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Here! Spring

Celebrating Alleghany & Ashe Counties N. Carolina • Grayson County Virginia

Riding the Back Roads Capturing the countryside

Brewing Nano & Micro

Fiber Envy Fine Fibers Here

Distance Running

Long & Short Runs

Take A Hike Spring 2018

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Early Spring Harshness vanished. A sudden softness has replaced the meadows' wintry grey. Little rivulets of water changed their singing accents. Tendernesses, hesitantly, reach toward the earth from space, and country lanes are showing these unexpected subtle risings that find expression in the empty trees. Rainer Maria Rilke Photo by Sarah Facemyer

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55 S. Main St. Sparta, NC 28675


5121 NC Hwy 88 W. Warrensville, NC 28693


Locally owned, locally loved Spring 2018

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AlleghanyCounty Ashe County North Carolina Grayson County Virginia


Riding the Backroads

Working Here ................. 8 Comfort Companions....11 Fries, Virginia..................16 Distance Running...........19 Farmers Markets ............26 Porch Ponderings ..........32 Calendar of Events ........36 Good Food.....................35



Fiber & Fiber Arts

Goats • Rabbits • Alpaca • Sheep HERE! is published by Kate, Ink 2 | HERE!

Advertiser Index.............39


Walking & Hiking

In Town and Further Out Design: Kate Irwin Design Assistant Isabel Engel



Brewing Community Contributing Writer: Lynn Worth

Spring 2018

Riding the Backroads with Bonita

Sunset in Ashe County

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Bonita Loggins is a lifelong resident of northwestern North Carolina having lived in Alleghany and Ashe counties, with roots in Grayson County Virginia. She has taken many wonderful photos of Ashe, Alleghany and Grayson Counties and the photos on these three pages were selected from the many she has as a brief photo essay for this inaugural issue of Here!. “In 2015, the shutterbug bit me me and I have not put down my camera since� says Bonita.

The Dam in Mouth of Wilson

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Spring 2018

From the Forest to the Floor Forever Sustainable

Highest-quality Appalachian harvested & reclaimed hardwood flooring.

Structural & Non-Structural Beams & Beam Style Mantels.

Consumers Contractors Distributors WE CARRY Maple Red Oak White Oak Wormy Red Oak Cherry Wormy Chestnut

Hickory Walnut Heart Pine

We specialize in Reclaimed Hardwoods

2 1/4" to 8" widths We can cut to 1/4" & 1/2" increments Our most popular hardwood flooring is varied widths

Grayson Millworks Co., Inc Mailing: PO, Box 804 Factory: 315 W. Main St. Independence, Va. 24348


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Your own


Right next to the house

12 Private Acres $260,000 call

Chris Morton 276-773-3333

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Piney Creek, North Carolina

Spring 2018

“We are so blessed to have so much beauty here in our Blue Ridge mountains. The landscapes, sunrises and sunsets, and the Blue Ridge Parkway fill my heart with such a sense of beauty and awe,” She says. “I love the old barns, and farms and the abandoned old homes that dot this area. They speak to me of times past and stories untold of hard work, love, life, and the resiliency of our neighbors who have come before us.”

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Working HERE

Blue Ridge Business Development Center Accessing computers and high speed internet.


t wasn’t that long ago that working from home or telecommuting was difficult, if not impossible, in our area. With improved internet capacity to support data demands, it is a reality that you can “work from here”. In 2017 Sparta, NC was included in a list of towns where “you can afford to be an entrepreneur” praising low cost of living and access to a gigabit of fiber optic internet availability providing speeds that rival more metropolitan areas. “We have 100-percent fiber availability in our cooperative service footprint in Alleghany and 99.9-percent fiber availability in our cooperative footprint in Ashe,” said Karen Powell of SkyLine/SkyBest. “When we expanded to serve the West Jefferson/Jefferson communities in 2003 through SkyBest, our Competitive Local Exchange Carrier (CLEC), we overbuilt that area with all new copper-based infrastructure. Within our Ashe CLEC footprint, we have since begun transitioning some areas to fiber while a few communities are still served with copper. The company also is pursuing grant opportunities to support further CLEC expansion to unserved

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or underserved areas of Watauga and Avery counties and Grayson County, Virginia.” Localities within Alleghany, Ashe, and Grayson Counties have seen and addressed the need for connectivity and workspace and within each county, internet access has been established for public use. In Alleghany County the Troutman factory, closed for many years, has been repurposed and houses the Alleghany Campus of Wilkes Community College, the Blue Ridge Business Development Center (BDC), and the Alleghany County Public Library. The BDC provides free internet access, afordable office spaces, and conference facilities. A comfortable and efficient environment for a new start-up or an existing business, maintenance/housekeeping is provided, and parking is plentiful. A variety of businesses occupy some of the offices – DMV, counseling, arts council, graphic design and more. Grant, a community tucked neatly into the western part of Grayson County, converted a portion of their Grange Hall into a com-

Spring 2018

The sunny Grant Computing Center

gives tourists, visitors, and hikers from the Appalachian Trail a place to “check-in” and re-connect. It is an important part of the community, its residents and neighbors. “This center makes it possible for folks in this area to keep up with the times,” says James Parks, President of Goodwill Grange #959. “The Grange is an old facility with new technology. It is a great benefit beginning users and local start-up companies to have somewhere they

Grant Computer Center

puter center with a Community Connect Grant from the USDA. The grant money, with matching funds from Grayson County, and a commitment from the Goodwill Grange made it possible for this small community to have top notch connectivity and a community space for public computer access. The Grant Computer Center makes it possible for instructors to teach classes in other states and students to attend and participate in classes remotely. It allows musicians, artists, and craftsmen to sell their creations online and

58 South Main Street PO Box 1237 Sparta, NC 28675

Capstone Wellness Center Private outpatient counseling clinic offering services to adults, children, adolescents, couples, families, & groups. OFFICE LOCATIONS 189 Samaritan’s Ridge Rd Elkin, NC 28621

115 Atwood Street Sparta, NC 28675

Ph: 336-467-0489 • 888-507-1025 • Fx: 888-507-3159

Blue Ridge Business Development Center

336-372-5473 • 800-372-5473 • 336-245-9601(fx) …for all you need to know about Sparta and Alleghany County Virus Scan & Clean-up Computer Service FedEx Shipping Home & Small Business Networking Electronics Computer Supplies

16 S. Main St • Sparta • NC • 28675


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Office Supplies Accessories Antennas

Conference Room Meeting Space Office Space Parking WiFi Dedicated to creating business opportunities and advancing technology jobs, and skills.

Dale Caveny, Dir. 115 Atwood Street Sparta, NC 28675

336-372-1525 ext: 22 HERE! | 9

can get assistance with their devices and have access to office equipment without having to drive a long distance.” The Grant Computer Center has nine PC workstations, and provides printing/copying (for a minor fee). Staffed solely by volunteers, the computer center is open Monday through Friday and serves more than 60 visitors a week.

In Ashe County, the Lansing Computer Center is located in the Town Hall on B Street. Funded by a STEP (Small Town Economic Prosperity) Grant in 2009. The grant funded the purchase of six computers, desks and chairs that are set up in the meeting room. Visitors and residents have access to the computers during

regular Town Hall office hours. Often compared to early telephone connections, internet availability and access is not a luxury and is a necessity for business and a part of our daily lives. The ability to work from “Here” has been made possible by many cooperative efforts.


Wedding Photography Foxfire Realty “Find Your Freedom”®

Jay Woodruff

NC Broker/VA Sales 919.868.6675 • 336.372.5773


Alleghany JAM Golf Tournament

THE BEST BEEF STICKS IN THE WORLD Made in Grayson County, VA from local cattle. Find them at Food City or many local convenience stores. You can also purchase them directly on Distributed by Grayson Natural Farms, LLC 276-773-3712

High Meadows Golf & Country Club


Wayne Henderson & Friends The Harris Brothers • Alleghany JAM

Tuesday, June 19, 2018 Tickets Options: Golf & Lunch

Golf, Dinner & Concert

Dinner & Concert

336-572-5266 • 10 | HERE!


