Beech Mountain Resort. With kids activities and much more, Bikes, Brews ‘n’ Views is a fun long weekend for the entire family to enjoy.

TUESDAY-SATURDAY 10:00-5:00 • SUNDAY 11:00-5:00 8 2 8 - 9 6 3 - 4 2 8 8 • Call or check our website for workshop dates •

On the lawn of historic downtown Banner Elk Elementary School

At this much-anticipated annual event, enjoy an evening under the stars by the scenic Chetola Lake at Chetola Resort with the Symphony of the Mountains on Friday, July 26. At 7:30 p.m., enjoy fantastic live music in an unforgettable atmosphere, capping off the evening with a breathtaking fireworks display at the end of the night. Choose between a picnic on the lawn, a pre-symphony buffet at Timberlake’s Restaurant or Symphony Dinner on the Patio.

July 26

July 19, 20 & 21

Friday 4-8, Saturday 10-5, Sunday 10-4

August 16, 17 & 18

Friday 4-8, Saturday 10-5, Sunday 10-4

This is one art festival you won’t want to miss. 85 artisans presenting their handcrafted Fine Art and Masterfully Crafted mediums for those with discriminating taste, and art for the whimsical in all of us! — Free Family Event | Food & Music — Sponsored by The Avery County Chamber of Commerce 828-898-5605 | July 2013

High Country Magazine




Newland Celebrates 100 Years of Heritage and History This Summer


n July 5 and 6, Newland celebrated 100 years as a town and the highest county seat east of the Rockies in elevation. Once a flat and desolate plot of land, Newland is now full of rich heritage and history, with stories of daring men fighting off wildlife in the newly assembled town, a bank robbery in the 1940’s that made national headlines, the destructive flood of 1940 and two town-wide fires in 1941 and 1961. The two-day festival to celebrate Newland’s 100th birthday kicked off Friday, July 5 with a performance by the popular musical group, The Tams, and a fireworks display. On Saturday, July 6, the celebration continued with inflatable bounce houses and activities for children, food, local “celebrities” and a civil war reenactment. Hot on the heels of Avery County’s community-wide centennial celebration, Newland Centennial Committee chairperson David Calvert explained how Newland aimed for a more heritage-oriented celebration. Attendees learned the history of the area, how far their own family extends throughout west-

ern NC and more about the buildings and businesses that helped form Newland as a town. The county seat boasts a deep-rooted history that extends to July 1, 1911, when the Old Fields of Toe were up for consideration to be established as the town of Newland. On this date, an election was held provide a new county seat in order to make it easier on resi-

dents of Avery County who previously had to travel to Boone, Bakersville or Lenoir to register to vote, register for the draft, pay county taxes and record wills or deeds. The town was named after William Calhoun Newland, a full supporter of establishing the town and Lieu-

Regionally-acclaimed Artist Bennette Rowan Will Be at Alta Vista Gallery in Valle Crucis


n July 27, regionally-acclaimed artist Bennette Rowan will be at Alta Vista Gallery in Valle Crucis, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., showing 17 new oils. This artist reception, which is open to the public, features the theme “Becoming One with Nature” and includes subjects such as deer eating from an apple tree, fox kits playing, a woman in her flower garden, a hiker in the forest, summer flowers, bears, and a horseback rider admiring a mountain view. The new oils feature Rowan’s signature bold color palette and gestural, painterly strokes, and sizes from 6x6 inches to 30x40 inches. Rowan is a Master Gardener and lover of all plants and animals, so she feels that her theme of “Becoming One with Nature” is an important lesson we can all learn. Alta Vista Gallery shows over 100 artists in oils, watercolors, pastels, and prints, as well as stained glass, fused glass, jewelry, art tiles, and Mangum Pottery. The gallery is located in a National Register historic farmhouse at 2839 Broadstone Road, Valle Crucis — between Mast Farm Inn and Mast Store Annex. View map/directions at, or call the gallery at (828) 963-5247. Artist receptions are held on every 4th Saturday, June through October. These events are free and open to the public, and refreshments include tastes from Shelton Vineyards. 18

High Country Magazine

July 2013

tenant Governor at the time. Two years later, R.W. Wall was appointed mayor. Construction for a jail and courthouse began immediately while stores and businesses came into the area. The first store was C.L. Hughes and it sold everything a person needed at the time: hardware, nails, clothing, groceries and furniture. Jimmie Daniels, a resident of Newland since 1951 and historian of the area lived in the county jail with her father, the jailer for Avery County, and her family. “I lived there for about six years. I was a teenager, so at the time I didn’t think anything about it, but I think it helped shape who I am,” Daniels said. “I saw things I made sure I was never a part of.” For a town that once started with one house residing inside its border, the town has developed to a steady and growing population. For more information no the detailed history of Newland, click to, or contact Jimmie Daniels at By Mariel Gambino

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High Country Magazine




Abingdon’s Broadway off-Broadway Closes Virginia’s Highlands Festival


unday, August 11 is the last opportunity to see Broadway without the hassle. That’s the day – beginning at 3 p.m. – when Abingdon’s Barter Theatre’s production of “Les Misérables” ends its summer run during the renowned theatre’s 80th anniversary year.

The same event signals the end of the celebrated Virginia Highlands Festival, which begins August 2. This “Best Art Event” in that region celebrates its 65th anniversary in 2013 and it offers activities and entertainment for the whole family. A huge antiques market and an award-winning juried arts and crafts show anchor all the activities which include live music, historical re-enactments, fine art and photography competitions, creative writing workshops, home and garden tours, guided nature hikes, and numerous activities for kids. All this takes

place every year just 52 miles on the other side of the mountains and a couple of state lines from Boone. This year for the first time, the Festival features a live radio broadcast each morning, nightly entertainment throughout the week, and a huge opening rock concert to benefit Festival programs. For more information on the Virginia Highlands Festival, call 276-623-5266 or click to For Barter Theatre tickets phone 276628-3991 or click to www.BarterTheatre. com. By Bernadette Cahill

Brewin’ up a Smile in Blowing Rock, Blowing Rock Ale Opens A Brewery


ith the feel of an English pub and the mood of a French bistro, the Blowing Rock Ale House and Inn recently opened its doors a block from the downtown strip on Main Street. Formerly the Maple Lodge, a historic bed and breakfast that was built in the ‘40s, the renovated Blowing Rock Ale House and Inn is a joint venture between Lisa Stripling and Rob Dyer, owners of The Inn at Ragged Gardens, which features the Best Cellar Restaurant, and Jeff Walker and Todd Rice of the Blowing Rock Brewing Company. For Walker and Rice, the Ale House and Inn is a culmination of sorts of a journey that began more than five years ago when the two decided to dive into the craft-beer industry. To solidify its brand and to accommodate hundreds of large-scale commercial accounts across the region, the brewing company contracted with a brewer in Pennsylvania to mass produce and bottle its award-winning recipes. 20

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But all along, Walker and Rice knew that they would eventually brew stouts, porters, ales and pilsners in the High Country. Ray Hodge, who has a long history as a trailblazing brewer, is currently using BRBC’s equipment and recipes in Lenoir until the company receives its fed-

eral brewing permit in August. Once that arrives, BRBC will craft its beer in the backroom of the Blowing Rock Ale House and Inn, which also features

eight bedrooms in one section, and, of course, the kitchen and bar in another area that features a European-style parlor room shaped like a horseshoe for larger groups and aesthetic copper bars built by local silversmith Gaines Kiker. Eight beers are on draft currently, and Rice said they are building up to have 12 beers rotating to fit the seasons. Also, the menu, crafted by chefs Erick and Jenny Virt, is stocked with local, seasonal and organic ingredients for its appetizers, entrees and desserts. The Blowing Rock Ale House and Inn, which is located at 152 Sunset Drive, is now open for lunch and dinner from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. all days of the week except for Wednesday. For more information, click to www. To reach the Inn, call 828-414-9254. To reach the Ale House, call 828-414-9600. By Jesse Wood

Randy Bigbee Addresses the Declining Bee Population


he population of the essential honeybee species is on the decline both nationally and locally. With this in mind, Moravian Falls local Randy Bigbee now offers his unique capture boxes, which offer a nesting place for native bees that can’t otherwise find one. Bigbee of Native Bees NC believes the decline of the honeybee may be caused by pesticides and chemicals used in modern farming and gardening. He proposes that these chemicals make the bees sick, reaping the nutrition that bees are supposed to receive from plants. Bigbee encourages gardeners to nest the efficient native bee in their backyard to supplement the bee population. There are two types of bees: the honeybee, and the native bee. Three species of native bees are found in Watauga County: blue orchard, hornface and leafcutter. Much of our food supply is produced with the help of pollinators such as butterflies and bees. Without bees, we could be facing an eminent food crisis. “Native bees are much more efficient cross pollinators, because they have hair, but honeybees do not,” Bigbee said. “It takes 250 mason bees, or 30,000 honey bees, to pollinate one acre.” Unlike honeybees, which are stationed to protect the queen and nectar, native bees are temperate and mind their own “beeswax.” Their job is to pollinate and lay eggs rather than to protect. Native bee nests are easy to use, affordable and available online through Native Bees NC ( Bigbee revolutionized native bee nests by introducing his re-usable, organic bamboo nesting tubes. He is also available to assist you in any step in the nesting process and can be reached at 336-838-3889. By using better products, cutting out pesticides and raising these bees personally, our community can make an impact on the local environment, food production and economy. By Erika Giovanetti

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July 2013

The Child Now Before Us One Hundred Years of Celebrating Courage, Healing and Hope By Liz Parker


n the first years of the 20th century, a young Presbyterian minister, Reverend Edgar Tufts, founded three much needed ministries in the mountain area of Banner Elk: Lees-McRae College, Grace Hospital and an Grandfather Orphanage. In May 1914, he established the Grandfather Orphan’s Home by a renovating a farmhouse. John and Mattie Holcomb served as the first house parents, helping to fulfill Reverend Tufts’ vision of shelter, food, education and religious training, all within the framework of a family setting. Reverend Tufts recruited Christian doctors, nurses, teachers and others to work with him, giving them the freedom to pioneer in their respective fields.

“At the home I had ‘Mama’ and ‘Daddy”’ Holcomb. I learned to read and write and how to can and do all kinds of stuff. I lived there seven years, and I thank the Lord for letting me go there.” Emma (1915-1921) FAR RIGHT PHOTO: Grandfather Home’s main campus in Banner Elk is named after two of the ministry’s most steadfast supporters, the late Robert and Mariam Cannon Hayes. Because of support from people like the Hayes, the ministry has been able to help children like the boys photographed at right for 100 years. The photograph at right was taken on Grandfather Home’s campus in the 1930s. July 2013

High Country Magazine


Reverend Edgar Tufts (below) founded Grandfather Orphanage in 1914. To the right are a few early snapshots of life for the children at the home in the early 20th century.


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July 2013

In October 1943, the name changed to Grandfather Home for Children. Grandfather Home served almost to 100 children. Those children attended area high schools and the purpose of the ministry remained: to provide a Christian home and family life for those children who couldn’t live with their own families. This mission continued through the 1950s, when a new trend emerged: half of the children coming into care were coming from broken homes.

“I believe that Otts Smith was the best farmer in the world. There was absolutely nothing he couldn’t do … he was always good to us boys … the nearest thing to a father I ever had.” Bill, (1933-1943) In the 1960s, most of the children arriving at Grandfather Home were from broken homes and abusive environments. As the decade progressed, more and more children came into care due to abuse and neglect. “The child now before us” was changing. Professional staff and social workers were hired, and treatment programs began that focused on helping children heal. In the 1970s, more changes were needed. The 1972 Statement of Purpose read: “To make every possible effort to reunite the child with his natural family. As such, the Home is primarily family centered, and its aim is reconciliation of families.” To achieve these changes, the number of children within the cottages needed to be lowered, and the length of stay of each child needed to be reduced. This was an emotionally difficult transition, but with so many children who needed special treatment for their abuse and trauma, this became the new focus. At this time, group and individual counseling were provided to those who needed the most attention. By the 1980s, Grandfather Home updated its mission to serve a different population. The young people arriving at the Home were weighed down with personal issues from past abuse that were not being addressed by conventional methods. They were arriving as victims of severe abuse, and their main defense was disruptive behavior. At this time, the Home again changed the focus to specialize in helping abused children. The goal became to restore emotional health and to ensure a safe family situation.

“Before I came to Grandfather at age 14, I had already been in serious trouble. Between the ages of six and eleven, I was in serious trouble all the time, mostly from shoplifting. When I was eleven, I stole a jeep … My mother put me up for adoption, and that hurt me more than anything she had ever done to me. Without a doubt, I’d be in prison today, instead of enjoying a normal life, if I had not been put in Grandfather Home. They absolutely forced me to talk July 2013

High Country Magazine


Grandfather Academy is a North Carolina public charter school on Grandfather Home’s Hayes Campus in Banner Elk. The school was established in the early 1990s to meet the educational needs of the children in the ministry’s residential program.

about my problems. No matter what I did – tore up my school books, ran away, hit people – they kept hanging on to me and even saying they loved me! When I finally let it out and let go of some of my anger, I started to grow up.’ Alex (1980s) As the outside world changed, Grandfather Home also changed. In the 1990s, family reunification with safe biological family members was the goal. Due to the behavioral challenges of most of the children living on the campus, a campus school, Grandfather Academy, was built. This school was one of the original North Carolina charter schools. To continue the healing of families, the Keener Family Support Center was built, a state-of-theart center for family counseling. In 1990, Grandfather Home sought and received its first four-year accreditation by the Council on Accreditation of Services to Family and Children (COA), which assures the best standards of care. 26

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“I would be in prison right now if I had not come to Grandfather Home. When I came here, I was ready to hurt anybody. When I left I was totally different…Now I feel like I can handle anything that comes.” Jimmy, (1997) The twenty-first century saw the expansion of programming and the creation of the Continuum of Care. The philosophy was to develop new services in new places that could serve more children. Foster family and therapeutic foster care were offered. Beginning with an office in Asheville, these programs expanded to offices in Charlotte, Waynesville, WinstonSalem, Raleigh and Fayetteville. This enabled children to progress through the various levels of mental health to reunification or into adoption. In 2006, Grandfather Home for Children received the coveted Ernest Codman Award from the Joint Commission, a national award for excellence in the field of mental health, of which, only two where given. In 2011, Grandfather Home reached an all-time

high of serving 300 children per day and in 2012 completed its 200th adoption. The true story of Grandfather Home is not the beautiful campus location, or the buildings, but the children that have been served, those being served and those yet to come. Ada Phillips is the oldest living alumnae of Grandfather Orphan’s Home. Ada was born in 1921 in Watauga County. Her mother became ill and died shortly after the birth of her brother, Charles. A cousin took baby Charles, but Ada’s father was left with five little girls: Dora, Dot, Edna, Ada and Nellie Mae. Unable to care for them, Ada’s father loaded them onto a train and headed for Grandfather Orphan’s Home.

Ada lived at the Home for 12 years. She describes her childhood as happy, and vividly remembers Miss Anne singing and Miss Russell knitting. Playing outside and exploring the mountains were her greatest joys. “It was a good life,” she explained.

Ada and her sister grew up at Grandfather Orphanage in the 1920s and 1930s. Now, Ada lives in western North Carolina and is a very active member of her community.

July 2013

High Country Magazine


In 1938, Ada left the Home to continue her education at one of our children as she graduated college. Britney came from a background filled with domestic vioLees-McRae Institute, graduating in 1940. Not far from home, she and her sisters often had walked along the path connecting lence and instability. Her mother abandoned her at a domestic violence shelter at the age of 17. the orphanage to the school. Ada seWhen Britney came into Grandfather cured a job with the Hanes Knitting Home foster care, she was abusing Company. She said, “I think I made drugs and alcohol. She had only finfourteen dollars per week. I worked ished tenth grade and had no desire hard and wanted all the seams to be to go back to school. Engaging in perfect.” behaviors that posed significant risks Now 92 years old, she enjoys to her health and future, Britney was Tai Chi, Pilates, aqua fit, line dancwithout plans or hope. ing and ballroom dancing. She still A foster family welcomed Britney loves to knit and explore the great into their home without judgment and outdoors. Ada summarizes her life at accepted her with open hearts and Grandfather Orphan’s Home as “just open arms. They taught her about good country living.” the Lord and she became highly inThe Grandfather Home ministry volved in her church. With her new has sustained children in need for found faith and the parental support 100 years. It has refocused to provide of her foster parents, Britney began help and healing to a changing popufacing her past actions and how they lation of children during this century. affected her and those around her. She From orphanage, to children’s home, Britney is a former foster child under the care of stopped using drugs and alcohol and residential treatment center, charter Grandfather Home for Children. She is now married, even stopped smoking cigarettes. She school, foster care and adoptions, decided that she wanted to not only the ministry has remained true to its the mother of a beautiful little girl, and a proud go back to school, but also wanted mission of serving children in need. member of Appalachian State’s class of 2013. to graduate with her class. This reThis past May, we have rejoiced with

Photo by Todd Bush 28

High Country Magazine

July 2013

quired fortitude and determination and a very heavy class load. Britney did just that! She not only graduated with her class but graduated as class valedictorian. She was awarded a full scholarship to Appalachian State University.