Comfort Companions Help with Alzheimer’s, Dementia, and Anxiety


anet Tompkins has had a fondness for the elderly since she was a child growing up in Sparta, NC. In college, she received the Spirit of Audrey Holland award—selected by her classmates as someone they would like to see work with their adult family member. As a speech pathologist she works closely with patients who suffer with or from stroke, Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. While working for a skilled nursing facilty in Galax, VA, she found many patients would become agitated or wander, so she, other therapists, and nurses would give patients something to occupy their time. Janet often found that the items were not age appropriate and frustrating.

Cater t Yoga Robin o H a t r Bikram Certified Teacher a p S Sparta, NC •


• Call/Text for Schedule

A Touch of Grace


GIFTS HOME DECOR 336-372-5551

38 S. Main St • Sparta, NC 28675

Email: Facebook: A Touch of Grace

Mindy Hall NC Broker/VA Sales

423-718-8452 336-372-5773

2760 US Hwy 21 S., Sparta, NC 28675

Foxfire Realty

“Find Your Freedom”®

With a mission to create something soothing for patients, she has created a line of soft, huggable Comfort Companions. All of them are a little bit different, but they all are huggable, have a soothing lavender scent, a keepsake pocket, and a name label. She has found that some use the keepsake pocket for a family photo, eye glasses, something personal, or a bit of candy. The lavendar scent can help calm anxious feelings, and the name label identifies the Comfort Companion owner. “Often, people with Alzheimers’ and dementia sit for long periods of time.” Janet says, “It feels good to have something to hold.” Comfort Companions was founded to serve adult and geriatric people with dignity & respect and support family members & loved ones who are their caregivers. Tompkins has created Comfort Companions for people dealing with anxiety of all ages - Buddy the Bear, Bo the Beagle, rag dolls Daisy and Holly, Toby the Cat, and more. This year, she is expanding Comfort Companions with a line designed to soothe pets when their owners are away. For more information visit:

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For orders or more information: 336-385-8767 • Wholesale pricing available. HERE! | 11

Fiber Envy

Raising the softest fiber with hard work, cold mornings, bottle feedings, and lots of love

Mountain Top Fiber


12 | HERE!

Have you ever held something so light if you didn’t see it you might not be sure it was in your hand or touched something so soft that you could barely feel it? That was my experience when I visited with Deb Clemens at her farm, Mountain Top Fibers, on a frosty December morning.

Angora yarn made from the fur of the rabbits is extraordinarily soft and light. Because the fiber is hollow, it has “loft” and superior insulation properties. Mohair, the fiber from Angora goats is spun into silky yarn and is known for having a “luster and sheen”.

Walking into Deb’s multi-level barn, happy greetings were exchanged between her and the goats. Their communications were familiar with expectations of hay and grain. She called them by name as they identified me as an unexpected companion at breakfast time.

Almost at the end of a long dirt road in Ennice, NC, Mountain Top Fibers produces wonderfully warm and oh-so-soft fiber from a small herd of frisky Angora goats and bright-eyed Angora rabbits.

Both Angora and Mohair are spun into yarns, of various sizes/textures and often blended with other fibers to be used in creating something as soft as a baby sweater or scarf to tapestries and durable carpeting.

The goats regarded me through a curly fringe as we talked about them, their heritage and their offspring. Several gray and white youngsters dashed past to get outside while another was anxious for a bottle.

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Raising the goats for their fiber, the Clemens’ also carefully breed and sell their offspring to build and/ or enhance other herds.

The Angora rabbits are on the third floor of the barn. Typically, the upper level of a barn is a hayloft – a straightforward, open space for storing hay, feed, and various necessities. This loft, with ribbons of sunshine streaming in, is home to some of the most beautiful rabbits I’ve ever seen.

The first floor of the barn also houses rabbits they raise for meat. In a “room” lit by sunshine the rabbits are kept in cages suspended above the dirt floor so that the animal’s waste falls to the ground Tiny faces, with bright and care is easily given. eyes and wiggling noses, are Specifically bred for framed with clouds of soft, meat, they include New fluffy hair. These are the Zealands, American Chin- type rabbits that have givchilla, and Champagne en mankind incredibly fine D'argent. fiber that has kept us warm The meat rabbits have and stylish for centuries. very soft fur in beauti- Bred specifically for their ful shades of white, gray, wool, that at 11 microns in and black – velvety soft diameter is finer than cashto touch but not used for mere, and can be brightly spinning and weaving. dyed or left natural.

Deb carefully breeds these rabbits, knows their heritage, and has many championship ribbons to validate her dedication to the Angora breed.

Satin Angora is named for the high sheen of their There are several varieties of Angora rabbits wool. It has a semi-transthat are recognized by the parent outer shell that reAmerican Rabbit Breeders flects light resulting in a Association (ARBA): En- high luster. glish, French, Giants, and Production of all of this Satin. wonderful fiber from her English Angora, pro- goats and rabbits is a great duce the softest wool and deal of work but the end rehave long hair on their sult is a wonderful selection ears giving them a flam- of yarns with many differboyant look – grooming ent textures and colors from is very important for their which to choose. Deb sells dense coats. her raw wool, roving (unFrench Angora have a spun but prepared wool), clean, or short-haired face and yarns at fiber festivals and front feet. Their wool and from her studio. is very smooth and can be Deb’s website is: moundifficult to spin.

This is Frank, the senior goat at Mountain Top Fibers. He keeps his eye on the young 'uns around the farm, and Deb (aka the Hay Wench) doing chores.

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Giant Angora is the largest of the angora breeds. Its soft coat consists of three types of wool: a soft under wool, awn fluff, and awn hair.

Enjoy his colorful commentary of the daily rhythm of the farm on his blog, Frankly Speaking, at

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Farm Alpaca


Traveling south on Highway 16, a little more than five miles from “downtown” Mouth of Wilson, Virginia, across the border into North Carolina you can find Grassy Creek, North Carolina and Landmark Farm Alpacas. Owned and operated by Rachelle and Ralph Bridges, it is a labor of love on 18 acres. The love began when Rachelle noticed an ad for Alpacas in a magazine over 20 years ago. Her interest in Alpacas grew into research and visiting farms, learning about the animals and their care. Rachelle, an equine-assisted therapist, and Ralph, now retired from the State of Florida, knew that they wanted a rural

life and with it animals to raise and care for. “At our age,” Rachelle says, “we wanted to do something manageable. After lots of research and my love of Alpacas, the plan was a single species farm - Alpacas.” For several years, Rachelle and Ralph drove back and forth to the farm from their home in Florida while work on the farm progressed, one project at a time: clearing land, creating pastures, fencing, building a barn… In 2008, after buying their farm, they purchased an “expecting” female Alpaca, and boarded it while work on the farm continued. When Ralph retired in 2010, they made their move to the North Carolina mountains with five Alpacas, two of which were the first crias (babies) born to their little herd, and an Anatolian Shepherd to guard them.

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When raising Alpaca began in the United States the market was primarily for breeding and raising livestock to sell. Over the years their popularity has grown and the emphasis now is more about their fiber. There are two breeds of alpacas Huacaya and Suri; Rachelle and Ralph raise Huacaya. Huacaya, have fluffy fleece and almost a teddy bear appearance. Their fleece has a crimp (waviness) similar to sheep’s wool and is well suited for knitted garments but can also be woven. The fleece of Suri alpaca does not have crimp, their fiber is longer and drapes into silky locks—like dreadlocks. Suri fiber is well suited for knitting or woven fabrics that require a high level of drape. The designer Armani makes men’s suits from Suri alpaca. Alpacas come in more colors than any other fiber animal. However, white fleeces enjoy larger commercial popularity for

Spring 2018

dying. From white to fawn, gray, black, and in between, these adorable animals are easy to love and their luscious fiber is irresistible. Originating from South America, they are smaller than Llamas and bred specifically for their fiber. A baby alpaca is called a cria and the animal’s first fleece is usually their softest growth of fiber. How-

ever, some genetically superior alpacas will retain a very fine fleece into their senior years. Rachelle and Ralph are generous with their knowledge and sharing their experience with other Alpaca farmers and those considering raising them. Their priority is the health and well-being of their alpacas and they know each ani-

mal’s personality—they’re part of the family. Landmark Farm welcomes visitors year round (by appointment). Visitors have the opportunity to ask questions, meet the alpacas, feel their luscious soft fleece, take photos, learn a bit about these unique animals and the products made from their valuable fiber.