Though there were times when Britney questioned her ability to withstand the stress and pressure, she graduated this May. “I know that when things get rough, I can make it through,” she stated. As Grandfather Home for Children faces the next 100 years, we realize the difficulty facing our young people as they leave the child welfare system. These young people have no family support and lack the skills to be successful young adults. Their futures are often bleak: 50 percent will not graduate high school; more than 50 percent will be homeless; 30 percent will be incarcerated and more than 60 percent will be unemployed. A new initiative for the next century of service is our Stand by Me program, to prepare these young people for life; to help them beat the odds. Here is the story of one of the young people, Melinda, who is one of the first being served by this new initiative:

Despite a past filled with unimaginable abuse and neglect, Melinda has thrived with the care of a Grandfather Home foster family. She graduated from high school last month, and will begin taking college classes this summer at a four-year university.


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Photo by Todd Bush From the development of new programs, the construction of new facilities and countless children served, a lot has changed at Grandfather Home for Children over the past century. One thing that has remained the same, however, is the ministry’s mission to meet the needs of the child now before us. It’s a constantly moving target to continue meeting children’s changing needs, but with the continued support and prayers from the community, Grandfather Home for Children looks to continue serving children in need for at least another 100 years.


High Country Magazine

July 2013

Melinda’s mother had been through several marriages and relationships which put her children at risk for abuse. Melinda watched over her younger siblings, fearful that her mother, who abused prescription drugs and alcohol, her step-fathers and their friends, would harm them. “My worst fear finally came true,” she explains. “I was raped by a friend of my mom’s about every day for about six months.” This friend was 17 years old; Melinda was only 12. “I do not remember a time in my life when I was not physically abused and neglected by my mother and husbands, along with her friends.” When Melinda and her siblings were left along overnight, a neighbor called the Department of Social Services. Placed in the home of her brother’s Dad, the children were physically abused on a daily basis, leaving bruises all over their bodies. Melinda told a friend, who told a counselor at the school. Melinda and her brother were placed in foster care. After multiple placements, Melinda came to Grandfather Home. Making school a priority, she earned A’s and B’s, which gained her acceptance to numerous colleges and universities. She will be taking summer classes and attending a four-year university, pursuing a career in education.

“Grandfather Home has helped me in more ways that I can even begin to express. They have always been there for me….not only financially supported me, but also mentally and emotionally. Without Grandfather Home, I would not be able to visit and apply to colleges. The staff has helped and supported me throughout the years. I am thankful for all of their help and all of the time they put into me.” Melinda Jim Swinkola has been the CEO of Grandfather Home for Children for 32 years; “We are humbled by the celebration of our 100th year. We are grateful for all of the children we have cared for, our generous donors, incredible church support, dedicated staff, committed trustees, faithful foster families and God’s blessings on our m inistry”. To find out more about our ministry, how you can partner with us or about our Centennial Celebration, visit us on the web at or contact us at 828-898-5465. 



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The Daniel Boone Native Gardens 32

High Country Magazine

July 2013

Photo by Frederica Georgia

50 Years of a Local Treasure Eagle Scout Continues Work Started by Great-Grandmother in 1963

By Madison V. Fisler


Eliot Payne, his grandfather, John Payne and his mother, Cinda Payne-Smith stand at the gatehouse of the Daniel Boone Native Gardens. Photo by Madison V. Fisler

f you venture down far enough through the three acres of the Daniel Boone Native Gardens, following the pathway through the trees, creeks and brambles, you will discover one of the best-kept secrets of the gardens, the Rhododendron Thicket. This beautiful and hidden gem within the gardens has just recently been uncovered anew after being almost inaccessible to visitors for a number of years. Fifteen-year-old Boone native Eliot Smith cleared the 100-yard trail loop that surrounds the Rhododendron thicket, which for years had been almost too narrow and overgrown to traverse. For his Eagle Scout project, the teenager spent close to 100 hours working with his team to clear away brush, remove rocks, replant trees and saplings and finally succeeded in his mission of redefining a trail which was once well kept and had since fallen into disrepair since the gardens first opened to the public 50 years ago. Without the use of power tools, Eliot and his team worked tirelessly throughout the month of May to bring the trail back to its previous glory so that the rest of the community might have a chance to enjoy its beauty. Half a century before Eliot walked this trail, his great-grandmother cared for the very same path, along with the rest of the sprawling gardens while creating a new place for the local community to gather and enjoy. You see, 50 years before Eliot started work clearing the trail, his greatgrandmother was part of the team that brought the dream of the Daniel Boone Native Gardens to life. Boone local Ellen Payne, along with many members of the North Carolina Garden Club, creJuly 2013

High Country Magazine


“50 years ago, people set aside this little piece of town to be preserved and enjoyed. It is such a special place, beauty can really be counted on here.” – Rebecca Kaenzig Members of the Garden Club at the future site of the Daniel Boone Native Gardens. “Back then, everyone had dresses for gardening. Nobody wore pants! They just worked in what they had on.” – Emily Stallings, whose mother-in-law, Constance Stallings is pictured on page 39. ated this mesmerizing High Country oasis in 1963 with the vision of bringing all of the native plants of western North Carolina into one place for the public to learn about and enjoy. “For my mother, it was a labor of love,” said John Payne, Ellen Payne’s son, who can recall spending a lot of time with his mother in the gardens, and in turn his own children practicing their own green thumb. And service to the gardens has been a family affair for generations. “The gardens kind of run in the family,” said Eliot Smith. “My great-grandmother in the beginning, then my grandfather, then my mother and now me.” And indeed, the same undeniable passion that started the Daniel Boone Native Gardens so many years ago has been an inspiration for visitors and locals alike for generations. Eliot’s mother, Cinda Payne-Smith recalls spending many of her days in the Gardens with her friends and siblings helping to maintain it’s rare beauty as junior gardeners. Reflecting back on her time spent in the gardens, she is amazed at how much the gardens have changed, and stayed the same all at once since its humble beginnings. On March 13, 1961, the North Carolina Garden Club and the local Boone Garden Club first broke ground on the project, which was first conceived by landscape architect H. Stuart Ortloff a few years before in 1957. An 8-acre tract of land beside the Horn in the West outdoor drama site was leased from the town of Boone for $1 a year, for a period of 49 years in order to make space for the project. Finally, after years of construction and dedicated hard work from many people involved, the Gardens were dedicated on June 29, 1963. 34

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Aside from many species of native plants, the Daniel Boone Native Gardens are also home to many species of native birds and native insects, which all contribute to help the Gardens thrive. Photo by Frederica Georgia. “Originally, there were lots of plans for what to make the Gardens,” said Emily Stallings, whose mother-in-law, Constance Stallings, was instrumental in the founding of the Gardens. “A lot of people wanted it to be an Elizabethan style gardens, however, it went in a more native direction.” Fifty years ago, the Gardens and the people who cared for them looked very different than they do today. “Back then, everyone had dresses for gardening,” Stallings said. “Nobody wore pants! They just worked in what they had on.” Half a century later, through all of the changes that the Gardens have undertaken over the many years of its existence, they still retain much of the integrity of the original plan. In 1963, a gatehouse was added to the Gardens, which greets visitors at the entrace to the Gardens to this day. The gatehouse was constructed from stones found locally in the area to bring to the Gardens the beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The birdbath was added in 1964 when junior gardeners throughout the state decided to collect nickels and dimes to pay for the donation of the birdbath. In 1973, a fernery was added when a two-acre plot was

The gatehouse as it stood upon completion in 1963, and as it stands today. July 2013

High Country Magazine


Pictured Left to Right: Pat Wilkie, Dianne Dougherty, Rebecca Kaenzig and Emmy Stallings. These women, and those who work alongside them, are the heart and driving force behind the Daniel Boone Native Gardens. Photo by Frederica Georgia

“One of the purposes of these Gardens is education. It gives people an opportunity to see native plants without venturing too far away.” – Diane Dougherty leased to the Garden Club. Today where the fernery once was stands benches and a scenic observation gazebo. Not far into the Gardens themselves you can find the Squire Boone Cabin, which was placed within the area to honor Daniel Boone’s father. Behind the cabin you can find a meditation maze and a statue of St. Francis of Assisi. In 1992, a bog garden was added where the reflecting pool once stood. Finally, in 1996 the pickin’ porch was added to the scenery to bring in the idea of mountain folk hospitality and bring people back to the days where families and neighbors would gather on the porch and relax together at the end of a long day. 36

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To this day, the Gardens operate entirely on donations and volunteer efforts to keep the original dream alive. On any given day, one can find numerous workers weeding, clearing brush, moving mulch and any other tasks of routine maintenance. The Gardens are a beloved institution to the tiny community of Boone, and their constant upkeep is vital to the continuance of the institution. “We have a fantastic core of volunteers who helps us do most of the maintenance,” said Rebecca Kaenzig, chairman of the board of governors at the Daniel Boone Native Gardens. “But there is so much to do. Weeding and taking care of the plants is just one

small part of it. We can use volunteers from every walk of life and with any background. And we need them.” “The Gardens are always an ongoing process,” said Dianne Dougherty, recording secretary on the board of governors whose Mother in law, Grace Dougherty, participated in the first planting in the Gardens. “Once we pulled up all of the weeds, we started a process of regrowth last summer,” Dougherty said. “It’s all part of the preservation process.” Last year, the Gardens operated on a budget of $17,000, 75 percent of which was donations from the community. That money goes toward maintaining the gar-

The ponds and creeks at the Daniel Boone Native Gardens are home to many aquatic species of plants and insects. Photo by Frederica Georgia

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The iconic cherry tree, known as the Wedding Tree, was established as the center focal point of the gardens and stood from opening day until it was removed due to disease in 2005. dens, paying for repairs and staffing fees. “When we started the Garden Club we were all younger and a bit more spry,” Kaenzig said. “Now we are in need of strong backs to help us keep the Gardens up.” This year, members of the Appalachian State University football team are helping out the gardens by volunteering their time to devote to the cause. “We had some linebackers out here recently in the rain and the mud,” Kaenzig said. “They have been such a great help, and we would love to see more students come out like them. The gardens belong to

them too.” Fifty years later, what began as a project to beautify the Boone area and provide a place to learn about and enjoy plants has become much more than that to many residents and visitors alike. The scenic backdrop of the Gardens has proven to be a favorite spot for weddings and vow renewals, and picnickers can be spotted well after the summer months fade into fall. It also serves as a meditative sanctuary for outdoor yoga, as well as a peaceful spot for prayer. Still others come on sunny days to enjoy their lunch hour in a bench in the shade

The Flame Azalea, one of the many plants in the Rhododendron family that call the Daniel Boone Native Gardens home. Photo by Madison V. Fisler

Loans subject to credit approval. 38

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July 2013

ABOVE: Garden Club members, visitors and Boone residents eagerly descend the stone staircase at the Daniel Boone Native Gardens through the front gate on opening day to view the completed gardens for the first time. RIGHT: Constance Stallings, who was an integral part in the first planting of the gardens, stands proudly in front of the gates.

July 2013

High Country Magazine


On Saturday mornings during the summer, visitors to the Daniel Boone Native Gardens can follow the signs to find free yoga classes taught within the Gardens themselves. These free classes are sponsored by the Neighborhood Karma Krew, a local nonprofit organization. Under the supervision of local expert yoga instructors, visitors can indulge themselves in this relaxing activity in the beautiful, picturesque scenery of the Gardens, surrounded by native plants, native birds and the sounds of nature and have a chance to center themselves in a beautiful place within the community. The yoga classes themselves are free, however, a $2 donation to the Gardens is suggested upon entering. Photos by Frederica Georgia. 40

High Country Magazine

July 2013

of a towering tree, while on many days the Gardens host photography classes, art lectures and many other events to enrich the community. The Gardens have truly become part of the community, and a part of it that many cannot think of going without. In addition, the Gardens have proven to be an essential educational resource for the community. “One of the purposes of these Gardens is education,” said Dougherty. “It gives people an opportunity to see native plants without venturing too far away. We want to develop and expend the educational aspect some more, and have more school groups come to learn, as this is one of only three state gardens in North Carolina.” What began as an educational idea bloomed into a beautiful sanctuary for the entire community to enjoy. “This really was a local effort,” Dougherty said. “It has taken a lot of commitment to make this a historical and cultural asset for the community.” Throughout the past 50 years of its existence, the Gardens have also added yet another item to their goals. “It is very important to us to be sustainable,” Kaenzig said. “That means no chemicals at all. We are looking for ways to work on things naturally, like pest prevention and water flow. There are just so many opportunities for students to help us here, and we are hopeful that they will.” To celebrate the 50th Birthday of this remarkable high country treasure, the Daniel Boone Native Gardens are throwing a birthday party celebration for the community to come out and enjoy the Gardens while at the same time truly appreciate what goes into keeping the Gardens alive. The birthday party will be a celebration of the Gar-


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dens, with a special emphasis on those who have been married in the gardens. The entire community is invited to come out and enjoy. “50 years ago, people set aside this little piece of town to be preserved and enjoyed,” Kaenzig said. “It is such a special place, beauty can really be counted on here.” Half a century after the Daniel Boone Native Gardens were dedicated to the town by a handful of hardworking, talented and dedicated individuals, the dream that began in 1963 still rings true for anyone who has the fortune of visiting its beauty. Even still, the rustic natural beauty of the Gardens can bring one back 50 years to a time when the days were simpler, the nights more peaceful, and the thought of the golden anniversary was still far from the minds of the creators. t

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Marinated and grilled with mushroom salsa and choice of salad and side Carolina flounder, natural cut fries, Chef’s tarter sauce, malt vinegar, choice of salad

Tri-color Fusilli Pasta .........16.00

Marinated and grilled with lamb demi glaze and choice of salad and side

Cold with zucchini, squash, broccoli, black olives, tomatoes, with sherry vinaigrette with cup of gazpacho

Shrimp and Italian Grits ...19.95

Tigatoni with Chicken ........ 16.95

Pan seared jumbo shrimp, polenta, parmesan, lime juice and choice of salad

Grilled breast of chicken tossed with seasonal vegetables in a light tomato-herb sauce and choice of salad

CAFÉ PORTOFINO BOONE. For a lovely night out with the family or a fantastic evening on the town, look no further than Cafe Portofino. Café Portofino offers a casual atmosphere and truly 5-star dining. Located on Rivers Street, the self-described “Garlic House” menu is a creative mix of Thai, Eurasian and Italian influences. Enjoy daily culinary specials and fresh seafood every day. An eclectic blend of sandwiches, pastas and more, Cafe Portofino

Tuesday Happy Hour Complimentary Appetizer from 6 - 7 PM

Outdoor Seating Available!

Wednesday Wine Down 50% Off All Wine Bottles | 828.414.9230 9329 Valley Boulevard, Blowing Rock July 2013

High Country Magazine


historic valle Crucis across from the Mast general Store




1 Farmho 6 8 1 e u

Restaurant & Winery Unforgettable Meals...Award-Winning Wines Casual Outdoor Dining Available lUnCh, DInnEr & WInE tAStIngS EvErY DAY In jUlY!


has something for everyone. For after-hours entertainment, check out the adjoining taproom featuring billiards and darts, and try out one of fifty bottle and draft beers from around the world. Don’t forget to stop by on Wednesday nights for trivia, prizes and drink specials every week. Tuesday features half-price bottles of house wine, and kids under ten eat free on Wednesdays with the purchase of an adult entree. n 828-264-7772. See ad on page 45


SEE MEnUS & rEgUl A r SChEDUlE At:


828-963- 6301

B est V iew in B oone.