They have a wonderful farm store with raw fleece and roving, hand-spun and mill-processed yarns from their herd, colored yarns, socks, scarves, caps, teddy bears, felted and fleece figurines, alpaca calendars with Rachelle’s award winning photos, and more. Rachelle & Ralph Bridges

Fiber Artist Nancy Liebrecht Nancy Liebrecht lived on her ranch in Idaho for many years prior to returning to Grayson County to be closer to family in 2012. Cattle prices in the 1990’s were much lower and, as they are today, unpredictable. The decision was made to “get out of the cattle business” and try something different. With her affection for lovely yarns and fiber, the decision to switch from raising cattle to raising alpaca was a natural fit. Nancy created a unique and soft yarn blending Alpaca from her herd and Buffalo fiber – yes Buffalo! The blend made a very popular yarn, but upon contacting an attorney who specializes in fiber patents, she found that there was an existing patent on yarn made from this combination of fiber and she could no longer market her yarn.

When she decided to move back to Virginia, she sold her herd and got out of fiber production. However she found her new neighbor in Grayson County, Ronald Jones raisesd sheep and does nothing with the wool!

Ronald, raises Dorset sheep for meat. An English breed with a little Spanish Marino in their heritage, Dorset fiber makes a very nice yarn. Nancy and her neighbor have a cooperative arrangement where she covers the cost of shearing the sheep in return for their fleece.

Moving East, however, has brought changes to her creations. Lately, Nancy has been working on lighter garments suitable for a warmer climate. She has also become interested in overshot weaving, the traditional Appalachian weaving style, and she has been adapting overshot patterns to modern uses. “Since a person can never completely get Idaho out

their system,” Nancy says, “I continue making bags combining leather and wool.” Nancy is a founding member of Blue Ridge Fiberworks (brfiberworks. com) and the 2018 Blue Ridge Fiber Festival in Sparta, NC. Nancy can be reached at (276) 238-0965 or

Whether designing yarns, dyeing with plants, or making finished goods on one of her looms, when Nancy works with fiber, it is an adventure. She is always trying something new – she likes bold textures and rugged, hand-made elements, qualities reminiscent of the Idaho landscape.


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Fries, Virginia


Where the river meets the trail… The town of Fries is a little gem With a lot of community supjust a short drive from Indepen- port and sweat equity, it has dence and Galax, Virginia. been restored and updated and Traveling on Hwy 58, if you- provides a home for sports and turn onto Rt. 94 and it will drop space for community activities. you into downtown Fries. A loved It also houses the library and the and lively community located on Fries Historic Theater. the banks of the New River, Fries The theater and its restoration began as a productive mill town has been a true labor of love. and is now a real destination. Built in 1906, it was renovated Whether you’re spending a in the '40’s and '60’s with the day or staying a little longer, it is most recent, and compreheneasy to enjoy the outdoors with sive renovation beginning in a variety of outfitters that pro- 2015. vide equipment, gear, and shutMuch of the theater’s origitle services for biking, canoeing, nal interior has been repaired kayaking, fishing and more! while other parts needed to be The Fries Community Center replaced. For example, most of is the centerpiece of the town. the hardwood flooring has been

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restored but some spots were too far gone and new flooring fills the gaps. The warm glow of the wooden floors speaks to the character and history of the theater. A variety of hand made quilts decorate the walls not only with their beauty and history, but for added acoustic value. “We are very proud of this restoration and thankful for everyone’s efforts and contributions.” says Marie Isom, member of the Fries Community Board. Done on a tight budget from donations and fundraising, the atmosphere of the interior is

Spring 2018

updated but the character has been preserved. The theater provides a stage, outfitted with beautiful new curtains, for live theatrical and musical performances. An open area in front of the stage is perfect for dancing and musicians at the Thursday night jams with more seat-

ing for spectators. Central heating and Fries is busy throughout the year: Henry Whitter Festival in May, their Farmer’s air makes the theater very comfortable Market is on Sunday May through Octothrough out the seasons. ber, Thursday night Jams at the Theater, The Historic Fries Theater is part of the Festival by the River in September, and Crooked Road Music Trail and will particNew River Ultra 50K and 25K. ipate in the Crooked Road Mountains of For information visit: Music Homecoming Super Jam this June.

, An Afternoon of Appalachian Poetry and Stories

Poet & Author Ron Houchin

April 14 • 3-6pm Alleghany County Library 115 Atwood St. Sparta, NC

Fries,VA Where the river… …meets the trail

Tubing • Kayaking Canoeing • Fishing Biking • Birding Horseback Riding Tubing • Camping Rock Climbing and more! • 276-744-2231• 276-233-1104

Winner of the Appalachian award for Book-of-the-Year in poetry, and the 2013 Weatherford Award for poetry, Houchin visits Sparta to teach student and adult writing workshops. He closes his stay with a reading, discussion, and book signing, followed by a program of local voices featuring the writers and poets of Alleghany County.

program is free public is welcome

Call or visit us today:

Books available for sale.

57 N. Main Street ∙ Sparta, NC ∙ (336) 372-2265

For info: 336-372-5573

Alleghany Writers

High Country Living

The Blue Ridge, The Mountains, The New River... Come for a Visit, Stay for a Change...

“Welcome Home to Simpler Times” 336 -846-6875 Spring 2018

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Mountain Lots • Acreage Cabins • Homes Property Management Vacation Rentals Auctions

Offering the Finest in Personal Service

Agents available seven days a week for listing or showing properties

Bill Nilo Randy Miles Katie Nilo Chris Davis Mike Parlier Pam Neil Darlene Wyatt Lou Morrison NC NC NC NC NC NC/VA NC/VA NC/VA 336-200-3411 336-657-2036 828-409-0540 336-657-0232 704-929-9629 336-657-0898 336-363-4071 336-467-4688

Mountain Dreams Realty & Auction, Inc.

18 | HERE!

3647 US Hwy 21 South, Sparta, NC Office: (336) 372-1622 or (336) 372-1625 Fax: (336) 372-1620 • (800) 513-1622 :: Spring 2018

Distance Running Blue Ridge Relay “Consider all others a warm up.” I’d take that as a challenge – so have many other runners when they have registered for the Blue Ridge Relay. Since 2005, teams of runners have taken on the 208-mile course of the Blue Ridge Relay. The starting line is in Grayson Highlands State Park in Mouth of Wilson, Virginia, the finish line is downtown Asheville, North Carolina, in between are hills and valleys, dirt and paved roads, and possibly the experience of a lifetime. Ken Sevensky, organizer and director of the Blue Ridge Relay, created this relay-style running race to showcase the beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina and Virginia. For two years, Ken worked to map out a course and obtain permits to create a course that shares the beauty of roads less traveled giving runners a chance to run through country they may not otherwise see. Relay teams of 4-12 runners rotate through the 36 legs of the relay. For teams of 12 runners, each relay team member runs 3 legs of varying lengths and difficulty and will cover an average total distance of approximately 16.6 miles. The race starts early Friday morning, and ends when the final runners cross the finish line on Saturday. Teams are on the course from anywhere from 20 to 35 hours either running or in vans driving to exchange points to pick up or drop off runners. Runners rotate in a set order once the race begins and are obligated to follow this rotation until the final runner finishes. The inaugural year 10 teams (116 runners) registered and ran. Each year the participation has grown with 2017 having a field of over 2,000. The communities along the route are a big part of the race, some providing exchange and rest stops, food, showers and encouragement. Most of the community groups have participated year after year, enjoy doing it and sharing their “home” – being involved and the excitement. “Running at night is part of the adventure,” Ken says. “ I believe some runners will have a “peace and tranquility” experience, while others will have to overcome a fear/uncertainty of what can’t be seen in the darkness.” You can register for the relay online at There is a runner’s forum if you have questions or if you’re runner looking for a team or a team looking for a runner. For more information visit or find them on Facebook.

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Get Outside Mountain Relay

JUNE 1 & 2, 2018





The Get Outside Mountain Relay (GOMR) is a relay “Our inaugural run covering 208 miles in year was a success beautiful Alleghany County, on many levels.” North Carolina. A fairly new McCall said, race, 2018 will be the second year of runners meeting “Runners enjoyed the format, the the challenge of Blue Ridge Mountain roads. challenge, and the

beauty and community hospitality. Churches, fire departments and volunteers throughout the county provide support and exchange areas along the route.