Open to the Public. All ABC Permits ed at Locatone Bo lub Golf C

Blowing Rock. Located just off of the scenic, winding highway 321 in Blowing Rock, this historic restaurant and bar is well known all over the High Country for its spectacular and breathtaking views of the Blue Ridge Mountains, its scrumptious southwestern choices and unique takes on ordinary American eats. All dishes on the menu are freshly prepared in house with the finest ingredients available. Canyons in Blowing Rock regularly offers a wide variety of seasonally fresh items, so ask about the fantastic nightly specials in addition to the daily menu selections. Every Sunday, enjoy a delicious brunch accompanied by live jazz music. Canyons also offers a diverse selection of domestic and imported wines and a large selection of beers chosen to complement the items on the menu. n 828-295-7661. www.CanyonsBR. com. See ad on page 49


Serving BreakfaSt & Lunch 7 dayS a week We also do Private Parties & events • 828.264.0233 Operating hours are during golf course operating season

Monday-Sunday: 10:30am- 3:00pm (Hours may change due to inclement weather)


High Country Magazine

July 2013

BOONE. Conveniently located right off of Highway 105, Casa Rustica offers some of the finest Northern Italian-American cuisine in the High Country accentuated by a cozy, fireside atmosphere. Dishes on the menu from the crisp salads to the scrumptious pastas are adapted from old family recipes that have been handed down for generations. The chefs and owners at Casa Rustica are also committed to offering local beef in their cuisine and proudly offer homestyle meals made with love and meticulous care. Casa Rustica’s extensive wine list is updated every 30 days to include interesting vintages and new organics for guests to try. Enjoy live jazz every


Thursday night and classical guitar every Sunday. The restaurant also features a full bar and fantastic drink selections to delight even the pickiest patron. n 828-2625128. See ad on page 46

Char modern american restaurant BOONE. char ... where New York City meets the Blue Ridge Mountains! A unique, contemporary bistro located in downtown Boone, offering diverse, creative and delectable brunch, lunch and dinner cuisine in a warm, open, cosmopolitan setting. char also features a covered deck and a sleek modern bar. Sample some of their distinctive modern American cuisine including signature dishes including the famous Low Country Shrimp & Grits, the delicious Angus hand-cut Ribeye Steak the refreshing Turkey & Brie Sandwich and the local favorite Grilled Tilapia Fish Tacos. Nightly Entertainment. Come join us at char for Food • Drinks • Music • Art • Fun ... n 828-266-2179. www.char179. com. See ad on page 49

Chestnut Grille BLOWING ROCK. We’re proud to announce the opening of our remodeled restaurant, The Chestnut Grille, under the direction of award winning Chef James Welch. Chef James is a James Beard Foundation nominee, and has won multiple awards including Best North Carolina Dish, North Carolina Pork Council Best Dish, and Fire on the Rock. Chef James is no doubt one of the finest Chefs in the High Country. The Divide Tavern and Lounge serves a unique summer cocktail menu in addition to an extensive wine and craft beer menu. Come and enjoy our lounge, library, veranda or our patio dining. Check our website for live entertainment schedule Join us at this newly restored National Historic Register property. The hotel includes 88 guest rooms plus meeting and event facilities. Reservations can be made on their website. n 828-414-9230. See ad on page 43

Half Price On Our House Bottled Wines Every Tuesday!

Thursdays 6-9 the music of Klee Liles in the Dining Room

Cafe Portifino



Kids 10 and under eat free with purchase of adult entree. Lunch or Dinner. Wednesday

ing 5 star dinth e

witho ut casual prices in a e! r he p os am

Sun, Tue - Thurs: 11:30 am - 9:00 pm • Fri - Sat: 11:30 am - 10:00 pm 970 Rivers Street • 828-264-7772 • w w w. c a f e p o r t o fi n o . n e t

Daily Lunch Specials


Encore9 Dinner at The Eseeola Lodge… the perfect finale to a summer day. Dinner served nightly: 6:30 til 9 Thursday Nights Seafood Buffet

The Eseeola Lodge at Linville Golf Club 828.733.4311

July 2013

High Country Magazine



4pm-until ... 502 West Main St. Banner Elk 828-898-4166

Private Party Room • All ABC Permits

Over 120 Small Tapas Plates

Progressive Alternative Dining

Extensive Wine Selection • Patio Dining


EAT CROW BANNER ELK. Eat Crow is a wonderful little cafe specializing in fresh baked, delicious goods including a large variety of baked pies and cakes. These delectables are offered by the slice, or you have the option to order a whole one to take home and enjoy. We also offer fresh made sandwiches at lunch time that can not be compared to any other “sandwich shop” in the area. 

Since we know life can be very hectic, for your convenience we prepare whole meals and fresh soups daily that are ready for you to take home and heat up for your family. These entrees vary daily. We are always creating something delicious! All sandwiches are served on farmhouse or whole wheat bread. Choices of sides include fresh fruit, firecracker coleslaw or chips. We are open Tuesday - Saturday: 10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. and are located near Foscoe on Hwy. 105 between Boone and Banner Elk. n 828-963-8228. See ad on page 52

The Eseeola Lodge linville. Guests enjoy breakfast and dinner daily as part of their accommodations package, but all High Country visitors are welcome to enjoy the finest cuisine. Spend a leisurely morning with us, or grab a quick bite on your way out for the day. Either way, an outstanding breakfast awaits you each morning in our dining room. Then enjoy lunch at the Grill Room in the Linville Golf Club, where resort casual wear is appropriate for daytime meals. For the evening meal, select your choice of seven meticulously prepared entrees crafted by Chef Patrick Maisonhaute at the helm of your culinary experience. The menu changes daily, and also offers an extraordinary seafood buffet every Thursday evening with seatings at 6:30 and 8:30 p.m. Reservations are required, and gentlemen are required to wear a coat for the evening meal. n 800-742-6717. See ad on page 45


High Country Magazine

July 2013


IT’S TIME FOR GOOD TASTES. Louisiana Purchase. Always Fresh. Always Delicious.


Blowing Rock. You haven’t fully experienced the region until you’ve dined at The Gamekeeper. It’s a true gourmet restaurant, with the perfect blend of upscale elegance and simple mountain charm. The Gamekeeper is famous for Southern favorites - ultimate in comfort food - prepared with creativity and originality, offered through an evolving seasonal menu that blends the traditional with the exotic, satisfying both the meat lover and the vegetarian. Housed in a 1950s stone cottage, The Gamekeeper is an upscale restaurant that offers an eclectic mix of Southern foods and mountain cuisine, offering a selection of unique meat dishes including mountain trout, buffalo rib eye, ostrich, duck and beef tenderloin. The friendly staff literally waits on you hand and foot, assuring that you’ll leave happy and satisfied. The restaurant is located off Shulls Mill Road near Yonahlossee Resort. n 828-963-7400. See ad on page 48


828/963-5087 or 898-5656

Wine Spectator’s Award Of Excellence 1990-1995 Wine Spectator’s Best Of Award Of Excellence 1996-2013

Six Pence

A Taste of England here in Blowing Rock & Friday and Saturday until Midnight Full Bar (open until 2am) 14 Beers on Draught focused on Imports and Micro Brews

Restaurant & Pub




Monday – Saturday Opening at 5:30pm


BOONE. You don’t have to be a golfer to enjoy a great meal with the best dining view in Boone! Fairway Cafe is now serving breakfast and is catered by one of Boone’s trademark restaurants, Pepper’s Restaurant! One can sample their lunch menu and see why they have been a local favorite since 1975. Pepper’s also provides private catering for those special events. We now offer breakfast and lunch to the public 7 days a week. Enjoy our sunny patio overlooking nearly half of the beautiful Ellis Maples designed golf course. Serving a variety of your Pepper’s Restaurant favorites including the Jean Lawson, French Dip, Reuben and our always incredible burgers. Stop in to build your own Nathan’s Hot Dog. Enjoy a cocktail, glass of wine, or a beer while you watch everybody go for the course record. For special event and catering information contact us at n 828-2640233. See ad on page 44

Featuring British & American Fare

828.295.3155 } } 1121 Main Street, Blowing Rock, N.C. July 2013

High Country Magazine



World Class Hospitality with

Southern Charm Serving Breakfast and Dinner daily Steak on the Lake Wednesdays

828-295-5505 |

JOY Bistro Boone. Joy Bistro is known all over the High Country as the resident purveyors of Fine Food & Drink. Chefs and Owners Melissa Joy and Gary Claude welcome you to come in and enjoy delicious, unique food selections and delightful cocktails in a casual, warm and inviting setting. Enjoy a relaxed and inviting atmosphere while you experience their unique, handcrafted cuisine. Exclusively fresh and always seasonal ingredients are expertly utilized in their many nightly specials as in all of the daily items in their superb menu. Enjoy scrumptious selections like the famous firecracker shrimp, the unique blood orange salad, local meats and pasta options, and a wonderful dessert like creme brulee or espresso torte. The friendly staff is always on hand to assist you with expert recommendations for dining selections and wine pairings for your choices. Joy Bistro also offers a full bar, an extensive wine list, & craft beers for guests to enjoy. n 828-265-0500 See ad on page 51

LOUISIANA PURCHASE FOOD & SPIRITS BANNER ELK. Celebrating twenty six years of service to the High Country in downtown Banner Elk, North Carolina surrounded by the beautiful Blue Ridge mountains. Louisiana Purchase has been Banner Elk’s premier locally owned restaurant and wine bar since 1984. Proudly featuring made to order elegance, Chef and owner Patrick Bagbey’s menu evolves with the changing seasons to incorporate the freshest seasonal ingredients, and will always include all the favorites. Louisiana Purchase is proud to offer all ABC permits and the largest wine list in the area. Large groups are easily accommodated in the private dining room for up to fifty people. The dress code is business casual, so come comfortable and hungry. The restaurant is open Tuesday to Saturday 5:30 p.m. until… Reservations are suggested. n 828-963-5087 or 828-898-5656. www. See ad on page 47 48

High Country Magazine

July 2013


Makato’s Boone. Watch as expert chefs perform their table side culinary magic. Filet mignon, Scallops, Shrimp, and Ribeye Steaks prepared in their own incomparable way. The service at Makoto’s is quite unique. You are served by both a chef and a waiter. Your food is cooked right at your table and served in an enjoyable Japanese tradition. Since 1981, Makoto’s of Boone has been providing area residents and visitors with a facility for a unique dining experience. Makoto’s offers a rare combination of exceptional food prepared by expert (and entertaining) chefs in a relaxing atmosphere, all at reasonable prices. Enjoy the experience of Makoto’s. Sushi is available! n See ad on page 53

MELANIES Boone. Centrally located on King Street in downtown Boone, Melanie’s Food Fantasy has been serving delicious madeto-order meals to the High Country since 1991. Melanie’s is committed to utilizing the freshest and highest quality whole food ingredients to create dishes that are nutritious and full of flavor. They also use local and organic ingredients when feasible. As always, Melanie’s is very sensitive to vegetarian and vegan concerns and will take the utmost care to cook meat items separately. Please let your server know if you have a food allergy or diet concern and they will do their best to accommodate you, as Melanie’s strives to accommodate all guests and their dietetic needs. All breads and biscuits served by Melanies are made from scratch and provided by local bakery, Stick Boy Bread Co. and Local Farm Fresh Pasture Raised Eggs from Aunt Bessie’s Natural Foods are always available upon request. n 828.263.0300. http:// See ad on page 53

Red Onion Café Boone. Established in 1985 as one of the classic restaurants in Boone NC, the Red Onion Café opens daily at 11am and July 2013

High Country Magazine



serves continuously to hungry guests well into the evening. The Red Onion Café has created its niche in the High Country for more than 30 years by offering customers a comfortable and welcoming atmosphere and an extensive menu at affordable prices. The café has something for every member of the family, including burgers, sandwiches, wraps, pizza, pasta, fish, steak and delicious homemade desserts. Look for weekly dinner specials and the kid’s menu items as well. The Red Onion Café also offers several of the region’s top beer and wines to compliment any meal as well as friendly staff on hand to assist with your choices from the extensive menu. The outside patio is perfect for a comfortable outdoor lunch or for a cozy dinner on warm evenings. n 828-264-5470. See ad on page 50

six pence pub

Chef and Owner David Bartlett Is Celebrating His 29th Year In Blowing Rock

It’s Always Trout Season In Blowing Rock!

At The Corner of Main Street and Hwy. 221

World Famous for His Trout Dishes Prepared 5 Different Ways


With A Wide Variety of Made Fresh Daily Side Dishes

AS WELL AS THESE SPECIALITIES Paul Tate Filet Mignon • Sara’s Baby Back Ribs Fresh Gulf Oysters & Shrimp • Seafood Dishes And, of Course, Much More! Serving Dinner 5:00 to 9:00 Tues. - Sat.



David Bartlett’s

SPECKLED TROUT CAFE Always Fresh Seafood

High Country Magazine

& Oyster Bar

July 2013

We also have

Breakfast Buffet on Weekends... Enjoy Our Air-Conditioned Dining Room All youPatio can eat or Our COVERED 9am-Noon At the Corner of Main St and Hwy 221 • 295-9819 ••On$7.95 Facebook


SPECKLED Open for Dinner TROUT 5:00-9:00 Always Fresh

& Oyster Bar

Blowing rock. In 2001 Six Pence opened in Blowing Rock, North Carolina and has been a Blowing Rock staple for visitors and residents alike ever since. Known all over the High Country for establishing itself as a fine example of British fare, the friendly staff, delicious food and extensive beer and wine selection make this local watering hole a local favorite. From traditional British favorites like Shepherd’s Pie and fish and chips to American-style burgers, house made soups and salads, this eatery and bar alleviates everyone’s hunger pains and provides a unique dining experience right on beautiful Main Street. Who knew that one could find such exceptional British cuisine in the heart of the High Country? The pub now proudly features a new patio so guests can choose to sit outside and enjoy their meals and enjoy the beautiful views of Main Street. Or step inside to the air conditioned interior to beat the heat this summer season. n 828-295-3155. See ad on page 47

Speckled Trout Café Blowing Rock. When you come to Blowing Rock, look around, see the sights, do some shopping, then come down the





y n



Rooms Suites



quaint downtown street until you reach the corner of Main and Highway 221. It’s on this corner that you will find the Speckled Trout Cafe and Oyster Bar. Since 1986, the Speckled Trout Cafe & Oyster Bar has been pleasing both locals and visitors every evening with its exquisite choices for dinner. The house speciality is smoked rainbow trout which is fished from local waters, but the extensive menu covers everything from terrestrial meat choices like steak and ribs to fresh seafood and so much more. The Speckled Trout is also pleased to be serving lunch for patrons to enjoy either inside the restaurant or for easy take out for a picnic on the Parkway. The restaurant also proudly features a beautiful outdoor patio overlooking Main Street for guests to enjoy their meals in the beautiful outdoors as well as an air-conditioned interior to beat the heat this summer season. n 828-295-9819. See ad on page 50

g Co m


Brewpub Restaurant 8 Inn Rooms

152 Sunset Dr, Blowing Rock, NC Inn Phone: (828) 414-9254 Ale House Phone: (828) 414-9600

STICK BOY BREAD CO. Boone. The famous Stick Boy Bread Co. is a small, family-owned artisan bakery where high quality baked goods and great service come together to create a special experience for you, the customer. The local bakery offers everything from fresh baked artesian breads, steaming hot cappuccinos, delicious, gooey cinnamon rolls and decadent chocolate tortes to delight the palate. The best part is that everything, from the scones to the cakes, is made right here in the bakery using the best ingredients and methods available. This is the real thing and you are certain to be able to taste the difference that local ingredients and local baking can make. Because of their huge popularity in the area and in order to keep up with their popularity and high demand from the community, a second location Stick Boy Kitchen is now open to the public at last. Please make your way over to 211 Boone Heights Drive, the location previously taken by Mountain Bagels and enjoy freshly baked breakfast bagels, delicious hot or cold sandwiches, freshly prepared salads and homemade soups, all made with the same love and attention to detail that the customers have come to expect from July 2013

High Country Magazine



the flagship location. n 828-265-4141. See ad on page 53

SUNRISE GRILL Boone. Looking for the one of the best breakfasts in the High Country? Sunrise Grill in Boone has something for everyone. From the famous pancakes to the great daily specials, this place has got it all. Sunrise Grill even has great vegan and vegetarian options and a friendly staff just waiting to make your morning. But Sunrise Grill isn’t just for breakfast. For lunch, try their famous barbecue ribs and potato salad, or a scrumptious turkey burger and the best hone fries you’ve ever had. You can even eat outside on the deck so you don’t miss any of the beautiful Boone summer weather. This gem has been a local favorite for years, so don’t miss out. n 828-262-54001. See ad on page 52



(Served on our homemade bread)

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

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


Fabulous British Chef/Owner

Dominic& Meryle Geraghty


Open Tuesday - Saturday 10am-5pm 9872 Hwy. 105 S. in Foscoe (across from Mountain Lumber)


High Country Magazine

July 2013

from downtown Blowing Rock, Twigs offers continental cuisine in a fine dining, cozy mountain atmosphere. Utilizing only the best and freshest ingredients available, Twigs specializes in a variety of dishes of the highest quality. Enjoy fare like crab cakes, filet mignon, duck confit and mountain trout. Their extensive wine list offers over 200 varieties of fine wine to satisfy even the most distinguished palate. Twigs also features over 35 craft beers with many from North Carolina Breweries, and a fantastic selection of drinks from the bar. n 828-265-5050. See ad on page 51

vidalia Boone. Centrally located on King Street in downtown Boone, Vidalia is a casual, upscale restaurant featuring “creative American cuisine.” Featuring creative menu items for lunch and dinner, it offers daily specials, various events, wine tastings and special nights. Famous

timberlake’S RESTAURANT AT CHETOLA RESORT BLOWING ROCK. A brand new restaurant has arrived in Blowing Rock at the renowned Chetola Resort. The recently opened Timberlake’s Restaurant features a menu inspired by world-renowned North Carolina artist and designer Bob Timberlake’s culinary favorites. From Mesquite-dusted shrimp and salads of mountain-grown spinach, to Carolinaraised trout and roasted Carolina quail, a mouth-watering array of brick-oven pizzas, tender Angus beef and bison filets, seafood, poultry, and an inspired selection of health and wellness dishes will also tempt palates of all tastes. Each dish will be one worth savoring. n 828295-5505. See ad on page 48

TWIGS BLOWING ROCK. A fine dining restaurant and casual bar, featuring southern American cuisine at its best, Twigs is a favorite of both locals and tourists. Conveniently located only one half mile

A true locAl fAvorite Breakfast and lunch all Day offering Delicious Scratch Made items and New Specials Daily Great food and Portions at Great Prices

coMe AND Get Your SuNShiNe oN! 1675 hwy 105, Boone, Nc (828) 262-5400


menu items include the apple and gorgonzola salad, shrimp and grits, chicken and waffles and mushroom ravioli, with finishing choices like stone ground grits and cheddar mac n’ cheese. All of these choices come to you from the culinary mind of Chef Samuel Ratchford, who also owns the restaurant with his wife Alyce. Taking pride in the local community, the restaurant is proud to offer various local ingredients and choices to patrons who are looking to try local fare. Vidalia holds all ABC permits and has an extensive wine list which routinely features over 60 different wines which can be expertly paired with meals by the staff, a large selection of craft beers, martinis, whiskeys, scotches and cordials. Vidalia’s menu changes twice a year to keep it seasonal and practices farm-to-table food, using local vendors as much as possible. n 828-263-9176. See ad on page 52

Zuzda Banner Elk. Located in scenic Banner Elk, Zuzda features creative dining five days a week! A “tapas style” chef-owned restaurant that offers more than 125 small plates of all cuisines. This “progressive alternative dining” venue offers patrons the unique opportunity to taste and share small portions of food in a random order of presentation. Zuzda offers indoor as well as outdoor seating on its beautiful patio. The restaurant also proudly features two bars, all of which are nonsmoking. Zuzda holds all ABC permits, and the wine list is as extensive as the menu, offering many of the featured wines by the glass. Sample daring selections such as escargot, squid steak, gruyere flan and many more exciting options. This restaurant, with it’s fun atmosphere and progressive idea, is a fun way to try out many different cuisines, while still remaining close to home in the High Country. n 828-898-4166. See ad on page 46

July 2013

High Country Magazine


“Grandfather of Outdoor Adventure”

Jeff Stanley’s 35th Season

Wahoo’s White Water Wrafting By Karl and Virginia Roseman


Jeff Stanley recalls looking down at his feet in the water, and ost every child has that moment when they declare what they want to be when they grow up. Be it a fire- looking at the water rushing downstream. Something clicked at man, a teacher, a doctor, a rock star, the president or that moment. “In a way, you could say that I did get swept away by that even a river guide, childhood dreams can be chased, and and they river,” said Stanley. “It was an epiphany that set things in motion, can come true. For one wiry eight-year-old boy, the moment everything and eventually led to me founding my own company, Wahoo’s changed was one hot day during the summer of 1965. Jeff Stan- Adventures.” Known to both ley and his family--on High Country visitors vacation in a Winneand locals alike, Stanbago--were visiting ley’s company has been the Gunnison River in a fixture in the commuSouthwest Colorado. It nity. In 2013, they are was Stanley’s introduccelebrating their 35th tion to the river way anniversary. Although of life, an introduction local, Wahoo’s has also that could have started garnered national acand ended right there, claim, twice named but instead it turned Outfitter of the Year by into a passion. the Professional Pad“I was looking at dlesports Association, this amazing but inand also nominated for timidating river, and a National Merit Award I couldn’t help but for safety excellence imagine getting swept by the Red Cross. Getaway by it,” said Jeff ting to these milestones Stanley. “I must have required not only a looked very obviously Lilly and Jeff Stanley - Lilly keeps her word every day, working hard alongpassion for the river, nervous.” side Jeff, helping make crucial business decisions and doing recordkeeping but also dedication to The river guide for the company. Their teamwork is why Wahoo’s celebrating its 35th season working hard. took note of Stanley’s this year. nervousness. Later in the summer “It sounds almost of 1965, after the Stanlike a Hollywood cliley family had returned che, but our guide was a tall, calm American Indian gentleman,” home to the Miami, Florida, area, Jeff Stanley still had the river said Stanley. “He took my small hand into his huge, rough, cal- on his mind. Hunting through the family’s thick Sears & Roebuck loused hand and led me out to a shallow spot in the Gunnison. catalog, he found a yellow, one-man, inflatable raft. He showed his Then, he stooped down to eye-level with me, and spoke to me. father, and explained how badly he wanted to explore all the rivers He started by telling me that yes, I should fear the river. But, if I he could find. His parents were empathetic, but thinking the intertook the time to know it and respect it, that the river would do est might just be a short-term phase, they wanted to learn exactly me no harm.” how interested Jeff actually was. They told him yes, he could have 54

High Country Magazine

July 2013

Jeff was introduced to whitewater rafting as a kid in 1965. He worked for two summers to save enough money to buy his first one-man inflatable yellow raft, and has been swept away ever since. the raft, but that it was up to him to raise the money to buy it. “I had just recently turned nine,” said Stanley. “So, as you can imagine, I didn’t have a lot of options. I wasn’t going to come up with the money overnight. It was going to take time, and I had to remain dedicated. “My plan was to mow grass for all the neighbors, and I stuck to that. It took awhile. But, two summers later, when we packed up

Above; Stanley working hard carrying rafting equipment, “It wasn’t exactly like the bolt of lightning struck immediately...when I wasn’t working in Tennessee, I came back to help my parents with the raft multiple times before it occurred to me that I could do this myself,” Below; Stanley, sitting in a new tributary strike inflatable kayak, he may have outgrown his little yellow, one-man, inflatable raft that he worked so hard to buy out of the family’s Sears & Roebuck catalog back from in the 60s, but Wahoo’s allows the dreams of this once wiry eight-year-old boy stay alive.

July 2013

High Country Magazine


In 1978, Jeff offer to buy out a rafting company he was working for in Tennessee. His boss said yes and Jeff got started with four of his sixman rafts and everything that went along with them. safe rivers the family would pull over to let him out and help him pump up his one-man raft. The family would follow in the Winnebago and pick him up a few miles downstream. Jeff was able to travel in his little yellow boat down rivers such as the Grays, the Hoback, and the Snake, just to name a few. In his teens, Stanley upgraded his raft. Working again cutting grass, he earned enough money to purchased a five-tosix-man army raft from an army surplus store. This was the real deal. It was a raft that was like many of the big rafts that Stanley would see time after time during his runs down the western rivers. The first thing that Jeff realized was that this raft opened up new opportunities. Now, when the Stanley family would travel out west, Jeff would take a hometown buddy with him. At the campgrounds the family would stop at, Jeff and his friend would go down the rivers making sure others noticed them going by. “We were teenage boys,” said Stanley. “Often, we would use the raft just like a teenage boy might use a car. We would try to meet other kids and ‘cruise’ and show off for the girls. Wahoo’s has an adventure that can fit any family’s needs or desired We were always offering rides...the raft was a chick magnet!” levels. Wahoo’s takes great pride in being up-to-date on the cutting FYI, this raft was army tan/skin color and so the boys happily edge of innovation in watercraft. They do have the six-man rafts, named it, “The Naked Lady”. Fathers didn’t automatically let their daughters jump in tubes and canoes, but now also have one to 10 man rafts, kayaks, the raft. The boys had to prove themselves, and the salesman FunYaks, Stand up Boards (SUPs), BellYaks and tubes of every kind. in Stanley was born. He knew that he needed to ease the parents’ fears, so he would invite them with their daughter to the riverside to watch how professional he was at handling the craft. Almost every time, the next time down the river, that Winnebago, rolled-up and tucked way in the back was a yelthe raft would be filled with teenagers. low raft.” Towards the end of his high school years as the time to look For summers to follow, the Stanley family would travel--mostly out west--making sure that their route always included rivers at colleges neared, Jeff Stanley became interested in the Boone, to raft. To show support of Jeff ’s growing passion, as they passed North Carolina, area. He was an accomplished high school wres56

High Country Magazine

July 2013

Jeff Stanley guides a raft in 1986

tler (his teammates had nicknamed him “Wahoo”) and was on his way to wrestling intercollegiately. “My senior year, I began receiving offers from a number of schools,” said Stanley. “I felt honored. But I also had paddling in mind, and started looking very closely at App State because of the mountains and rivers. I accepted the scholarship offer to wrestle, and when I came up for school in the fall, I brought my raft with me!” During the 1970s, Boone and ASU was a bit of a different place. And although the rivers were around of course, the business landscape for outfitters was different than today... virtually nonexistent. Like many college students, Stanley wasn’t quite sure about major and career, and swung from thinking about art to law to medicine to education. Stanley had a passion to be on the rivers, but this wasn’t on the radar as a career opportunity. “Given my wrestling background, I thought about putting putting sports together with a career plan,” said Stanley. “I did student teaching for physical education, and also assisted with coaching school wrestling, but ultimately decided that it wasn’t right for me.” Another sports-related pursuit was professional wrestling. Stanley has some fond memories of meeting and wrestling some guys before they got famous, including some of the socalled Russians and the Rock ‘n’ Roll Express, among others. “In 1975, there was a plane crash carrying some professional wrestlers, and that really shook me up,” said Stanley.

As the raft climbed the crest of the rapid and slammed back down, a guest in the raft started screaming something that sounded like “wahoo, wahoo, wahoo” with every climb of a wave. That’s the moment the business got its name... Wahoo’s Wild Whitewater Wafting, or WWWW.

July 2013

High Country Magazine


Above left; Note from Miami Dolphins’ past Quarterback, Bob Griese. Above right; Stanley standing with Bob Griese and his friends before their whitewater experience (guided by Stanley) with Wahoo’s. A day that would remain one of Stanely’s greats in his career. “At the time, I was having mixed emotions about possibly not finishing my degree, and pursuing wrestling. I came back to ASU to finish up, but I was actually struggling with some regrets about giving up professional wrestling. When the crash happened, it occurred to me how that could have been me. Even though not everyone was injured, some were, and weren’t able to wrestle again. One day they could wrestle, and the next they couldn’t. It made me more confident about my decision to finish my degree.” With teaching ruled out, Stanley completed his degree work in physical education and anatomy, and made up his mind to go into a health-related field. After exploring some options, he applied at Parker University to pursue and obtain a chiropractic license. It was a near-miss though...Stanley was already making plans to relocate come the following school year, but Parker University held up his entry because of one missing prerequisite. Around this time, Jeff worked a summer job in Tennessee for a small company operating on the Nolichucky River. Also, his parents had begun taking long summer vacations at the Boone KOA owned by the Harmons. While Jeff was in Tennessee, his old army raft stayed with his folks at Boone KOA. Chuck and Claire Stanley, Jeff ’s parents, decided it was a shame to have the raft go unused, so they rented it out to fellow KOA patrons. Families would take the raft out to the New River, and would pay the Stanleys to rent it. There was plenty of interest, and the Stanleys were keeping the raft busy. 58

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Jeff heard from his parents what they were doing with the raft, and one day when he wasn’t working at the Nolichucky, Jeff came to the Boone KOA to check it out and help his parents with the rental of his raft. “It wasn’t exactly like the bolt of lightning struck immediately...when I wasn’t working in Tennessee, I came back to help my parents with the raft multiple times before it occurred to me that I could do this myself,” said Jeff Stanley. “Things were changing with work in Tennessee. My boss there was actually looking to make a move into another field. I decided to open a business right here in Boone!” Since Jeff was no longer headed to Parker University, it freed up a couple thousand dollars in his savings. Jeff withdrew everything he had and went to see his boss in Tennessee. “My boss wanted to get into this brand-new, up and coming field--computers!” laughed Stanley. “I bought him out. I was the proud new owner of all four of the six-man rafts and everything that went along with them.” Including his original raft, Stanley now had five. He purchased a 10’x16’ storage building, and rented a small piece of land just across from the Boone Mall (where the palm reader is currently located) and set up shop. There

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New River Outpost The New River, as well as the the Nolichucky and Watauga rivers, doan a beautiful River Outpost. The Outpost allow the guests of Wahoo’s to take a hot showers and put on fresh dry clothes before getting in their vehicles. Many guest choose to stay, camp and picnic with Wahoo’s - making a Wahoo’s Adventure the full package deal for their family’s vacation. were some unexpected challenges. Stanley had a lot of experience on the river, but was still learning about business. He had to get creative to find customers. “It was hard getting people to sign up and trust me to take them down a wild river,” said Stanley. “Not only had my business not developed a reputation and name yet, my business literally had no name at all. I hadn’t named it yet!” On one of Stanley’s early guiding trips for his new business, he sat in the raft with some of patrons. The first big rapid on the Nolichucky--known as the “Final Chance” or to some as “Beat Me Daddy”--was approaching fast. As the raft climbed the crest of the rapid and slammed back down, a guest in the raft started screaming something that sounded like “wahoo, wahoo, wahoo” with every climb of a wave. That’s the moment the business got its name. The patron screaming, his old wrestling nickname, the word’s relation to fit. “I started with Wahoo’s Wild Whitewater Wafting, 60

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or WWWW,” said Stanley. “The WWWW was a play on my love for professional wrestling, as well.” There was so much about the business world Stanley had yet to learn. However, one thing he knew for sure was that he needed customers. Each evening, he would visit the pubs in Blowing Rock and other gathering spots in Boone, looking to promote Wahoo’s. Stanley came up with a creative gimmick. He would challenge any takers to an arm-wrestling contest. The challenger got to choose leftie or rightie; didn’t matter to Stanley. If he lost, he’d give the challenger $20. If he won, the challenger had to give him $20. However, if the losing challenger came out for a rafting trip, they would get it back as a $20 credit on their trip. “I met a lot of new people that way. I never lost a single match!” laughed Stanley. “Maybe half would come out for a rafting trip. It was a creative way to meet people and to find customers.” After the end of WWWW’s first year of rafting the Nolichucky, Stanley realized his offering was a bit too narrow. A fair number of people that stopped by to see him at his little shack would ask if he did something more mild. Mild was not Jeff ’s thing, but running a business means giving customers what they wanted. So, with his profits from the first year he bought 10 long canoes to used on tamer waters. Tubing would also enter the picture a few years later. Interest in the New River eventually grew, both for its accessibility for the inexperienced, as well as its proximity. The Nolichucky had been Wahoo’s early bread and butter, but it was also wilder and farther away. Storing five deflated rafts and 10 16’ canoes in a 10’X16’ shed was very challenging. Unloading them every morning and stacking them back every evening was a headache. This continued for two years. Finally, Stanley saved up enough money to purchase some elbow room, the location at 3385 US HWY 321, which is still Wahoo’s main office today. The business flourished. Once Wahoo’s was settled in at the new location, it wasn’t long before new equipment came to replace or expand what they offered. During the latter part of the 1980s, with the New River becoming a popular attraction for Wahoo’s patrons, especially for those staying in and around Boone and Blowing Rock, Stanley made plans to establish an outpost on the New, and later selected and purchased six acres along the river close to Todd, North Carolina. Over the years, Stanley worked hard and the business grew. There was an expansion into ski rental during the colder months. Stanley bought and renovated an older home, he married, and he divorced. As anyone who has ever been through or close to a divorce knows, even at their smoothest, divorces still create times of big changes. At the end of Jeff Stanley’s 14-year marriage, Wahoo’s went through a transition just as Stanley did. “I had been working hard and achieving successes through it, but my marriage had been suffering,” said Stanley. “We parted ways, and divided everything up, including parts of the business. One side-effect of the divorce was with the house up here going to my ex-wife, I relocated to residing in Florida. I was living in Florida in the offseason, and able to raft just for myself during those months. That helped me with my healing process.”

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Stanley challenging Everette Isreal to an arm wrestling match, while Wahoo’s Staff cheers them on. “I met a lot of new people that way (challenging them to an arm wrestling match). I never lost a single match!” laughed Stanley. “Maybe half would come out for a rafting trip. It was a creative way to meet people and to find customers.” In 2003, Jeff met Florida resident Lilly, and the Wahoo’s family began to grow when they were married in 2006. “When we were married, in addition to our wedding vows, I promised Jeff that I would be involved with and support the business, and help him grow it to be bigger and better than before,” said Lilly Stanley. “It’s a very important part of both our lives, and we do this together. It is a family business.” Lilly keeps her word every day, working hard alongside Jeff, helping make crucial business decisions and doing recordkeeping for the company. Together they became the perfect team. WWWW outgrew its name and became Wahoo’s Adventures. Now Wahoo’s runs on three major rivers--the Nolichucky, the Watauga, and the New each having a full service outpost on property they own--while also running extreme adventures on Wilson’s Creek. Also, Wahoo’s takes great pride in being up-to-date on the cutting edge of innovation in watercraft. They do have the six-man rafts, tubes and canoes, but now also have one to 10 man rafts, kayaks, FunYaks, Stand up Boards (SUPs), BellYaks and tubes of every kind. For 35 summers, Wahoo’s has been entertaining thousands 62

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upon thousands of customers each year. “Wahoo’s has been here for 35 years,” said Jeff Stanley. “Where we are at today, is bigger and better than I ever dreamed of, going back to that day I first stepped foot into the Gunnison River. And when I say bigger, I also mean bigger than me. This is a dream for a lot of other people. I have guides that have been with me many years, and they are like extended family. Paddling is their dream, too.” It is easy to tell that Stanley is proud of his guides. The company lavishes a lot of training on them. He beams about his guides that have gone on to become river guides all around the world, and about the ones that have opened their own river rafting companies, including some in the mountains here in North Carolina. Like Jeff, many of these people had the dream of being a river guide, and through his mentoring, were given the tools and knowledge to chase their dream. With hard work, years of dedication--standing the test of time-- these companies will hopefully someday be able to celebrate 35 years of love and service to the rivers and the people who enjoy them. If you ever want to find Jeff just call the Wahoo’s office and he will most likely greet you with, “Good afternoon, thanks for calling Wahoo’s. This is Jeff speaking. How can we get you wet?” Getting in touch with Wahoo’s to book a trip is easy. Call 1-800444-RAFT or see them online at 

Lilly and Jeff Stanley - “Wahoo’s has been here for 35 years,” said Jeff Stanley. “Where we are at today, is bigger and better than I ever dreamed of, going back to that day I first stepped foot into the Gunnison River. And when I say bigger, I also mean bigger than me.”