The campus of Blue Ridge Christian School Most relay races consist camaraderie.” (GOMR Nation) is the stagof teams (up to 12 runners ing “hub” for the race. Runon a team) and involve ners are welcome to arrive teams renting two vans to transport the Thursday, the day before the race, and team members over the course that be- invited to “make a weekend of it” staygins at “point A” and ends at “point B”. ing through Sunday. Downtime activities GOMR is a loop course with sections, include enjoying the cool mountain temor legs, of varied lengths and a central peratures, exploring the area, or spend“hub” called GOMR Nation where run- ing some time with your team. ners, when not running, camp, eat, sleep New this year is a half option: 104 and recover from their legs of the race. miles, 9 runners running 2 legs each. Instead of renting their own vans, transThis year’s race is June 1 & 2. You can portation to and from starting or handregister online. If you need a runner or off points is provided – runners get to run and someone else takes care of the need a team you can add your name to the list as well. driving! GOMR shares an inspiring overview of Alleghany County, its geographic

For information and registration visit:

Whole & Half Options

You Run We Drive

— register online at —

208 Miles of Pure Hill 20 | HERE!

Spring 2018


New River State Park 50K and 25K Are you ready for an ultramarathon? The New River Trail 50k and 25k are a great starting point if you’re ready for the distance. An ultramarathon is any footrace longer than the traditional marathon length of 26.2 miles. This run is 31.1 miles.

Mountain Cycling Adventure

ant, “it’s not technical and you cannot get lost.” The race starts and ends in Fries, Virginia entirely on the New River Trail. You can run it as a whole 50K or a 25K.

Starting time is 8:00 am with an early option of 7:00 am if you’ll need Ultrarunner Annette Bednosky started more than 7 hours to finish. Cutoff for the New River Trail 50k a little over ten both races is 3pm. Aid stations are fully years ago. Now managed by husband stocked with cookies, gels, Gatorade, and wife team, Jason and Alison Bryfruit and more. There are awards for ant (Mountain Goat Racing), it is an out overall male and female winners and and back run on the New River Trail, an age group awards. abandoned railroad right of way that has The Women of Fries prepare lunch for been turned into a Virginia state park. An incredibly scenic run with a gentle slope, the runners, their families, volunteers – trestle bridges, and a cinder-like sur- anyone participating or supporting the face make the New River Ultra feel like race. Their soups receive rave reviews and are a highlight of the day. a blend of a trail race and a road race.

ews i V r a l u c a t Spec bs m i l C g n i g n e Chall CHOOSE YOUR DISTANCE

20 | 35 | 62 | 100 MILES

“The course is simple so you can fo- For more information visit: cus on your running,” says Alison Bry-

Saturday June 9, 2018 Sparta N.C 8:30 Ride Start

Spring 2018

Stocked Rest Stops Continental Breakfast Spaghetti Lunch Showers SAG Support


• • • • •


Alleghany Wellness Center

508 Collins Rd, Sparta NC 28675

HERE! | 21 336-372-2944


Shorter Distances

Dr. Ed Dannelly 10K run and 5K walk Saturday, May 5 • Galax, Va. New River Trail State Park Galax Recreation Dept 276-236-3218. Independence Freedom Day 5K and/or Down Hill Mile July 4th • Run both for $20. Independence, VA For info: Blue Ridge Brutal Bicycle Road Challenge August 11, 2018 Choose 102, 72 or 56 mile routes River Bend Run 5-Miler Cox’s Chapel, Mouth of Wilson VA September 29, 2017

Grayson Highlands 50K and Half Marathon The trails are beautiful and anything but smooth or easy. There is some serious elevation change as well as very technical sections. Some of the trails are typical rocky and others are wide open Grayson Highlands 50k and Half Mara- old road beds. The course for both racthon offer a unique opportunity to run 31 es has a little bit of everything in it from or 13.1 miles in one of the most beau- short steep climbs to smooth rolling hills tiful places in the world! The Grayson to flat. Highlands race has waterfalls, wild poThe park offers 15 miles of trails and nies, unparalleled 360 degree mountain runners of both races will run on almost views, running among the fir trees, rho- all of them. dodendron tunnels, views of two states This year’s race is Saturday, May 5th and more single track and scenic beauty and begins at 8 am. The half marathon is than you than you can imagine! Sunday the 6th and starts at 9 am. There This is the first and only trail race with- is a 10 hour cut off for the 50k which in Grayson Highlands State Park. You get is actually more like 29 miles. Cutoff for a view of Mt. Rogers, the HIGHEST point the half is 4 hours. This should be ample in Virginia. This race runs over Little time as long as you run here and there. Pinnacle or Haw Orchard Mountain, at Bring a camera and enjoy the course. 5,089 ft, making it the HIGHEST race in For more info visit: Virginia! The highest race in Virginia and the most scenic! This epic trail race is held in breathtakingly beautiful Grayson Highlands State Park in Mouth of Wilson, Virginia.

Run for Gracie Annual 5K Piney Creek School October 13, 2018 Daryl Simpson 336-359-8327 Fall Foliage 5k October 13, 2018 Independence VA For info: Grand Privy Race October 13 • Independence, VA Privy Team Racing The West Jefferson Lions Club Christmas Tree 5k First Saturday in December. Gwynita Steele, (336) 846-7215

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Brewing Here

Boondocks Brewing While stationed at Ft. Campbell, KY as a member of the 101st Airborne Division in 1993, founder and head brewer, Gary Brown, started dabbling with home brewing. Admittedly, it was about cheap alcohol and not quality in the early days. During his time in the Ft. Campbell area he thought of one day opening a “cool” place - calling it Boondocks. This was also when Gary first started to “doodle” a character that would eventually become known as the “Boon Man”. Over the years, work and life travels took Gary around the US and into Canada introducing him to a world of Craft Beer, quality food, and first-class service. By 2010, Gary’s passion for Craft Beer and customer service had become somewhat of an obsession. He became very involved in the North Carolina Craft Beer movement, becoming quick friends with a number of soon to be brewery owners.

Clockwise from the top: Boondocks Brewing Beerland Molly Compers Cidery New River Brewing

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Having honed his brewing skills, Gary started operating his home brewing out of a second home that he and his wife owned in Rocky Mount, NC. Gary rekindled his idea of “Boondocks” and he started branding his home brewed beers as “Boondocks Brewing”. He began focusing a lot of his time and attention to the Ashe County area where he and his wife’s family had a vacation home. Transporting Spring water from Creston, back to Rocky Mount for brewing – he recalls, “there was just something about the naturally fresh and tasty water of the area that turned normal recipes into something special.” As 2011 rolled around, Boondocks Brewing became more than a hobby and Gary felt that this was a good time for him to move in a different direction in his life. He became even

more involved in the Craft Beer movement and in early 2012 he formed Boondocks Brewing, LLC and took early retirement from the Corporate world. By this time Gary was producing some popular beers with an Ashe County theme, using water from their vacation home in Creston. Requests were being made on a regular basis to produce beers for special events for friends and he began seriously considering taking Boondocks Brewing from a Home Brewing operation to a commercial brewing operation. On August 1, 2012 Boondocks Brewing Tap Room & Restaurant officially opened in West Jefferson. With a careful, six-month transformation strategy, Frasers Restaurant was transitioned into Boondocks Brewing Tap Room & Restaurant. The goal was to provide a unique and engaging destination that attracts new visitors to West Jefferson and Ashe County as well as a place that residents are proud to call their own. From 2012 until late 2014 the small Brewery was located just inside the front door of his restaurant at 108 South Jefferson Ave. All brewing was done in very small batches (less than 30 gallons at a time) in a very small space with a lot of manual labor. In February 2015 operations were moved from the restaurant to the recently opened Brew Haus location just up the street at 302 South Jefferson Ave. . “A big part of my goal was to add to this town I love not “change” it,” Says Gary. “To provide year-round employment and restore these old buildings is a privilege for me.” Boondocks Brewery beers are on tap at the restaurant and Brew Haus locations year round. continued on page 26

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You can occasionally find Boondocks beer on draft at one or more of the following locations: Carolina Country Wines & Craft Beer - West Jefferson, NC; Firewater Restaurant & Bar - Charlotte, NC; The Hotel Tavern - West Jefferson, NC; and samples at various events each year “We pride ourselves on brewing unique and locally focused beers.” Says Gary. “The Water of Ashe County and West Jefferson is some of the best around. We work with local farmers to source some of the

ingredients that we use and we also provide our spent grains to local farmers to feed their livestock.” “As for “flagship” beers, it is surprisingly hard it is to answer that question because Boondocks does not want to be known for just a few beers. Currently they have a number of best sellers that they rotate on tap.”