July 2013

High Country Magazine


Clark posing with Hunt Slonem's "Parrot's in Orbs"

A Day at the Gallery By Megan Hall


itting at a classic wooden desk wearing a neatly pressed blue and white striped shirt with khaki shorts complemented by casual black sneakers, Chris Clark is the quintessential gallery owner, with enthusiasm and dedication for great art and style evident in every nook of Clark Gallery. “It’s my job and my duty to offer really great art, art that comes from people’s souls,” said Chris Clark. Though ideally located in the epicenter of Banner Elk beside Louisiana Purchase, Clark Gallery feels like a world apart from its surroundings. Tall ceilings, large windows and relaxing indie ballads create a serene environment made for enjoying artwork by critically acclaimed North Carolinians and non-natives alike. With a distinct array of styles from im-


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July 2013

pressionist to mixed media and an equally matched price range, the gallery offers something for every taste. Unlike many galleries, the proprietor, Chris Clark, a self-proclaimed “one man show,” acts as owner, curator and salesman, all while maintaining a continually growing collection of his own paintings. Much of his art focuses on rural Appalachia as well as the natural landscape including faithfully represented images of insects. “Both of my parents have been hugely influential in my life and I feel fortunate that they still are,” said Clark. “My mother was an Earth Science teacher, who later bought a Hallmark store and thus began the focus of much of my art and my love of retail as well as my love of collecting. My mother always

“It’s my job and my duty to offer really great art, art that comes from people’s souls.” – Chris Clark

Photography by Ken Ketchie The magnificent artwork “Waterfall” by Lowell Hayes

July 2013

High Country Magazine


The Clark Gallery storefront adorned by beautiful flowers and large windows

“When I visit a gallery I like to enjoy the art and then ask questions, if I’m interested. I try to create the same atmosphere in my gallery. I usually say hello and let everyone know I’m available for questions, but I like to give them space.”

Pictured from Left to Right: Clark’s beautiful wooden desk amidst an array of beautiful artwork; Jimmy Bursenoes’ “Lollipops” 66

andH Hunt Slonem’s “Green Amazons”; Clark with one of his many insect-inspired artworks, “Scarbs.” igh Country Magazine July 2013

had a curio cabinet and each morning she would wake up, drink coffee and redecorate. I now have a curio cabinet in my gallery, which is filled with all my nick nacks and treasures. Each day I think I regress further into my childhood. “Though I had strong artistic sensibilities as a child, it was very important to my father that I be well-rounded. He was a varsity letterman in high school and went on to play baseball and football at East Carolina University. He made sure I experienced competitive sports and other honors like becoming an Eagle Scout.” Clark, who studied Public Relations, Art and Art History at Appalachian State University (and later studied at the Art Students League in New York), began his love affair with collecting when he landed a job at the Boone Antique Mall. There, Clark was introduced to the beauty of local folk art, which would inform the entire course of his career. “I used to exclusively collect folk art,” said Clark. “Then a dealer once told me, ‘There are just so many beautiful things you’re missing out on.’ And I completely agreed so I changed my mentality and opened myself up to other art forms.” Though Clark is a native of Shelby, N.C. who spent a large portion of his life living on King Street in Boone, he soon found himself living far from home in Aspen, Colo., amidst the who’s who of the rich and famous. “I was working as a buyer and eventually a manager for Zona, where I specialized in folk art and furniture sales,” said Clark with a nostalgic sigh. “At that time I had a Oorang Airedale named Winnefred, and every time Ringo Starr [of the Beatles] would come to Aspen, he would run in Zona yelling, ‘Winnefred!’ in his adorable English accent and then take my dog for a walk around town.” “Zona’s main office was in New York and I stayed there at least four months of each year. I became close with a client named Patty Finley, wife of Peter Finley, a fourth generation New York art dealer. They had a second home in Aspen and they invited me to be a houseguest and I ended up staying for four years. While I was there I met incredible artists like Jen-

Ladies in Bikinis as told by Chris Clark “This is a photo of the first bikinis to be worn on the Outer Banks. This was just after the depression and my mother made these bikinis out of feed sacks! Famed photographer, Aycock Brown, took this photograph and many others of my mother and her friends frolicking on the beach. My grandmother didn’t speak to my mother for a month afterward! Decades later, this photo was on the cover of The Progressive Farmer magazine with a caption asking, ‘Who are these women?’”

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High Country Magazine


PICTURED AT LEFT, TOP TO BOTTOM: During Easter 2011, Chris’ father, the historian of the family, gave Chris this family photo, circa 1964; Clark and his Oorang Airedale, Winnefred, on the porch of folk art dealer, Howard Campbell; Clark as a cheerleader for Appalachian State University. Clark dropped this same partner during homecoming, the same year the girl was named homecoming queen; Bob, Clark’s dad, during his high school varsity year.

nifer Bartlett, Ross Bleckner, Christo—people I had done research papers about in college! It was such an incredible and very influential time in my life.” Though Clark loved Aspen, his heart was always in North Carolina. When he had the chance, he returned, excited to bring his vision to the High Country, and also spend time painting with his brother, Bobby Clark. “I was bartending in Blowing Rock at night and Bobby worked during the day, but we both spent our off time painting, so it created some healthy sibling competition,” said Clark. “Since we worked opposite shifts, we would each come home and immediately go see what the other one was painting.” Eventually, Bobby was given a show at the Art Cellar in Banner Elk, but he didn’t have quite enough pieces so he agreed to do a joint show with Chris, which led to other two-man shows at the same venue. “I’m thankful to Pam [McKay] for her help and support,” said Clark. “She gave me my start and allowed me to show my work at her gallery for nearly four years.” Soon after, in 2001, his current gallery space, formerly owned by artist James Kerr, came open for rent and thus Clark Gallery was born. “James Kerr is an incredible artist and I’m happy to say he has allowed me to represent him and his art remains displayed in the gallery,” said Clark. “I would say James’ work is the most popular in the gallery. He straddles the line of abstract. It’s very loose and beautiful with a sense of freshness.” The unique attributes of Clark Gallery are not limited to its location and selection, Clark focuses on allowing patrons to enjoy the atmosphere and artwork without being bombarded with information. “When I visit a gallery I don’t want to be followed around and told everything about each piece of artwork and each artist,” said Clark. “I like to enjoy the art and then ask questions, if I’m interested. I try to create the same atmosphere in my gallery. I usually say hello and let everyone know I’m available for questions, but I like to give them space.” The true hallmark of the gallery is Clark’s dedication to his patrons. He takes great pride in his personal relationships and his ability to make sure each person receives personal attention. “I run the gallery by myself, which I love, but it can also be frustrating for me and for my customers,” said Clark. “If I sell a piece of art, it is not unusual for me to 68

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July 2013

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Clark Gallery with Chris’ curio cabinet and melting pot of artists and art styles; Clark, an active painter, at the entrance to his private art studio where he does the majority of his work also go to the customer’s home and help them place the piece. To do that, I have to close the gallery. I just hope other patrons realize that is the same personal treatment they would also receive.” The personal relationships at the gallery are obvious considering Clark has maintained the same five core artists since he opened his doors twelve years ago. “I’m very particular about the artists I represent,” said Clark. “I really have to love the art and have a great relationship with the artist. I don’t want to sell anyone a piece I’m not proud of.” Clark Gallery specializes in North Carolina artists, but it also hosts a few eclectic non-natives such as Hunt Slonem from southern Louisiana who is based out of New York. Slonem’s work is featured in most every major museum

in the country and Clark is especially happy to make Slonem’s work available to the High Country Audience. Another non-native, Julyan Davis, is a painter originally from London who now calls Asheville home. Davis’ work ranges from beautifully serene landscapes to depictions of Southern decay. “Julyan Davis is the most unknown of the artists in my gallery,” said Clark. “His work is so beautiful but also very challenging. To fuel his commercial success, he paints unbelievable landscapes, but to fuel his soul he paints horrific portrayals of difficult issues like domestic violence and a series on the most thankless jobs. He is a true artist. Famed South Carolina painter, West Frazier, once said of Davis’ work, ‘I wish I could be that brave,’ which is a huge compliment coming from a fellow artist.”

Did You Know? While living in Aspen, Clark lived in what was known as the Magic Mushroom House, a residence built around a theme of hallucinogens, which was once bought by Playboy founder Hugh Hefner for his former girlfriend Barbi Benton.

Chris’ Favorite Painting “Everything in my life is a long story! I was in France with a group of friends for seven days and on the first day I fell in love with a painting in a store window. I assumed the painting to be very old. The store wasn’t open so I left a note with my information. The store was out of the way of where we were staying, but every day we were there I would go by and leave another note. I know the owner was getting my notes, because they were always gone. Finally, on the seventh day, right before we left, the owner called me and we negotiated a price. When I moved back to Banner Elk, I opened a restaurant called Morel’s and I hung it in the dining room. 70

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One day, Ben Long [a painter] came by and saw the painting. There was a signature in the corner, but no one could ever figure out what it said. Ben took one look at it and said, ‘This is a Frank Mason painting. Frank was my teacher and he is the oldest professor at the Art Students League of New York.’ As it turned out, Frank had not seen this painting, which was a favorite of Grace Kelly’s, since the 1960s when it was stolen in Germany. He presumed it lost forever and never gave it another thought. Frank also happened to have family in North Carolina, which brings the whole story full circle! It’s my favorite painting because it’s beautiful and because it is such a great story.”

Clark with Jimmy Bursenoes’ “Collection of Oysters”; Clark studying Suzy Schultz’s figurative paintings.

Throughout the month of July, Clark Gallery will also be hosting John Beerman and privately selling his work. Beerman, whose work is featured in the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art, was honored when a piece of his work was the first painting placed in the White House by the Obama family. Being surrounded by beautiful collections of art would seem to be a life of luxury for any artist and gallery owner, but things are not always as they seem. “For much of my life I romanticized the life of an artist,” said Clark. “I never realized it could be so lonely and competitive.


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It’s a tough gig and owning a gallery isn’t much easier. In this area, I essentially have four months. Luckily, I get back to Aspen where I run McHugh Gallery in the winter. I have a show there this January. I’m very blessed that I have such supportive and loyal patrons. I am so thankful that I am able to do what I love and remain focused on providing beautiful art to the people of the High Country.” For more information on Clark Gallery, visit or stop by the gallery, located at 393 Shawneehaw Lane, Banner Elk, NC 28604. 


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July 2013

High Country Magazine


The High Country’s Jerry Kirksey Southern Gospel Music Innovator, Visionary and Hall of Famer By Tim Gardner


erry Kirksey is an interesting and colorful person—and a likeable one. The long-time High Country resident is also one of Southern Gospel music’s true legends and greatest goodwill ambassadors. In fact, Jerry has contributed as much, in as many ways and over as long a period of time to the profession as perhaps anyone who has ever worked in it. When you meet Jerry for the first time, you really want to know more about him. He makes people feel comfortable and good about themselves and it’s easy to appreciate what makes this southern gentleman so respected in gospel music circles. Perhaps best known as Editor-in-Chief of Singing News—the printed voice of Southern Gospel music and the largest publication of any musical genre—from 1969-2011, Jerry dedicated himself to underscore the right principles, approaching his work with humility and class. He is known by his family, friends, colleagues and Southern Gospel aficionados for his genuineness as well as being creative and inventive in his work. “I have a sad, but true story to tell,” Jerry declared. “I don’t sing well. I don’t write music. I don’t play any musical instruments. And I can’t read music. So I talked to God about that and asked Him to help me become active in some manner in Southern Gospel music and he let me know that He would, indeed, give me things to do in the profession that does not 72

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require any of those talents. He did, as I was active in it in six different decades. But I actually never considered any of it work. God has blessed me beyond words.” He continued: “There are many people

“There are many people involved or instrumental in the good things that have happed to me in my professional life. You don’t accomplish things such as I have by yourself. You achieve them by the energy, work, and most importantly, the prayers of literally hundreds of people over the years.” involved or instrumental in the good things that have happed to me in my professional life. You don’t accomplish things such as I have by yourself. You achieve them by the energy, work, and most importantly, the prayers of literally hundreds of people over the years.”

Personal Background and Professional Career Rockets As Singing News Leader

Jerry was born in Panama City, FL on June 13, 1940. After World War II, he and his family moved back to his parent’s native home of Pensacola, FL. Jerry attended public schools in Pensacola and graduated high school there in 1958. He began working at WNVY Radio Station during his junior year of high school. After graduation he moved back to Panama City, FL and worked as a disc jockey at radio station WTHR, located on the Panama City Long Beach area. Then in March 1960 at the ripe young age of 19, he returned to Pensacola and began working for WBSRI Radio. During this same time span, he also began employment with the Florida Boys, a nationally recognized Southern Gospel quartet. Jerry recalled: “I worked in the office with Les Beasley, manager of the Florida Boys. There was no such thing as a Southern Gospel Music radio station at that time. Many Country Music radio outlets programmed Southern Gospel Music on Sunday mornings. My first job with the Florida Boys was to get their records to these stations to get played.” In the years between 1964 and 1969, colossal growth in several areas of the Whitfield organization resulted in new opportunities for Jerry’s professional development.

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High Country Magazine


His first job promotion was as manager of Jubilee Enterprises, a Gospel, Black/Soul Gospel and Progressive Gospel-- and a unified concert and product promotion company. Two other gospel singing chart which was expanded to the Top 40, and later Top 80, comgroups Whitfield founded were the Dixie Echoes and the Senators bining the most popular songs of the past month in all Christian and their offices were housed in the same building as Jubilee En- music. The Singing News chart is still recognized as producing the terprises, so Jerry divided much of his time working for the Dixie Southern Gospel industry radio airplay charting standard. But perhaps the most eagerly anticipated and most often disEchoes and Senators and Whitfield’s various business ventures. Jerry and Whitfield—also known as “Whit” and “The Ole cussed recurring topic for subscribers is the annual Singing News Gospel Man” were also instrumental in expanding Southern Gos- Fan Awards, which Jerry also initiated in 1970. The magazine pel music on television with the Gospel Song Shop and Gospel compiles several rounds of voting by subscribers each year. Awards Singing Jubilee programs, the latter of which was broadcast in are given in a program at the National Quartet Convention. In every major television market in the United States and viewed by addition to the presentations and acceptance speeches, nominees for Favorite Song typically perform millions weekly for twelve years. their nominated song for the event. In January 1969, Whitfield Another noteworthy achievefounded Singing News and he gave ment for Singing News also hapJerry another job promotion-- runpened in the 1970s when Jerry ning the publication as its general added a “Trade” section popular manager (later changed to Editor with gospel music industry insidand then Editor-in-Chief). Only five ers to the magazine that focused months later (May 1969), approxion developments within the actual mately 90,000 copies of the inaugubusiness end of professional gospel ral Singing News were printed and music. It later became the Trade given away for free via U.S. Mail. Review as a separate magazine and Jerry and Whitfield figured they then as an online-only publication could use the mailing list they had in 2004. He also led the Singing complied for their singing promoNews from a basic tabloid format to tions. They then combined that a full-fledged professional magazine list with another they had from in May 1983. A year later, though “Jubilee” songbook sales they had still newspaper stock on the inside, promoted in conjunction with the the outside front and back covers Gospel Singing Jubilee. During the appeared for the first time on slick next couple years, they borrowed stock paper. mailing lists from fellow-promoters Boone businessman Maurice W.B. Nowlin in Texas, Arkansas Templeton had been advertising his and Oklahoma and Lloyd Orrell Southern Gospel music cruises in up North with the agreement that Singing News for several years, but Singing News would be sent to all Jerry’s Southern Gospel Music Hall of Fame plaque had noticed a decline in the magathose on their mailing lists. Southfor his Class of 2011 enshrinement . Ironically, Jerry zine by the mid-1980s and espeern Gospel music fans across the cially that the response from his ads country were then receiving Singdesigned these bronze plaques, which number in was not nearly as strong as it had ing News, some by subscription and the dozens with each featuring Hall of Fame inductpreviously been. He had already others an occasional issue because ees. They are on prominent display at the SGMA told Whitfield that he would like to they had attended a concert and Hall of Fame building, located at the Dollywood buy Singing News when Whitfield were placed on a promoter’s mailTheme Park in Pigeon Forge, TN. retired. The June 1986 issue was ing list. Within a few years, Whitthe first Templeton-owned Singing field was selling subscriptions to the magazine, but the vast majority of the 300,000 copies then News publication. By January 1987, the first issue of entirely slick printed each month were mailed free to potential concert-goers stock rolled off the press and the magazine was moved to Boone in exchange for advertising by major concert promoters. In 1975, in July 1987. Jerry continued as Editor-in-Chief until he retired Whitfield purchased Gospel Music Speak Out, another tabloid, in 2011, including during another change in ownership, when Sawhich added 30,000 more subscribers to Singing News from its lem Communications purchased the publication from Templeton in January 2006. Jerry also assumed the roles of Associate Pubcirculation base. lisher and Chief Operations Officer (COO) during Templeton’s ownership of the publication. Although Singing News moved its Innovating Consistency One of the more significant accomplishments of Singing News headquarters from Boone to Nashville, TN, it still maintains a came in 1970 when Jerry created a monthly chart that ranked the satellite office in Boone. The North Carolina High Country’s place in Southern Gospel most popular Southern Gospel songs. Reviews of recent recordings were also given as a sidebar to the charts. Designed after the music history may be considered a footnote to some, but because radio airplay chart of “Billboard” magazine, the Singing News it was home to Singing News for many years, it’s more a preface charts placed a stronger emphasis on the popularity of individ- to that rich tradition. Singing News currently has more than 300,000 subscribers ual songs. For several years, Singing News even published four separate charts each month-- Three Top-20 charts-- Traditional in every state in America and several foreign countries. Those 74

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numbers suggest that more than a million people read Singing News each month. The magazine provides its enthusiasts with up-to-date information various facets of the Southern Gospel music, including feature articles about singers, musicians, songwriters and their families, concert schedules, radio airplay charting details, colorful advertisements, editorials and opinion columns. Over the years, the magazine has been successfully branded and cross-marketed within the business and most major Southern Gospel singers and singing groups sell subscriptions to the magazine at their concerts.