Beerland What is Beerland? Bearland is a person, a place, an idea, and beer. The person is Ben Erlandson, the place is Alleghany County, North Carolina, the idea is big and small at the same time. The beer, is really good beer, according to most who have had any pass over their lips. In fact, the reason that Beerland is manifesting in its current rendition is because the first verbal expression made by many people having tried Ben’s beer is: “Dude, you’re gonna start selling this stuff, right?” The name Beerland came to be when Ben was in college at UNC-Asheville, and he was automatically assigned an email address, based on his initials and the first six letters of his last name B+E+erland = Beerland. Nobody knew at the time, but with eight algorithmic letters, a humble liberal arts institution unwittingly set Ben on a providential path of creation and craft beyond any classroom instruction. Over the past 15 years, Ben has brewed many batches of beer, individually and collaboratively, in preparation for legendary summer parties or, in a more reasoned fashion, to build recipes in hopeful preparation for previous commercial brewing endeavors that were not meant to be. All these experiences have culminated in a grand philosophy and vision for creation that continues onward as Beerland. The basic philosophy can be summed up with E.F. Schumacher’s seminal phrase “small is beautiful.” As Beerland makes the transition to a commercial nanobrewery, Erlandson intends his operation to be local and harmonious, practicing non-destructive techniques within all its communities, especially concerning the biosphere. Erlandson notes: “The water used in Beerland brewing is straight from the heart of Bullhead Mountain in eastern Alleghany County. We’re part of the New River watershed. We make beers you can’t get anywhere else”

You’ll always receive our best, and that’s a promise. 4248_SNB_Branding_16x3.05_Color_NRV_Ad-rev.indd 1

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The Beerland path to commercial manufacture and wholesale in North Carolina is being structured under the assumption its beer can be brewed the way Erlandson requires in terms of ecological stewardship, while cooperating with appropriate federal, state, and local authorities. To put this “small is beautiful” ecology-before-economy perspective in more familiar terms, Erlandson has an excellent analogy: “We’re building Beerland like a bonfire designed to keep us just warm enough as long as we need, without wasting any wood. We’re starting with kindling, one match, and the breath from our lungs, and we never want to use any gasoline.” Erlandson creates all his recipes from scratch, following traditional styles with his personal signature of local ingredients using his favorite foods. The current Beerland repertoire includes: the Alexander Alexander III Scottish Export, the Beet Down Brown, the Brother Seamus Irish Stout, the Drunken Bunny Single-Hop Amber series, the Grumpy Uncle ESB, the Horsefly Pilsner, the MFIPA, the PGP, the Red Tornado Roggenbier, the Shaved Lion British Golden Ale, the She Comes and She Gose, the Stuckey Sisters Kellerbier, the Tripping Shaman Eisbock, and the You’ll Porter Rye Out. New recipes are in the works, including experimentation with herbal and botanical beers, and the development and publication of a regional Compendium Florae Fermenta to serve as an educational companion for understanding health benefits of these herbal brews. In the meantime, he makes beer and gives it away at private parties (including yours,

if you’d like). He gives spent grains from his brewing to Becca’s Backwoods Bean in Sparta to use in her baking. He makes and sells pasta noodles from spent grains, hops, and other ingredients used in the brewing process. Using as much”beer waste” before sending the rest to the compost pile as possible. Ben is designing and budgeting for a community-supported, zero-waste, one barrel brewing facility. He’s working with local farm families - like Blue Feather Creek Farm, Fool’s Errand Farm, and Barking Coyote Farm - to use local ingredients in all aspects of all Beerland recipes. Erlandson continues to network with regional restaurants and social establishments to buy and serve kegs of Beerland beer, work with regional organizations to host special private tasting events to educate community members about traditional fermentation and beer service methods (such as cask ales), which he believes will substantially reduce the ecological footprint of the brewing industry. To find out more about Beerland go to its Facebook page. You can contactErlandson by sending a message through the Facebook page. Website forthcoming at

New River Brewing New River Brewing, owned and operated by father and son brewers Greg and Adam Hershner is a nanobrewery occupying an efficient 900 square foot space on Highway 194 in “The Coolest Corner” - Lansing, North Carolina. A nanobrewery produces beer in small batches, roughly 90 gallons at a time. Both

micro and nanobreweries focus on the uniqueness and quality of beer and its flavor rather than quantity produced. Home brewers for many years, taking the step to open a nano brewery had been in the Hershner’s plans, but it came earlier than expected. Adam, an industrial engineer, was laid off when his employer downsized. He wanted to remain in the area and found creating his own job - brewing - was the way to do it. His father, Dr. Greg Hershner, has practiced medicine in Ashe County for 28 years and opening a brewery has been part of his retirement plan for a long time. Their years of home brewing gave Greg and Adam the opportunity to fine-tune their knowledge, processes, and recipes. New River Brewing opened officially January 17, 2017. The brewery is an incredibly organized utilitarian space. Every nook and cranny is occupied with equipment and necessities - stainless steel vats, tubes, strainers and more. They can brew a single batch in 5 to 6 hours, a double batch takes 7 hours. Fermentation time is 10 to 20 days. Their brewing schedule is 30-gallon batches two times a week. Carbonation takes place in the cooler and after that it is divided in to sixtels (1/6th of a barrel kegs), bottles and cans and off to market. The foundation of their brews is four ingredients: water, hops, malt, and yeast. To that they add a variety of ingredients to complete their recipes. Some additions are blackberries, blueberries, tangerine and wheat; another is habanera peppers. To date they brew 17 continued on page 36 Spring 2018

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Farmers Market

Farmers Markets

An Abundance Of: Food, Community, & Fun! Written by Lynn Worth

We love our farmers’ markets and the abundance of fresh farm-to-table fare available there. Whether it is homegrown or home made, fresh off the vine or something gourmet, the selection and variety is amazing at the farmers’ markets in our region. Fresh produce, pastured meats, cheeses, eggs, jams and jellies, honey, baked & homecanned goods, herbs, and hand-crafted creations are just some what is offered in lively open air markets from local farmers and artisans.

Independence, Virginia The Independence Farmers Market is held the second Friday of each month across the street from the historic 1908 Courthouse, in a lot at the corner of U.S. 21 and U.S. 58 in the center of town.

weekly at the Grayson LandCare Office (beside the 1908 Courthouse) on Wednesdays from 4 to 6 p.m. Available items and more information are at

Open the second Friday in May, it continues until the second Friday in October from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Most Fridays you can browse amid the sounds of live, authentic mountain string music.

“We have free kids’ activities and usually free samples,” said Michelle Pridgen, market manager who is also a vendor. “It’s a great way to meet and support your neighbors,” she added. “We have cooking demonstrations the first Saturday of every month with vendors sampling as well.”

Goods are also offered year round through the Online Market. Items can be picked up

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Winter markets are held the Friday after Thanksgiving and the first Saturday in December, featuring pesticide-free Christmas trees and other items. These are at the same location as the summer market. Information about is available from independencefarmersmarket@gmail. com, (276) 768-0597 and

Sparta, North Carolina The Alleghany Farmers Market is adjacent to scenic Crouse Park in Sparta. It is open May to October on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to noon. Starting in June, the market is also open Tuesdays from 3:30 to 6 p.m. New at the market in recent years is its covered pavilion at 180 E. Whitehead (N.C. 18 North). “The facility is magnificent and has been a huge plus,” said Chrystyne Murphy, director of the Alleghany Chamber of Commerce. “I think it’s wonderful that the farmers’ market, along with produce from area farms, has unique items from crafters and artisans,” she said. “Anything that is there is local. And just like any farmers’ market, a lot of people go t to support that effort.” Chef demonstrations are held monthly. Often, mountain musicians are at the Saturday market playing live string music. Shoppers can also place orders online for fresh meats from area farms.