Many More Contributions To Southern Gospel & Hall Of Fame Enshrinement

Jerry served on the Board of Directors of the Southern Gospel Music Guild and the Southern Gospel Music Association and was actively involved in the building and devel-

Jerry making his acceptance speech at the SGMA Hall of Fame induction ceremony.

“That is a great honor and one of which I’m most proud. The fact I’m in a Hall of Fame that so many of my heroes also occupies makes it even more special and meaningful.” the 7th annual blowing rock

August 1 through August 4

Blowing Rock Art &Antiques Art & History Museum SHOW

American Impressionist paintings from four regional collections

May 4 - Nov. 2, 2013

Blowing Rock Art & History Museum 159 Chestnut Street downtown Blowing Rock 828-295-9099 July 2013

High Country Magazine


On the “Gospel Singing Jubilee” set. The Florida Boys: L/R Derrell Stewart , Glenn Allred, Les Beasely, Billy Todd and Tommy Atwood. opment of the SGMA Hall of Fame and Museum at the Dollywood Theme Park in Pigeon Forge, TN. This facility was built to honor the Southern Gospel musical genre and for the historic preservation of the accomplishments of the music and its people. In fact, Jerry began the Marvin Norcross (now Norcross-Templeton) Award—the highest individual honors Singing News gives—and the SGMA Award given to a

major Southern Gospel music contributor. And Jerry even designed the SGMA Hall of Fame inductees bronze plaques. Also, he created the James D. Vaughan Impact Award (named for the founder of professional Southern Gospel music) and founded the James D. Vaughan Quartet Festival in Lawrenceburg, TN. And he has served on the board of directors of the original Gospel Music Association, and of

the original SGMA of Georgia. Additionally, Jerry and Singing News were instrumental in the production of various other Southern Gospel publications such as songbooks, cookbooks and history books including: “The Music Men-The Story of Professional Gospel Quartet Singing,” written by long-time Singing News journalist Bob Terrell and “Close Harmony-A History of Southern Gospel,” penned by Appalachian State University professor, Dr. James R. Goff. Jerry’s full-time service in Southern Gospel music spanned a remarkable 51 years. He was named the magazine’s Editor-in-Chief Emeritus and still serves as a consultant to Singing News and Salem Communications. He received the pinnacle accomplishment in his chosen profession in 2011 when he was enshrined into the Southern Gospel Music Association’s Hall of Fame. He joined fellow-Southern Gospel icons Doris Akers, Doyle Blackwood, Bob Brumley, Roy Carter, Kenny Gates, Opal Lester and Willie Wynn in that year’s induction class. “That is a great honor and one of which I’m most proud,” he noted. “The fact I’m in a Hall of Fame that so many of my heroes also occupies makes it even more special and meaningful. “But it’s not the greatest thing that has ever happened to me. The ultimate was a man named Jesus dying for me.”

Great Family Man and Personal Influences

Working closely with Whitfield allowed Jerry to develop tight friendships with other members of the Whitfield family and it was through them that he met his future bride and now wife of almost 46 years—the former Carolyn Sue Rhodes. Jerry recalled: “One of my best friends was J.G.’s son, Guy. And some of our friends were the sons and daughters of the county sheriff. We all hung out together quite often. “Carolyn was working for Florida State University when a friend of hers, Pat, who would eventually marry Guy Whitfield, began working for a new school, the University of West Florida. Shortly after, she phoned Carolyn and persuaded her to move to Pensacola from Tallahassee where Florida State was located, and work for the new school. “To bring all this together, Pat had also become friends with the sheriff ’s children not long after she moved to Pensacola. Then after Carolyn relocated, she would

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High Country Magazine

July 2013

hang out with Pat, who would hang out with the sheriff ’s kids, which meant we would all hang out together at the sheriff ’s house. That’s how I met Carolyn.” Jerry added, after a loud chuckle, “We all had a lot of fun, and of course, it’s hard to get into trouble when you’re hanging out at a sheriff ’s house!” After two years of dating, Jerry and Carolyn married on October 1, 1967. “Life hasn’t been the same since,” Carolyn interjected. “There’s never a dull moment when Jerry is around as he’s always doing something. But I wouldn’t trade him for anyone or anything.” Their union produced two children--sons Kenneth Bryan, born March 9, 1969 and Kenton Brett, born March 6, 1971. Kenneth earned his Bachelor of Computer Engineering degree from Auburn University. He is married to the former Deborah Melton of Newland, NC. Brett received his Bachelors and Masters degrees in Exercise Science from Appalachian State University and was Editor of Muscular Development magazine in Long Island, NY, before moving back to Boone. All the Kirkseys make their home in Boone. They are devout Christians, and Carolyn, Kenneth and Brett also have worked in various capacities with Singing News. Jerry noted: “Carolyn was addressing the first issue of Singing News on a Friday night and Kenneth was born less than 48 hours later on a Sunday morning. Carolyn also worked in the Singing News office since then periodically. Additionally, she traveled extensively with Jerry to meetings, to concerts to sell subscriptions and to many other magazine endeavors. Kenneth laughs that almost all of his life was spent at Singing News. Both Kenneth and Brett worked for me at the magazine and are extremely knowledgeable about computers. Kenneth brought the magazine into the digital world—one of the first magazines of any kind to go to the digital free press (1987). And Brett created and designed the Singing News web site and wrote its software. So my wife and sons contributed much to the Southern Gospel music profession as well as being my greatest inspirations.” Jerry also gave special thanks to his Southern Gospel music mentors, Whitfield and his wife, Hazel. “J.G. and Hazel formed the basic core of what makes Southern Gospel music so special and the most meaningful music that has ever existed,” Jerry commented. “They Gospel is shared and Jesus proclaimed every time a Southern Gospel song is heard. J.G. and Hazel contributed numerable things, including


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July 2013

High Country Magazine


the nation’s major television programs in the Gospel Song Shop and Gospel Singing Jubilee, the Singing News magazine, founding the Florida Boys, Dixie Echoes and Senators quartets. For a while, “Whit” also owned the National Quartet Convention. And he created the International Gospel Song Festival in Nashville, TN and promoted many gospel concerts across America, including the first one in New York’s Carnegie Hall. I was the first person on stage for that concert as I introduced the event to those in attendance. The list goes on and on. J.G. and Hazel were precious to me. They allowed me to do anything I could— through Christ-- to contribute all of the things I’ve been involved in to the Southern Gospel music profession. They loved me with a Christ-like love and I loved them with the same kind of love.” In a most interesting comparison, Jerry said his life is much like the Bible— particularly the Old Testament and the Chapter of Hebrews—and all the things God did and especially the miracles He performed. Jerry explained: “I think there is a miracle in me. I believe this because I’ve been permitted to serve in a business that I love as much or more than life itself. I deeply appreciate all those who were part of what I’ve done. I want to especially thank my wife and family. So many people have been integral factors in anything positive I’ve accomplished.” Jerry has varied hobbies and interests. He is an avid fisherman, vegetable gardener and a reader of various subjects—particularly anything related to Southern Gospel music, Church and Christian history and United States military history. He owns a massive collection of Southern Gospel music memorabilia such as DVD’s, videos, 8-tracks, compact discs and related items. He and Carolyn are Chef de Cuisine’s and they also enjoy dining at a variety of good restaurants. Jerry has also served in various capacities in various civic, community and charitable organizations in Pensacola, Boone and abroad. Jerry has served on the Board of Director’s of the Galilean’s Children’s Home in Liberty, KY. And during the 1970s and early 1980s, while Carolyn worked for the State of Florida Department of Business Regulations, Jerry began expanding his horizons into political arenas and various other endeavors. He was involved in local government in The Sunshine State, and was appointed by the Florida State Legislature to the Regional Planning Council in the Pensacola area. He also was appointed to the Santa Island, FL Authority by the local 78

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July 2013

county commission, serving two terms as its Chairman of the Board. And with the help of good friends and partners he also created BLAB-TV a local Pensacola cable station that was very successful and is still operating. And in quite an opposite mix, Jerry also headed a group that opened a cemetery, which he named “Eastern Gate,” in reference to the Biblical relationship. Jerry has continued his political work here, serving as a member of the Boone Town Board of Adjustment and he also has been a candidate for the Boone Town Council. Jerry said moving to Boone and the Jerry and Carolyn at Pensacola beach when they were dating

Jerry & Carolyn 1969 North Carolina High Country was one of the best things that ever happened to him and his family. “It brought us all together. When we lived in Florida, I was almost always putting other things ahead of my family. I was hardly ever home as I seemed to always be in a meeting or away from home for other business reasons. When we moved to Boone, I was only working with Singing News, and as a result, we benefited greatly because we could be a whole family instead of a family minus me at times.”

Jerry’s other, or better half, Carolyn, added: “Boone is really a wonderful place to live. The mountains here are so panoramic and picturesque and the mountain folk are so personable. It’s also an area where you can still feel safe and not have to worry about locking everything up or watching over your shoulder. Of all places, we’ve lived, it truly right at the top of the list of our favorites.”

A Soft, Yet Stern Approach To Life And To Others

The importance of people skills are often stressed when it comes to communication and relationships. Anyone who ever knew Jerry Kirksey has been drawn to his great sense of humor. He has never lost the common touch. And he can find something clever about any subject or anybody, but is never demeaning in the process. Perhaps the most enduring image of Jerry is him pontificating about a subject of mutual interest or emitting a rejoinder to something said — breaking up those around him, with all usually roaring with laughter. Jerry also often pokes fun at himself. His self-flagellation is done with desirable effect. He has pride, but functions without any trace of ego. He truly is cut from different cloth in that respect. As those who know him will attest, with Jerry it’s not just what you see is what you get, it’s moreso who you see is who you get. There’s nothing pretentious about him. He is respectful of others and their opinions, but will tell you exactly what he thinks and believes in a hurry. “I believe everyone has a right to his or her opinions and many of mine aren’t always politically correct, but I try to form them on what I think is right,” Jerry stated. “When we do, or at least attempt to do what is right, God rewards us for it. I’ll stand for what I believe and whether I’m in the majority or minority is of no relevance.” Jerry Kirksey is proud of the professional success and status he has achieved, but has never lost perspective. And few have ever maintained as great a passion and downright love for their endeavors and life in general. -Tim Gardner is a freelance journalist for High Country and Singing News magazines. He makes his home in the NC High Country of Avery County. -Pictures provided for this story courtesy of Jerry Kirksey and his family.


Summer Has


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High Country Magazine



High Country Magazine

July 2013

Fashion and Home

We’re your one stop shop for fine ladies clothing and accessories.


ickoff the warm weather with light hearted designs featuring Ribkoff print dresses, as well as Brighton accessories. Almost Rodeo Drive has been dressing the Women of the High Country for 30 years, now let Maria formally of Poppy’s dress your home. You’ll find your favorite home accessories, florals and Made in USA oil candles, in both store locations.

Village Shoppes on Main St. • Suite 104

Blowing Rock, NC • 828.295.3422 Village at Banner Elk, Suite 101 Banner Elk, NC • 828.898.4553

July 2013

High Country Magazine


You should enjoy this – a special section we’ve put together to showcase local retail shops. It’s a well-written look at your friends and neighbors in business. Check ‘em out! Make some of your summer shopping local this year.

Read All About Local Shopping Here 9 Lives

FOSCOE. 9 Lives Cottage Collectibles and Consignment Shop, located on Highway 105 between Foscoe and Banner Elk across from Grandfather Winery, features a wide assortment of unique furniture and accessories: great mountain pieces, handcrafted and painted items, art by local artists, antiques and many special things. We pride ourselves in the quality of our merchandise and accept only those items in excellent condition. Come in and choose from an assortment of dining tables, chairs, side tables, lamps, sofas, benches or just find that perfect painting for your wall. Our inventory is constantly changing, so visit often so as not to miss that special treasure you have been searching for. Open 7 days a week from May through October and weekends in April and November.  828-963-9109. See ad on page 86

Antiques on Howard

BOONE. Walk the Howard Street loop to one of downtown Boone’s best kept secrets – Antiques on Howard, which has a 6,000-square-foot mall filled with an ever-changing, plethora of merchandise from more than 30 vendors. You’ll find quality items from the past from back


High Country Magazine

July 2013

when things were made to last! An eclectic mix of antiques, primitives and estate jewelry exists at Antiques on Howard, including art objects, coins, auto memorabilia, books and tools. We have a section called the mid-century modern gallery with lighting, glassware and casual and elegant painted furniture. You can also find vintage clothing and linens. It’s almost like being in a museum – except everything is for sale, and our staff is on hand to point you in the right direction or answer any questions regarding the history of any intriguing items. Be in the loop and visit Antiques on Howard at 199 Howard Street – which is located in between Magic Cycles and Char Restaurant.  828-262-1957. Check out Antiques on Howard on Facebook. See ad on page 84

THE ART CELLAR BANNER ELK. Tis the season…for art, and The Art Cellar Gallery & Frame Shop is celebrating its 20th anniversary in the High Country. From fine art to folk art, from metalwork to glass, from pottery to paintings, The Art Cellar has that unique, treasured gift perfect special occasions, Hanukkah, Christmas and the Winter Solstice for the art lover and the artist within. Established in 1993, The

Art Cellar began as the lifelong vision of Pamela McKay, who focuses on showcasing the artwork of those indigenous to the mountains of Western North Carolina, which has had an impact on so many in the arts. Whether it is fresh from the painter’s easel, potter’s wheel, sculpture studio or workbench, The Art Cellar has grand sculptures, ceramic serving pieces and the perfect coffee cup, glass bowls, ornaments, small paintings and much more – including gift certificates for art or framing. The Art Cellar is located at 920 Shawneehaw Avenue on N.C. 184.  828-898-5175. See ad on page 15

blowing rock estate jewelry BLOWING ROCK. Blowing Rock Estate Jewelry and Antiques, located on Sunset Drive is your local avenue for beautiful jewelry and antique finds. A family owned and operated local store, they have a huge selection of platinum and 14 and 18 kt fine and estate jewelry. They specialize in diamonds, various precious colored gemstones and unique heirloom jewelry of all kinds. Since 1988, Blowing Rock Estate Jewelry has been providing fantastic service to patrons all across the High Coun-

try. Make your way in today to see what you can find. You may find your next family heirloom.  828-295-4500. See ad on page 29

BOONE MALL BOONE. With an varied mix of stylish, namebrand establishments, such as Belk, JC Penny, TJ Maxx, Panera Bread Company, Bath and Body Works, Radio Shack, Old Navy, Black Bear Books and much more, it’s no wonder Boone Mall is called “The Hub of the High Country.” With ample parking and long hours of operation, the Boone Mall is the one-stop shop for all your shopping needs and basic necessities. Need your hair styled or nails cured? Check out Regis Hair Salons and Le’s Spa & Nails; Shoes? The Shoe Department; Glasses or contacts? Blue Ridge Vision; Jewelry? Saslo Jewelers; A four wheeler? Brushy Mountain Motorsports. The list is endless.Where else can you do all of that and grab a bite to eat? What other fantastic shops are there?Well, there’s Claire’s, Cookies ‘n Cream, Gigi’s Uniforms, GNC, Hallmark, Maurice’s, Primo’s Pizza Pasta Subs, RUE-21, Sagesport, Super Clips, South’s Clothiers, Sports Fanatic, Tucker’s Cafe and much more. The Boone Mall is centrally located with entrances off of N.C. 105 and U.S. 321. It’s open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. and on Sundays from 12:30 to 5:30 p.m.  828-264-7286. See ad on page 62



Huge Selection and Styles of Braided Rugs Made in North Carolina with 1000’s of Choices of High Quality Hand Knots to Colorful Outdoor Rugs to Meet all Design Needs. Offering Unique Furniture and Accessories.