More information is available from, 336-372-5473, and

West Jefferson, N. Carolina The backstreet of West Jefferson is a bustling place on Saturday mornings from April to October at the Ashe County Farmers Market. It opens Saturday, April 14 for the coming season. Hours are 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. “The market brings together the best of our area produce,” said Lori Goodman, market manager. It features juried crafts and artisans and special events. “Perhaps what stands out most is it’s a community gathering place,” she said. “It’s a place for artisans and farmers to meet customers, but also a place where you see a lot of folks you know.”



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“Chef Rick Caine will be at the market June 16, July 21, Aug. 11 and Sept. 15.” Goodman said, “He cooks delicious seasonal produce and offers samples and recipes.” Three special events are held in the summer: Antique Farm Equipment Day on June 16, when farmers display their antiques; Fiber Day on May 26, with demonstrations of wool processing from shearing to knitting, and the Fall Harvest Festival on Sept. 29. These events also take place on the backstreet. The market is at 108 Backstreet in West Jefferson. Information is available from 336-877-5052, lgoodman@skybest. com or

Notti Toffee, LLC P.O. Box 537 Glade Valley, NC 28627

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ASTA members standing at the planned connection of the Sparta Trail to the MountainsTo-Sea Trail. The Sparta Trail will originate in downtown Sparta, NC.

photo by Lou Nachman

Tri-county area of the Blue Ridge offers some of the most beautiful scenery in the world and a treasure trove of peaceful trails where you can soak up the splendor. If it’s chalWritten by Lynn Worth lenging outdoor events you like, you’ll find those as well. Alleghany County, NC Walking Trails • Crouse Park at 60 Cherry Street in Sparta has a 1/3 mile asphalt loop with a few slight hills. • Veterans Memorial Park in Sparta features a level 1/3 mile level loop with a crushed gravel surface. Parking is at 254 Duncan Street. • Sam Brown Park at 598 Trojan Avenue in Sparta has a wooded trail going up and back down Sam Brown Mountain for less than a mile hike. Trailhead is at the Lion’s Club Pavilion inside the park. Hiking Trails • The Mountains-to-Sea Trail runs 1,175 miles across North

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Carolina. Thirteen of those miles pass through Alleghany County along the Blue Ridge Parkway with numerous access points. Surface is natural through woods and fields, and the trail is mostly easy or moderate.

back riders. Attractions include a 19th century homestead at the foot of Stone Mountain, a 200 foot waterfall and trout streams. The park is at 3042 Frank Parkway, Roaring Gap, NC.

• Doughton Park on the Blue Ridge Parkway has 30 miles of trails that vary from easy strolls to strenuous hikes that descend and ascend the escarpment of the Blue Ridge. Elevation changes can be up to 2,000 feet. Allow plenty of time for hikes up and down the mountain.

• The New River State Park has five sites along the 26-mile designated Wild and Scenic River section of the New River. The Alleghany Access (canoe-in only) in Piney Creek has two moderate one-mile trails and an easy half-mile trail. The other sites are in Ashe County (see below).

• Stone Mountain State Park has hikes to two granite domes and a number of other wooded trails, including 5 miles open to horse-

The Alleghany Sparta Trail Association (ASTA) has group hikes on different trails in the area on the

Guided Hikes

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third Sunday of each month. Hikers meet at 1 p.m. in the winter and 2 p.m. during Daylight Savings Time. For information, email See Alleghany Sparta Trail Association/ ASTA on Facebook for places and any changes due to weather.

Ashe County, NC Walking Trails • Foster-Tyson Park in Jefferson has a 3/10ths mile paved loop trail near the intersection of U.S. 221 Bypass and U.S. 221 Business (East Main Street). Parking is at 611 U.S. 221 Business.

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• Lansing Creeper Trail Park features a level half-mile paved trail in a tiny town in northwest Ashe County. It is built on the old Virginia Creeper railroad bed with additions planned for hikers and bicyclers. The park is at 114 S Big Horse Creek Rd, Lansing. • The Bowie-Seagraves Municipal Park in West Jefferson has a paved, lighted half-mile trail

that loops around the grounds. The park is within walking distance to historic downtown West Jefferson. Access is at 201 Church Ave. Hiking Trails • New River State Park – This park consists of five sites along 26 miles of the New River designated National Wild and Scenic River. Two sites in Ashe County feature natural trails. The US 221 Access has four trails ranging from .2 mile to 1.4 miles. It is at 358 New River State Park Road in Laurel Springs. At the Wagoner Road Access, at 1477 Wagoner Road Access off of NC 88 East, visitors can hike one or both of two one-mile trails. All are easy or moderate. • Mount Jefferson State Natural Area is an ecologically diverse national landmark with long range views into neighboring states. Its five trails include a 1.1 mile ridgeline trail, a two-mile climb from the park office to the

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summit, and some shorter hikes to scenic overlooks. Access is at 1481 Mount Jefferson State Park Rd., West Jefferson. • The Blue Ridge Parkway offers a spectacular 180-degree view at the end of a one-mile out and back trail at Jumping Off Rocks Overlook, Milepost 2603. A 2/10ths mile walk through pasture at the Lump Trail is a good leg-stretcher at Milepost 264.4. The Mountains-to-Sea Trail also traverses alongside the Parkway through Ashe with access points in several roadside locations.

Grayson County, Virginia Walking Trails • Grayson County Recreation Park in Independence has a 1/3 mile paved loop near the park entrance at 85 County Park Lane. A second paved loop, about a quarter mile, around the baseball fields has extensions that opened in 2017. These two wooded extensions are about a quarter mile each with gravel surfaces, one providing challenging inclines. “I’m working on having some workout stations along the trails,” said Kevin Watson, parks and recreation director. The department also plans to connect the gap between the park and the sidewalk trail from town. “People can start in the middle of town and come to the park and walk” when that is complete. Hiking Trails • Matthews State Forest has three loop trails totaling two miles winding through this designated educational forest. Educators can request guided tours. Eight miles of mountain bike trails are

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open in the summer. The entrance is at 106 Forestry Lane, Galax, Va. • Grayson Highlands State Park – Nestled among Virginia’s highest mountains, Grayson Highlands State Park has 626 miles of trails. They are designated for horseback riding, hiking, mountain biking or multi-use. Entrance to the park is at Grayson Highland Lane off of U.S. 58, Mouth of Wilson, Va. • Mount Rogers National Recreation Area has hundreds of miles of hiking, bicycling and horseback riding trails throughout its 200,000 acres within the George Washington and Jefferson National Forests. Included is a trail to the highest peak in Virginia, Mount Rogers at 5,729 feet. The Mount Rogers NRA district office is at 3714 Highway 16, Marion, Va., 1-800-628-7202. • New River Trail State Park is a 57-mile-long rail-to-trail that traverses four counties and the city of Galax. In this area, trailheads are in the towns of Fries and Galax. The northern terminus is in Pulaski. The surface is crushed stone with a gentle grade. The trail is open to horseback riders (parts), bicyclists and walkers. • Virginia Creeper Trail is a 34mile rail-to-trail that extends from Whitetop to Abingdon. From Whitetop, the first 17 miles are downhill to Damascus, making this stretch popular with bicyclists. Lesser elevation changes are found on the remaining segment. Rentals and shuttles are available in Damascus that will start you off at 1595 Whitetop Gap Road, Whitetop for the downhill ride.

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Porch Ponderings by Dr. Suzanne M. Irwin

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tratford Oaks Farm, my home-place, is located in the western part of Alleghany County (NC) in the Stratford area. It sits atop a grassy knoll where cattle graze and silence reigns at the foot of Irwin Mountain. Built in the early 1970’s, this dwelling has a wrap-around porch graced with cushioned rockers which provide moments of reverie and conversations as one looks upon a pasture landscape. It was from here that I began to wonder “Do porches have a hidden meaning in life’s journey?” So often I have looked from our porch on to the next farm and gazed upon the wooden cabin where our former Supt. of Alleghany Schools, John Woodruff, was born. This humble dwelling has stood the ravages of time, though the roof is beginning to cave in and the homemade bricks are crumbling away from the chimney. There is no porch on this once inhabited dwelling. A front door, somewhat ajar with broken slats, opens into two rooms showing a ladder that leads to a loft. This deserted cabin is now a place to store hay. “Is there a meaning to having a porch or not?” Personally, a porch provides moments to sit and to gaze upon the fields, to watch the evening sunset, and to enjoy a glass of sweet tea with family and guests. Thinking about John Woodruff ’s wooden dwelling, I am convinced that in daily life long ago, one would have no time to sit, gaze and chat. For John’s family, all day-light moments were used to handle

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life’s sustaining chores. Flossie, John’s mother, took care of the children, worked the garden, made her own soap from lye, and often walked in the morning hours by Peach Bottom Creek to visit neighbors and purchase supplies from the small store at Stratford. A life of porch ease was not to be found in this family. Many families who originally settled in Alleghany County came from the Old Sod of Ireland, the Isles of Scotland, Wales, and England. Regarding porches, I see a connection with their mother land. In the present day British mysteries offered on PBS, events take place in small English hamlets containing thatched-roof houses whose front doors border the street or lane. No porches are seen. Back yards are evident but no front porch. Those who immigrated to our county, probably could not remember ever having a porch before coming to America.

with their wide sprawling porches called verandas by southern ladies. These porches of palatial grandeur face the waterfront batteries and can also be found on restored inland plantations. Yet, do not leave this area of mint juleps and southern comfort before seeking the quarters of those who served the families on the verandas of yesterday. Wooden cabins, similar to those found in Alleghany County, are still standing on plantation grounds. No porches are seen… only steps leading to a front door, a cabin of long ago hardship. Remnants of wooden cabins in Alleghany County still exist today. Those standing are usually tucked away on less traveled, gravel or dirt roads, standing in isolated fields and forgotten by most. Like sentinels of a past era, they remind us that early settlers worked this land, eked out a living, raised families, and probably never thought of building a porch.

Historically, recall what is seen in old Philadelphia today. HousSad, to relate, the weather beates bordered the cobbled streets, en birthplace of John Woodruff no porches. Colonists rememrecently crumbled to the ravages bered the Old World scene and of mother nature and is no longer built accordingly. viewed from my wrapped around In the early 1900’s, the first porch. Yet, that wooden framed semblance of a city porch ap- cabin will remain in my memory pears in the harbor section of as a place that nurtured John and Baltimore and it is called a stoop. his siblings for many years. This is a small overhang coverA resolution for this year is to ing 3-4 steps. Families sat on the make a list, a bucket list, to drive steps and chatted with neighthe less traveled roads in Alleghbors. Gossip was no doubt alive any County and locate those reand well in old Baltimore! maining sentinels, with porches After crossing the Mason-Dix- or not. They do exist! The jouron Line and heading further ney is to seek, to enjoy the mosouth along route 95, the cities of ments of discovery, and to ponSavannah and Charleston beckon der the past.

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LMBT 9465

distinctive beers some of which are seasonal or specialties. Three “regulars” they keep on hand are Golden Ale, Farmhouse Ale, and IPA. Recently, they have added kombucha to their brewing selections. A fermented sweet tea, its flavor is bright and refreshing. Since opening last year, the Hershners are pleased with the growth and progress of New River Brewing. Their brews can be found at Carolina Country Wines & Craft Beer in West Jefferson and they look forward to expanding their selections. Find New River Brewing on Facebook for more information and happenings.

Molley Chomper Cidery

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34 | HERE!

The love of apples and cider was in their blood when Tim and Kate Arscott bought their Ashe County farm. Kate has been a fan of hard cider since she discovered it at a place called the Brick Store in Atlanta. The Brick was a forerunner in the explosion of craft beer that now has every pub with 30-40 beers on draft. One of the few places in the country with a bunch of taps featuring high quality brews, they would feature ciders from the UK and occasionally others. Kate loved them. After moving here, Tim and Kate noticed apple trees throughout Ashe County and decided to plant some of their own. They met Ron and Susanne Joyner (Big Horse Creek Farm) and began exploring heirloom American and European/ British Cider apples. Learning quickly it’s difficult to make an orchard profitable selling fruit they, together with many other small orchards in the area, had a unique asset: fruit that makes awesome cider. The heritage varieties where often chosen and propagated because they made excellent cider and brandy – and they still do. The Arscott’s started making cider from old trees that were on their farm when they bought it and from friends who would let them pick their apples. Once they decided to go into the cider business, they both took cider courses through the Washington State University and Cornell University Ag Extension programs. The classes helped them understand the underlying biochemistry of fermentation and how to commercialize their homemade cider process. We’ve been making cider for about seven years; Molley Chomper’s first “pressing” year was in 2015. When they started planting apple trees, the subject of goats came up in context of clearing land.

“We were STRONGLY warned never to have goats if we had apple trees. We did some Google research and found many hilarious pictures of goats eating apple trees and apples, literally from the tops of the trees down,” says Tim. “In the meantime, we had some goats roam onto our property that had escaped from our neighbors. They did no damage, but we knew at that point that our mascot would be a goat.” The name itself is a brainstorm, it’s memorable and conjures a jolly, self-satisfied goat on the hunt for apples. Molley Chomper ciders differ based upon the types of apples blended into them. For example, Hewe’s Crab juice and the resulting cider is rich, syrupy and dark, with some tannins. Golden Delicious yields a fragrant almost spicy juice with tropical fruit flavors. Nehou, a French cider variety, is very sweet yet bitter from strong tannins. If handled and fermented carefully, these different characteristics come through in the cider. They then blend “bulk ciders” to have a range of delicious ciders to meet customers’ preferences. Some folks like sweet, some dry. Some love tannins on the finish, others like a clean, tart finish. “We buy fruit locally. We’re also lucky enough to work with Foggy Ridge Cider Orchard in VA and a few orchards in Wilkes County and southern Virginia.” says Kate. “We press apples and ferment cider from late summer through early winter. We buy apples or juice from cold storage and ferment January through March and ferment blueberries in July, when they become available.” They’re now experimenting with fermenting heirloom pumpkins and pumpkin juice from local Ashe County farms to make a real pumpkin cider. A delicious and unique cider ... think fresh/refreshing melon flavors vs. pumpkin spice. The cidery sells cider in bottles and by the glass. They have bocce ball and corn hole and hope to have some food options on offer this summer. Pie on the Mountain is just around the corner and folks will bring a pizza over and hang out. There’s a grill for customers to use and fire pits with a good supply of wood on hand for cooler weather. The cidery is open limited hours (Sat 2-6pm) from mid-January through March. In mid-March add hours will be added and increase them as we move into summer. Our website and Facebook page is the best places to find our current hours.

Spring 2018

Hollandaise made easy

2 egg yolks - beat until thick and set aside Warm over low heat ¾ cup water 2 tablespoons lemon juice ¼ teaspoon salt Mix together until smooth 2 tablespoons cornstarch ¼ cup water add to the water, lemon juice and salt stirring until thick Pour very slowly into the egg yolks while stirring constantly. Pour the mixtue back in to double boiler, add 1 tablespoon butter, stir until blended.

Spring 2018

This wonderfully simple recipe is a family favorite and turns out well, every time. You can make it in a double boiler or, as I do, in a single small pot. This creamy, buttery, lemon sauce is perfect for Eggs Benedict, broccoli, asparagas, or anything else you enjoy with Hollandaise. From the Duck Roost Inn Mouth of Wilson, Virginia.

HERE! | 35

Calendar of Events Alleghany County Crouse House Pickers 6p every Mon. Crouse House in Crouse Park Crouse Park (Corner of Hwy 18 and Grayson Street) Lynn Worth

April 13 - New River Bell Ensemble Concert -7p

Independence, VA or 276-579-2123,Handbell performance - Historic 1908 Courthouse Auditorium.