BLOWING ROCK. 1053 Main Street // // (828) 295-9979


BLOWING ROCK. Established in North Carolina 1917, Capel Rugs is the oldest and largest privately owned rug manufacturer and importer in the United States. Capel Rugs is committed to manufacturing a large number of its rugs in the USA. Capel’s selection of Made in the USA rugs include all of its signature American Originals braided rugs as well as its collection of indoor/outdoor bordered rugs and Capel’s Creative Concepts of custom bordered rugs are Made in the USA, giving consumers the opportunity to receive quality products at a speed that can only be made possible through domestic production. Visiting our store in Blowing Rock and you can choose from an unrivaled selection of rugs including traditional hand knots, oneof-a-kind rugs, casual designs, and contemporary rugs with more than 10,000 styles to meet the decorating needs of every consumer. You’ll find the largest selection of braided rugs in the High Country along with unique home accessories including furniture accent pieces to lamps of all styles. Designer services are offered free to help you pick the perfect rug. Just stop in to see how we can make your home beautiful.  828-295-9979. See ad on page 83 July 2013

High Country Magazine


Vesta C

Traders of 8 8 Treasures

Consignment Shop

3,000 sq. ft. of unique, classic pieces! 109-1 Aho Road, Blowing Rock


GAINES KIKER Silversmith / Goldsmith

CARLTON GALLERY BANNER ELK. One of the most established fine art galleries in North Carolina, Carlton Gallery features a spirited collection of artwork in a casually elegant atmosphere. Celebrating nearly 30 years of business in the High Country, owner Toni Carlton selects creations from traditional to contemporary and features a wide variety of fine art and upscale handmade crafts by over 200 local, regional and national artisans. From extraordinary blown glass and exceptional pottery to designer jewelry and original paintings in oil, watercolor, acrylic and mixed media, we offer an array of exceptional gift ideas for visitors and collectors, alike. Workshops are conducted by gallery artists in oils, acrylics, watercolor, drawing, expressive and intuitive arts and mixed media collage. These workshops include traditional and abstract landscapes, still life, figurative and visionary. The Carlton Gallery is located at 10360 on N.C. 105 in the Grandfather Community.  828-963-4288. See ad on page 17

The Country Gourmet

Specializing in Custom Design Working Studio and Gallery 132 Morris Street - Blowing Rock





199 Howard St. • Boone, NC 28607 84

High Country Magazine

S July 2013

FOSCOE. Owner Betsy Murrelle has been serving sophisticated customers from around the world since 1974. The Country Gourmet is a gourmet kitchen and home accessory shop that abounds in style, selection and service. Located in Foscoe, The Country Gourmet has what ever you need to set a beautiful table with an endless variety of linens, table cloths, runners, place mats and napkins of every size and color. With dozens of name brand selections, The Country Gourmet carries a large selection of the finest ceramic tableware handcrafted in Italy, classic glassware, pewter and casual flatware, Italian and casual dinnerware, cutlery, cookware, kitchenware and a variety of collectible accessories for the home that would always make the perfect gift. Whether it’s a casual or an elegant occasion, The Country Gourmet has the goods to set a beautiful table, impress guests and eat and cook in style.And, owner Betsy Murrelle says, “If we don’t have what you are looking for in stock, we will find it for you!” The Country Gourmet is located 10543-5 on N.C. 105.  828-963-5269. See ad on page 83

DEWOOLFSON FOSCOE. When you spend one-third of your life sleeping, a quality down pillow, comforter and/or feathered bed is one of the best investments for a rejuvenating, restful sleep. DeWoolfson is a High Coun-

try business, born and bred. Although DeWoolfson imports a variety of fabrics and goose down fills from Eastern Europe, the business’s office, store and factory are located in Foscoe, supplying European-influenced down and products and fine linens to the world’s most comfortable sleepers. Custom comforters and the other products are made to order and shipped within 24 to 48 hours all over the High Country, nation and world. DeWoolfson also stocks one of the largest selections of luxury European linens found anywhere – from France, Italy, Belgium, Switzerland, and other locales. These include well-known names such as Abyss and Habidecor, Matouk, Sferra, Yves Delorme and many more. Good night and sleep tight.  800-833-3696. www. and See ad on page 11

DOE RIDGE POTTERY BOONE. The reasonably-priced pottery is stunning, the form and color exceptional. Bob Meier fell in love with pottery in 1973 after taking a ceramics course on a whim to fill his class schedule at ASU. In 1988, he initially established his studio out of his home on Doe Ridge Road. Today, the workshop/gallery is located in downtown Boone and hundreds of beautiful pieces decorate the gallery, which is home to 14 other talented artists - from functional pieces that are safe for food, drink, ovens, microwaves and dishwashers to home decor such as lamps and vases. Also, several specialty items exist, such as handmade sinks and the unusual vegetable steamer. A trip to the gallery sometimes feels like a field trip. The studio is visible from the gallery, and if you walk in at the right time, you may see potters in action, throwing clay on the wheel, entranced in that “Zen-like state.” “I enjoy the process of making things in series where you’re making the same thing over and over again,” Meier said. “You can almost let your mind wander and it’s like a mantra. You get into a zone or Zen-like state. It’s a nice place to be because you get into this rhythm of work that creates a calming, metaphysical zone.” Doe Ridge Pottery is located at 585 West King Street below The Bead Box.  828-264-1127. See ad on page 75

Gaines Kiker’s Studio BLOWING ROCK. A designer metalsmith, Gaines Kiker specializes in silver, gold, platinum, mixed metals and precious stones. His Blowing Rock gallery showcases an impressive collection of sculpture and contemporary jewelry that includes earrings, necklaces, bracelets and

functional art and custom designs. “The feel of the metal in my hands and the gratification involved in the creative process continues to inspire me,” Kiker said. “What I want to do is take your idea and make it into something that is an expression of your personality.” Kiker earned a BFA in Metal Design from East Carolina University and then completed an apprenticeship with Ubaldo Vitali, an Italian silversmith in New York. He has studied at Penland School of Crafts, at the Gemological Institute of America and was a student in the University of Georgia’s graduate studies abroad program in Cortona, Italy. From jewelry and sculpture to wedding, wood and custom pieces, Gaines Kiker’s Studio offers an array of artistic and functional pieces that would be perfect gifts. Gaines Kiker’s Studio is located at 132 Morris Street in Blowing Rock.  828-2953992. See ad on page 84

Hardin FINE Jewelry

BANNER ELK. Hardin Jewelry in scenic Banner Elk is a must for any lover of fine jewelry, or for anyone who is just curious about beautiful pieces. This local jewelry destination specializes in unique gems, dazzling diamonds and eclectic gifts for that special someone. It is also a must see shop if you just feel like indulging yourself a little! Their elegant jewelry showroom showcases the best in fine gems. Featured at the shop are rare, precious and semi-precious gemstones in exquisite settings. This lovely little shop, located just down the road, is the perfect place to find just what you’ve been looking for in a new piece of fine jewelry.  828-898-4653. See ad on page 15

ry’s ount igh C for H e Th Choice n panio s Com Product l a m i An

Kevin Beck Studio

BOONE. A common response to my work is, “I love your use of color! How did you decide to place that color in that spot?”. My answer is “ That is the color that I saw. If my mind says the color is pink, purple, vivid green or... that’s the way I paint it. I trust my eye.” I am an observer. For as long as I can remember I’ve been blessed with strong visual memories of time, place and feelings: how a certain rock sets at the edge of a field in Holmes County, how the trees are sculpted by the wind in Arroyo Hondo or the way the mist swirls down from the ridge top in Finca la Swisse. I paint in an attempt to express my feelings about these visions. I have honed my craft and developed my “eye” by painting thousands of works on hundreds of yards of canvas and paper over years of dedicated work. My work can be view locally at Carlton Gallery in Foscoe or give me a call.  828-963-1181. See ad on page 95



and ds Frien

Quality Foods, Treats, Nutritionals Unique Gifts and Accessories Technical Gear for Active Dogs

Dogs Welcome

Located in Foscoe/Grandfather Community

10244 Hwy. 105 South Banner Elk, NC 28604

Meet Our Four Legged Staff

Highway 105 Foscoe • 828-963-2470

828 963 9109 July 2013

High Country Magazine


MAST GENERAL STORE BOONE & VALLE CRUCIS. Imagine downtown Boone or Valle Crucis without a Mast General Store. It’s almost inconceivable. The store is a tour de force. Whether snow is on the ground or the leaves are green, yellow red or orange, more visitors pack into the Mast General Store locations in the High Country than they do The Rock during an ASU football game. The stores are packed with the highest-of-quality goods that range from rugged apparel and gourmet kitchenware to old-fashioned toys and women’s fashions that it is also inconceivable to leave the store empty handed. Oh, and don’t forget about the Candy Barrel. Not only has Mast General Store revived the downtowns that it inhabits, but the Mast General Store Family has been good stewards of the High Country and good neighbors to the so many that call the High Country home. Two locations exist on N.C. 194 in Valle Crucis.  828-963-6511. See ad on page 13

ReGear outdoors BOONE. The Appalachian Mountain country surrounding Boone offers an unending number of opportunities for playing in the great outdoors. Regear Outdoors is an outfitter that allows you to buy and sell lightly-used outdoor gear and clothing. Our purpose is to allow you to clean out your closets, trade in your unused equipment, and pick up that item that you have been looking for – all at a fraction of the cost that you would spend on brand new gear. Regear helps to keep older gear out of the landfills through repairing and re-purposing it to someone who can use it. We support local craftsmen and women who are up-cycling items like climbing rope into dog leashes and skateboards into chairs and jewelry. We partner with local non-profits to support outdoor education and conservancy. Owners Rio and Ashley can help you find a gently used bicycle for bombing down mountain trails or just riding around town, as well as the gear to go with it! Regear is open Monday through Saturday from 10 am until 6pm, and Sundays from 12 til 6. Visit Regear at 967 Rivers Street-check them out on facebook.  828.386.6100. See ad on page 85

Serves you right BLOWING ROCK. Serves you right is one of Blowing Rock’s largest and most diverse stores. The shop proudly features gifts and essentials for entertaining at the 86

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July 2013

home. We have the area’s funniest cards and beverage napkins along with dinnerware and serving accessories to serve all of your entertainment needs. We also offer an extensive barbecue, picnic and tailgate department within the store. In addition, we also have a new Infant & Children’s Boutique with exceptional quality gifts for the younger entertainers. We have the largest selection of paper supplies, party goods for entertaining, gifts for any entertainer & essentials for kitchens, the table and the bar. In stock are famous names such as Herend, Glen, Melissa and Doug, Root Candles and more. 828-2954438. See ad on page 21

THE SHOPPES AT FARMER’S HARDWARE BOONE. Some places in downtown Boone are iconic and provide a link to the past. Think Boone Drug, Appalachian Twin Theater and Farmer’s Hardware. All three, which have been quintessential to downtown for decades, have had to adapt to the changes and pressures of technology and big-box stores. Farmer’s Hardware, which originally opened in 1924 as a hardware retailer, closed its doors in 2004, changed its business model and reopened the next summer as an eclectic emporium called The Shoppes at Farmer’s Hardware. In 1924, Clyde Greene opened Farmer’s Hardware at the current Boone Bagelry location. Soon, Farmer’s moved to the corner of Depot and King streets, where it stands, albeit in a different form, today. It’s still a local, family business, though, with Greene’s descendents running the show and providing a 21st-century vision for Farmer’s. The Shoppes at Farmer’s Hardware has more than 100 shops and features a wide variety of merchandise including jewelry, handbags, totes, footwear, apparel, baby gifts, handcrafts, framed art, home décor, furniture, toys, stringed instruments, kitchenware, birdfeeders and much more.  828-264-8801. See ad on page 39

Tatum Galleries BANNER ELK. A fresh, new vision for your office or home– that’s what Sally and Steve Tatum have, for decades, offered the High Country with their “Home Décor Center,” known as Tatum Galleries in Banner Elk. Since it opened nearly 30 years ago, the showroom has expanded to 6,000 square feet and includes indoor and outdoor furniture, bedding, floor, wall and window treatment and a huge collection of lamps, artwork, decorative accessories and other unique furnishings. With a seasoned interior design team, the staff

offers years of experience and a variety of styles and choices that can accommodate all design needs and budgets – not to mention great service! The vast collection that Tatum Galleries offers will accentuate your home with timeless furnishings. Whether you need a little direction or a complete revamping, Tatum Galleries can help. Let their beautifully decorated showroom spark your imagination and introduce you to the possibilities that await you inside your home. Tatum Galleries is located at 5320 N.C. 105 in Banner Elk.  828-963-6466. See ad on this page 19


blowing rock. Vesta C is a unique consignment shop that caters to finer, classic pieces of furniture, home furnishings and decor items. Over 3000 sq ft of showroom filled with beautiful selections for you to peruse. Located between Boone and Blowing Rock in a warehouse building on Hwy. 321 right near the Mustard Seed Nursery. Come find us we’re traders of treasures. n 828-295-4707. See ad on page 84

Watsonatta BOONE. “Everything for the horse and the horse’s boss.” Though it’s funny, that’s not a joke. Watsonatta Western World’s store in downtown Boone is overflowing with western wear and includes some of the largest collections in the High Country of cowboy boots, work boots, hats, caps, leather coats, genuine furs, purses, leather handbags, saddlebags, tack, belt buckles, men’s and women’s clothing, toys, saddles and much more. Recently, local owners Darrel and Ellen Watson, stocked the store with the highly anticipated and coveted Game Day Boots with the ASU logo. With the college football playoffs taking place, now is the perfect time to support the Black and Gold – and at the same time support one of downtown Boone’s favorite businesses. Watsonatta Western World has provided the High Country with quality merchandise for four decades. The shop is located at 711 W. King St. Next time you’re strolling through downtown Boone, stop and see their wide array of country-western merchandise.  828-264-4540. Check out Watsonatta Western World on Facebook. See ad on page 97






Caring Professional Comprehensive Dentistry for Adults and Children We Accept and File Insurance and Payment Plans Available

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516 New Market Blvd. • Boone, NC • Located Across from Boone United Methodist Church

July 2013

High Country Magazine


A Guide to Gem Mining Rubies, Emeralds, Topaz ... oh my Story By Chelsea Pardue Photography by Jerry Sebastian and Eitan Abramowitz


ore so than the precious and valuable stones you will find sifting through rocks and dirt in wooden screens, mining memories in the High Country is at the core of the gem mining experience. So, too, is discovery. Children and kids at heart will have a blast at the mines, not knowing what they may find, and simultaneously taking a crash course in geology and learning about the sublime minerals found on Earth. Rubies, emeralds, topaz and quartz are among the many gemstones found at the local gem mines, regional to where 88

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the Carolina Gold Rush, the first in the United States, began in 1799. In an area that still overflows with minerals, the High Country has a variety of gem mines for tourists and locals, alike, to enjoy, discover and mine memories that will last forever. Detailed descriptions of each attraction are featured on the following pages to learn more about five local mines. See which mine you like the best and go have a visit – or if you have the time, visit them all!

July 2013

High Country Magazine


The Greater Foscoe Mining Company


TOP Customers return year after year to the Foscoe mine where the view from the mine overlooks the Foscoe valley and the setting make it a fun place to visit. BOTTOM Kenny Pickett has been making jewelry for over 35 years and if his customers find a stone that they really like, he can cut and finish the gem and then custom design a jewelry setting for the piece.


High Country Magazine

July 2013

itting atop a hill as you drive into Foscoe on N.C. 105, this mine is hard to miss with its red and yellow banner sign. Kenny Pickett started it as a family business in 1988 for his own children, but it quickly grew into a large business with the help of tourists. Pickett’s big focus is still on the children who visit his mine. “We concentrate on teaching the children,” he said. “They’re having so much fun, they don’t realize they’re having a gem class at the same time. When they get through gem mining, we make them a chart, tape down all their rocks and minerals so they know what they are, and by the time the kids get through playing, they’ve soaked in so much information, they love it.” After the children are done mining, their mothers or grandmothers are often interested in having the best stones made into jewelry. That’s Pickett’s specialty. “What makes us a lot different than everybody else is I’m also in the jewelry business, and I’ve been doing gold work since the early 1980s,” he said. “We facet and polish gemstones of every color, and when they’re finished, many of our customers want them set in gold settings. I also do custom carvings and one-of-a-kind pieces.” Buckets at The Greater Foscoe Mining Company range from $16 to $212, and bigger buckets guarantee bigger finds. Many customers, especially the tourists who helped to make The Greater Foscoe Mining Company a success, return year after year to try out their luck with different buckets. “We have a lot of return customers,” Pickett said. “And a lot of them tell me this is the highlight of their vacation.” • 828-963-5928

Foggy Mountain Gem Mine


oggy Mountain is just a short drive down N.C. 105. Located near the Tomato Shack, it’s easy to miss if you’re not looking. Once inside, customers can see exactly what types of stones are in the mine by looking at the jewelry sprawled out in the cabinets. Luke Critcher, the co-owner, is either standing behind them telling people about the stones they’ve found, or he’s in the back room cutting a stone for a customer. “It allows me to work with finished stones from the mining to the finished jewelry,” he said. “At a regular jewelry store, you’re just buying a stone and selling it. I’ve always been creative, and this place allows me to use that creativity.” Customers can buy buckets that range in price from $17 to $120. The buckets are prefilled with rough gemstones, rocks and dirt, and Foggy Mountain guarantees good stones in each bucket. If customers patiently sift through the rocks and dirt, the stones will emerge. “We make sure there’s a consistent amount in every bucket,” Critcher said. “We can guarantee you’re going to find stuff. After [your done], you bring it in here and lay it out. [We’ll] show you what it looks like cut and polished. We’ll tell you what would be good to do something with and what would be good to just stick in a fish tank.” Although Critcher grew up in the Boone area, he left to attend college in California. He’s a certified gemologist, and he has the credentials to do jewelry appraisals. After he learned the tools of the trade, he returned to his beloved North Carolina to start working at Foggy Mountain. His love of his profession and the area where he works is evident. “It’s a real geologically unique area,” he said. “You can’t go many places and find what you can find here. North Carolina emeralds, they rival the finest emeralds in the world as far as color and clarity. Besides that, we have amazing weather and beautiful scenery.” • 828-963-4367

TOP Gem mining at Foggy Mountain is a positive family adventure, both educational and fun. Here you can also find gifts, mineral specimens and jewelry. BOTTOM Once you find your rough precious stones, the staff can cut them into gems that can become priceless family heirlooms. All work is done on site.

July 2013

High Country Magazine


Bill Wilkinson opened the oldest gem mine in the county in 1984 to compliment the trout farm he opened a year earlier The mine is set on the grounds of the trout park making for a pretty location surrounded by lakes where customers can also go fishing for trout. There’s something for the whole family at Grandfather Trout Farm.

Grandfather Trout Farm and Gem Mine


or those who are into outdoor sports, this gem mine offers more than just gems. Customers can start the day by fishing at the trout farm and finish it up with some fun in the mines. Buckets start at $15 and range to $40, but those who are fishing can get a bundle deal. Bill Wilkinson opened the trout farm in 1983, and a year later, he opened the gem mine right beside it. Both are located just off N.C. 105 in the Grandfather Community in a flat, grassy area, so it’s handicap-accessible. “Trout is a tourist-type operation, and the gem mine just complements the tourism part of our operation,” Wilkinson said. Before opening his own mine, Wilkinson mined with a friend in Franklin. That friend turned him onto mining and then introduced him to his sources. Once Wilkinson opened his own mine, he directed people to jewelry stores that could cut and set the 92

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stones. Eventually, he was able to open his own jewelry shop, but it has since closed. “You can still find the gems here and we’ll identify them for you and tell you where to go if you’d like to have them cut,” Wilkinson said. One perk of having the trout farm as the main business is that Wilkinson can use the money he makes from that to stock his buckets with good gems. He said he offers a wide variety, although most of the stones are emeralds, amethysts, rubies and topaz. “We’re the oldest gem mine in the county,” he said. “You can get the full experience of finding a variety of gemstones in every bucket.” • 828-963-5098

Sugar Creek Mining Company


lthough most of the mines in the High Country have been open for many years, occasionally there’s a newcomer. Last year, Sugar Creek Mining Company opened in Banner Elk on Tynecastle Highway. “There’s not really any in this direct area, so we saw a good opportunity,” said co-owner Matt Leonard. He and his brother, Chris, have had an interest in mining since they were children. As adults, they decided that instead of just mining for fun, they would try to make a living out of it. Although Having open just last year, Sugar Creek is the newest gem mine to the High Country, they’re new to the gem-mining scene, and the only mine in the Banner Elk area. Some members of the staff began their minthey say they’ve had great success so far. ing careers over 40 years ago, but all the staff can be described as historians, jewelLeonard thinks the success is partly due ers, comedians, geologist, silversmiths and gemologist. The staff will set you up at the to his staff. flume-line with all the instruction and equipment you need to become a certified NC “I think the people we have work- Gemstone miner. ing here really make it unique,” Leonard said. “We actually have some gemologists on staff.” Leonard said the other reason he’s been successful is because of customer satisfaction. He sells buckets that range in price from $16.95 to $499, and he promises that whether customers buy the one gallon bucket or the wheelbarrow, they won’t be disappointed. “They’re actually kind of shocked because they’ve found so many different types of stones as well as the size of the stones,” Leonard said. “Every time someone comes in we always hear that they didn’t expect to find as much as they did.” After groups finish mining, they can bring their treasures to Sugar Creek’s staff to have them identified. Afterwards, the staff will cut the stones and have them set into jewelry. “The whole thing is about having a good time,” Leonard said. • 828-898-4367

FUN FOR THE WHOLE FAMILY! 3045 Tynecastle Hwy. in Banner Elk, NC 828-898-GEMS July 2013

High Country Magazine


Doc’s Rocks


oc’s Rocks is located off N.C. 321 in between Boone and Blowing Rock next door to Mystery Hill. If families want to have a full-day excursion, they can start off at Mystery Hill and then wander to Doc’s Rocks after battling gravity and other optical illusions. With a background in geology, Doc McCoy focuses on teaching people about how the rocks formed more so than how to make a piece of valuable jewelry. Because the Appalachian Mountains are one of the oldest ranges in the world, he said it’s an ideal area for the mining business. “I wanted a teaching aspect,” McCoy said. “We’re different than any other gem mine in the United States. I’m a geologist. Instead of doing a jewelry aspect, we do a history aspect.” Buckets range in price from $10 to $30. Although McCoy doesn’t guarantee bigger or more expansive gems in bigger buckets, he did say that if customers find nothing, he will provide another bucket a no charge for a second chance. He added that before he gives a customer a bucket, he doesn’t know what’s in it, and sometimes the results are even bigger than he expected. “It doesn’t matter what size buckets you buy,” he said. “You have just as good a chance with a small one as you do a big one. So that way everybody, regardless of what your budget is, has the same chance.” McCoy also takes some customers out into the Boone area to look for gems in nature. This experience can be a bit more difficult than sifting through dirt at a gem mine, but for him, it’s just about having fun and learning. “It’s a chance to learn something new and not put a lot of money into doing it,” he said. “You can find a nice gemstone and have a whole set of jewelry made and still come out about onetenth of what you would spend in the jewelry store for the same quality. • 828-264-4499 94

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Doc’s Gem Mine was recognized by the NC Board of Education for its education based gem mining, teaching the Geology of the Appalachian Mountains. The staff at Doc’s takes great pride in offering an educational experience in mining as well os the excitement of finding gem stones. On site is also a mineral and fossil museum and a coffee shop. Doc has been cutting gemstones since he was 19 years old and loves to teach this dying art to anyone who is willing to learn.

Creating Memories Together


inding gems in actual mines is difficult work that requires a lot of patience. By visiting one of the gem mines in the High Country, the hard part is already done. No tools are necessary, and even small children can find beautiful gems. Gem mining shaped much of the High Country’s history, and both children and adults can learn about that history while having fun. It can be a short activity that only takes about an hour, or diligent miners can spend the whole day meticulously going through their buckets. “It’s one of the most geological diverse areas in the world, especially for finding gemstones,” Leonard said. Most importantly, it’s a good way for families to spend time together and create memories. The best part is that at a gem mine, visitors can take pieces that will make the memories last forever. “You’re not just walking into a store and buying something,” Critcher said. “There’s that memory that’s associated with the return. A piece of jewelry, every time you wear it you think of the experience.”

Represented By

CaRlton GalleRy 10360 Hwy 105 S Banner elk, nc 28604 (828) 963-4288

Kevin BecK

Tuesday – Saturday: 10:00 – 5:00 Sunday: 11:00 – 5:00 BecK STUDiO: 1590 Shulls Mill Rd. Boone, nc 28607 (828) 963-1181 Thursday – Saturday: 11:00 – 5:00 Sunday: 1:00 – 5:00 July 2013

High Country Magazine


ADV E R T I S E R S I N D E X Please patronize the advertisers in High Country Magazine, and when you purchase from them, please be sure to mention that you saw their ad in our pages. Thank them for their support of this publication by giving them yours! Without their support, this magazine would not be possible. To all of our advertisers, a most sincere thank you.

All Area Codes are 828 unless noted. ADVERTISER



1861 Farmhouse Restaurant & Winery.............. 963-6301........................... 44 9 Lives Antiques & Consignment...................... 963-9109........................... 85 A Cleaner World............................................... 265-1888�������������������������� 37 Abingdon, Virginia....................................... 888-489-4144........................ 69 Antiques on Howard......................................... 262-1957........................... 84 Appalachian Regional Orthopaedic Center........386-BONE........................... 27 Almost Rodeo Drive.................................295-3422/898-4553................... 81 Alta Vista Gallery.............................................. 963-5247........................... 63 Art Cellar......................................................... 898-5175�������������������������� 15 BJ Resort Wear................................................ 898-4229........................... 80 Blowing Rock Ale House and Inn...................... 414-9600........................... 51 Blowing Rock Estate Jewelry............................ 295-4500........................... 29 Blowing Rock Frameworks & Gallery................ 295-0041............................. 6 Boone Healing Arts Center............................... 386-1172........................... 71 Boone Mall...................................................... 264-7286........................... 62 BRAHM............................................................ 295-9099........................... 75 Broyhill Home Collections................................ 295-0965���������������������������� 4 Café Portofino.................................................. 264-7772 ������������������������� 45 Canyons.......................................................... 295-7661 ������������������������� 49 Capel Rugs...................................................... 295-9979........................... 83 Carlton Gallery................................................. 963-4288�������������������������� 17 Casa Rustica.................................................... 262-5128�������������������������� 46 Castle Rock Realty........................................... 898-4444........................... 77 Char Restaurant................................................ 266-2179........................... 49 Chestnut Grille................................................. 414-9230........................... 43 Country Gourmet.............................................. 963-5269........................... 83 DeWoolfson Down ...................................... 800-833-3696 ���������������������� 11 Dianne Davant & Associates . .......................... 898-9887 ��Inside Front Cover Doe Ridge Pottery............................................ 264-1127�������������������������� 75 Doncaster Retail............................................... 295-4200........................... 79 Eat Crow.......................................................... 963-8228........................... 52 Echota......................................................... 800-333-7601 ��������� Back Cover Eseeola Lodge.................................................. 733-4311........................... 45 Fairway Café.................................................... 264-0233........................... 44 Fine Arts & Master Craft Festival...................... 898-5605........................... 17 Forget-Me-Nots Landscaping........................... 773-3763........................... 29 Frye Regional Medical Center........................... 315-3391............................. 5 Gaines Kiker Silversmith / Goldsmith................ 295-3992........................... 84 Gamekeeper..................................................... 963-7400 ������������������������� 48 Grandfather Vineyard & Winery......................... 963-2400........................... 19 Hardin Fine Jewelry.......................................... 898-4653�������������������������� 15 Heavenly Touch Massage................................. 264-4335............................. 6




JoLynn Enterprises, Inc.................................... 297-2109........................... 63 Joy Bistro........................................................ 265-0600�������������������������� 51 Kevin Beck....................................................... 963-1181........................... 95 LifeStore...................................................... 800-723-4718........................ 38 Linville Falls Winery......................................... 765-1400........................... 61 Louisiana Purchase...................................963-5087/898-5656................... 47 Makoto’s Japanese Steak House & Sushi Bar..... 264-7976�������������������������� 53 Mast General Store .....................................866-FOR-MAST���������������������� 13 Melanies.......................................................... 263-0300........................... 53 Mountain Dog & Friends.................................. 963-2470�������������������������� 85 Mountain Land............................................. 800-849-9225����������������������� 41 Mountain Tile................................................... 265-0472�������������������������� 59 Mountaineer Landscaping................................ 733-3726���������������������������� 4 Mustard Seed................................................... 295-4585........................... 41 Page Dentistry.................................................. 265-1661�������������������������� 87 Piedmont Federal Bank..................................... 264-5244............................. 3 Red Onion Café................................................ 264-5470�������������������������� 50 Regear Outdoors.............................................. 386-6100........................... 85 Serves You Right.............................................. 295-4438........................... 21 Seven Devils.................................................... 963-5343........................... 71 Shoppes at Farmers Hardware.......................... 264-8801........................... 39 Six Pence......................................................... 295-3155........................... 47 Speckled Trout Cafe......................................... 295-9819........................... 50 Stick Boy Bread Company................................ 268-9900........................... 53 Stone Cavern................................................... 963-8453���������������������������� 7 Sugar Creek Mining Company......................... 898-GEMS........................... 93 Sugar Mountain Resort..................................... 898-4521�������������������������� 31 Sunalei............................................................ 263-8711........................... 99 Sunrise Grill..................................................... 262-5400........................... 52 Tatum Galleries & Interiors............................... 963-6466�������������������������� 19 Timberlake’s Restaurant at Chetola................... 295-5505........................... 48 Todd Bush Photography................................... 898-8088�������������������������� 87 Todd Rice Real Estate....................................... 263-8711........................... 62 Tour de Art....................................................... 963-7246............................. 8 Twigs Restaurant & Bar..................................... 295-5050�������������������������� 51 University Nissan............................................. 264-7726............................. 9 Vesta C Consignment Shop.............................. 295-4707........................... 84 Vidalia Restaurant............................................ 263-9176........................... 52 Watsonatta....................................................... 264-4540........................... 97 Wellspring Retirement Community............... 800-547-5387........................ 76 Zoey Brookshire............................................... 406-9744............................. 8 Zuzda............................................................... 898-4166�������������������������� 46 96

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WATSONATTA WESTERN WORLD 711 W King Street • Downtown Boone • 828-264-4540 July 2013

High Country Magazine


Parting Shot...


Todd Bush

Jim Swinkola during their annual dinner meeting at the Blowing Rock Country Club

Jim Swinkola, CEO at Grandfather Home for Children Is Retiring This Year


n the first chapter of James, the Bible lays out instructions for how to glorify God. The 27th verse reads, “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” It’s rare to come across someone who has so literally walked out this scripture, but there’s nothing common about Grandfather Home for Children’s longtime CEO, Jim Swinkola. This is Swinkola’s last year at the helm of Grandfather Home for Children. He will be retiring from Grandfather Home after 31 years of guiding one of the High Country’s most distinguished – and historic – help ministries. The Grandfather Home for Children Board of Trustees approached Swinkola in 1983 and asked him if he would consider leading the Grandfather Home ministry. Swinkola answered them the only way he knew how; he said that he’d pray about it. After lots of prayer and consideration, Swinkola accepted the Trustees’ offer. 98

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He approached each day of his 31 years of leadership in the same fashion. Bathing each decision in prayer, knowing that the consequences of those decisions would have a lasting effect on hundreds of children. God has honored Swinkola’s approach to service and the heart of the Grandfather Home ministry. Over the past three decades, the ministry has grown from a single residential program in Banner Elk to a comprehensive continuum of services including foster care and adoptions. With offices in Waynesville, Asheville, Banner Elk, Winston-Salem, Charlotte and Raleigh, the ministry is able to meet the needs of more than 500 traumatized children across North Carolina each year. When Swinkola joined the ministry in 1983, Grandfather Home required an administrator who would oversee the Christian love and healing provided to children, incorporate new treatment protocols, and develop financial resources to ensure sustainability of the mission. During his administration, Swinkola introduced many

practices to assure quality of programs and excellent outcomes for children, as well as steps to assure the sustainability of the ministry well into the future. Over three decades, Jim has instilled in his staff a desire to pursue excellence and focus on the ever-changing needs of the “Child Now Before Us.” This is evident in the national accreditations held by the organization, the expansion into new programs and the establishment of an endowment fund to support services when public funds fall short. There will be many things in the legacy Swinkola leaves behind, but perhaps most clear will be his dedication to the spiritual and emotional healing of children who have been traumatized by unimaginable abuse and neglect. As Jim prepares to step away from Grandfather Home for Children’s ministry, it’s apparent that he will continue his personal ministry of working for the greater good and bringing glory to God. He’ll take the next chapter in his life just as he has every other chapter, with prayer and diligence.

July 2013

High Country Magazine


Upturn. Downturn. Your Turn.

Some things never change. You watched while frenzied buyers purchased elsewhere at historic highs. You waited while the market inevitably made corrections. Through it all, the mountains never changed. And the things that drew over 500 families to Echota remained the same. Timeless mountain views. Exceptional value. Debt-free, resort-style amenities in the heart of the High Country. You watched. You waited. And now it’s your turn to enjoy Echota. Beautiful today. Beautiful tomorrow.

133 Echota Parkway, Boone, NC 800.333.7601 Call or stop in today to arrange a tour.

C               T                ,    100

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July 2013

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