Alleghany Jubilee Tues & Sat @7p 27 N Main St 336-372-4591, 336-6571441, 336-407-2603

April 20 - Fries Historic Theatre Concert. Buck Mountain

Blue Ridge Music Center June-Mid October Parkway Mile post 213 1-276-236-5309

Independence Town Park maryann@independenceva. com - 276-768-8656 Celebrate Spring - Car Show, Music, Activities, Food, Vendors maryann@, 276768-8656

March 25 - 6th Annual Alleghany Special Olympics Polar Plunge 11:30a-3p Plunge 1:30p Alleghany Wellness Center,BJ Edwards 336-306-4555 Music on Main: Summer & Winter Series Winter-Third Fridays 6p: Jan 19, Mar. 16, April 20, May 18, 336-372-5473 May 28 - Memorial Day Ceremony & Parade Ceremony at 1p parade to follow - Court House lawn Thomas Owens 336-657-1484

Band. 7p - 276-233-1104

April 21 - Independence Spring Bash. 11a–3p,

May 4th - Historic Fries Theatre Concert - 7p. New

Ballard Branch Bogtrotters. 276-233-1104 May 5 - Land Stewardship Competition - 9-1p

Grayson County High School 276-266-1303

May 5 - Earth Day Expo

Road Ramblers -7p. 276233-1104 or willowhaus@

9am- 1p -Grayson County High School Cafeteria 276-266-1303,, Free Activities. Theme: “Innovations in Agriculture”, 276-266-1303

March 17&18 - Whitetop Mountain Maple Festival.

May 11-13 - Mt. Rogers Spring Naturalist Rally.

Grayson County March 9 - Historic Fries Theatre Concert- Crooked

Mountain Band. 7p - 276233-1104 or willowhaus@

Konnarock Community Center - Register online. blueridgediscoverycenter. org/mrnr - 276-293-1232 Guided explorations of the Mt. Rogers Area, Speaker & dinner Fri. night, Sat. & Sun. Programs in snorkeling, birding, hiking, geology, fly fishing, wildflowers, salamanders, & more.

April 6th - Historic Fries Theatre Concert. Mountain

May 12th-October 6th Every 2nd Sat., (except October). - e-mail or Enjoy local maple syrup made in the highlands. March 23- Historic Fries Theatre Concert.- Whitetop

Park Old Time Band - 7p 276-233-1104 or

Cruise-In - 3p til dusk. Fries Town Park. 276-2331104 - willowhaus@yahoo. com

May 12 - Square Dance

7p - Matthews Living History Farm Museum. 276-773-3080 Local Old-time musicians and dance caller; concessions sold. May 19 - Henry Whitter Spring Festival - 8:30a–5p

Fries Town Park, Firehouse Drive, Fries, VA. Traditional music fest honoring musical legend. Appalachian mountain culture, music, food, tradition, arts & crafts.

May 20 - Whitetop Mountain Ramp Festival. 11a–5p.

Mt. Rogers Fire Hall. Ramp eating contest, arts & crafts, music, dancing and food! or ejcox@naxs. com

May 20 - Oct 7, Sundays Fries Farmers Market, 1-4p

- -276-233-1104.

Ashe County Mar 10, 2018 - Coffee House Live! 7:30-9:30p

West Jefferson Methodist Church - 336-846-ARTS or

Mar 17, 2018 - High Country Seed Swap - 8:30a - 3:30p

- Ashe Family Central 626 Ashe Central School Rd. March 18 - Sunday Salon with Wayne Henderson & Helen White -4 - 8p,

RiverHouse Inn & Restaurant,1896 Old Field Creek Rd, Grassy Creek, NC

Mar 23, 2018 - An Indestructible Joy - 6 - 8p - First

Baptist Church, 8 E 2nd St, West Jefferson, NC 28694 - Revive Ministries - Mar 23, 2018 - Johnny Peers and Muttville Comix

7:30 - 9:30p - Ashe Civic Center 336-846-2787 or

Sat Mar 24, 2018 - An Indestructible Joy

8a - 4p First Baptist Church, 8 E 2nd St, West Jefferson, NC 28694 ,Revive Ministries - Apr 6 - Apr 8 - Bus Stop

7:30 - 9:30p - Ashe Civic Ctr. - 962 Mt. Jefferson Road, West Jefferson, Ashe County Little Theatre presents the play Bus Stop Tickets: 336-846-2787. Apr 13 - 5-Stand Friday Shoot - Trap Shooting, 4 -

7p - Ashe Ct. Wildlife Club 3220 Big Peak Creek Road, Laurel Springs - Ashe Ct. Wildlife Club - Apr 13,- 15 - Ola Belle Reed Songwriting Retreat, Fri. 7p

- Sun. 5p - Ashe Civic Center 962 Mount Jefferson Road - Ashe County Arts Council - 336846-2787.

Sat Apr 14, 2018 - Ashe County Farmers Market

OPENING DAY! 8a - 1p Backstreet of West Jefferson Fri Apr 20, 2018 - 5-Stand Friday Nights 4p - 07p Ashe

County Wildlife Club, 3220 Big Peak Creek Road, Laurel Springs. Ashe County Wildlife Club -

Sat May 05, 2018 - First Annual Stomp & Brew

12p - 4p, E. Main St. Parking Lot,Downtown West Jefferson,Craft beer & wine tasting festival. Rain or shine! Tickets required.

Sat May 05, 2018 - Hank & My Honky Tonk Heros

7:30 - 9:30p - Ashe Civic Cener, 962 Mount Jefferson Road, Ashe County Arts Council: For info: 336-846-2787 Fri May 11, 2018 - 5-Stand Friday Night

4 - 7p - 5-Stand at Skeet Field, 3220 Big Peak Creek Road, Laurel Springs, Ashe County Wildlife Club - acwic. org

Sat May 12, 2018 - Trout Rodeo Fundraiser

7a - 5p - Pond Mountain Fire & Rescue - Station #1, 6038 Joines Rd, Creston, NC 28615, Breakfast at 7a then off to the fishing at 8am! Silent auction and lunch! Sat May 26, 2018 - Sporting Clays Shoot,10 am - 4p -

Ashe County Wildlife Club, 3220 Big Peak Creek Road, Laurel Springs, Ashe County Wildlife Club: Sat Jun 02, 2018 - Forty Fest 10a - 5p, Ashe

Sat Apr 21, 2018 Spring Fest 9a - 2p - Ashe

Early Learning Center, 409499 School Ave, West Jefferson, NC, Ashe County Arts Council -, Hands on art activities - open to the public!

Arts Center, 303 School Avenue - Ashe County Arts Council -, Ashe County Arts Council celebrates 40th year! Music, food, activities, displays & demonstrations! For info: 336-846-2787.

Sat Apr 28, 2018 - 100/200 Yard IBS Shoot, 8a - 5p -

Sat Jun 09, 2018 - Lansing NC Blues Festival, 12p - 6p

Clubhouse, 3220 Big Peak Creek Road, Laurel Springs, Ashe County Wildlife Club

Fri May 04, 2018 - 5-Stand Friday Shoot, 4 - 07p,

5-Stand (Beyond Skeet Field), 3220 Big Peak Creek Road, Laurel Springs, Ashe County Wildlife Club -

- Lansing Town Park, 114 S Big Horse Creek Rd, Lansing, NC, - $10 Sat Jun 09, 2018 - Feast for the Arts - 8 - 10p, Ashe Arts

Center, 303 School Avenue - Ashe County Arts Council, Desserts & silent auction items

Let us know about your events at 36 | HERE!

Spring 2018

Advertiser Index Alleghany Electronics ......................................9 Alleghany Inn .................................................31 Alleghany Writers...........................................17 Blue Ridge BDC ..............................................9 Caldwell Construction ...................................28 Capstone Wellness ..........................................9 Carolina HVAC ...............................................28 Clara Chastain ...............................................31 Comfort Companions ....................................11 First Community ............................................17 Fox Creek Leather ...........................................2 Foxwood Farm ..............................................30 Fries, Virginia .................................................17 Get Outside Mountain Relay .........................20 Grayson Mill Works .........................................5 Jay Woodruff .................................................10 Junior Appalachian Musicians ......................10 Alleghany County

Landcrafted Food ..........................................10 Halsey Drug .....................................................2 High Country Realty ......................................17 Mindy Hall......................................................11 Morton Realty ..................................................6 Mountain Dreams Realty ...............................18 Notti Toffee ....................................................27 Olde Beau......................................................28 Skyline Bank (all 3 counties) ..........................24 Sparta Chamber ..............................................9 Sparta Hot Yoga ............................................11 Stomp and Brew ...........................................24 Studio Roxie ..................................................10 Touch of Grace .............................................11 Tour de Mountains .........................................21 United Country FoxfireRealty ........................40 Warrensville Drug ............................................2

Ashe County

Grayson County For advertising information To subscribe All other inquires Here! is published by Kate, Ink 115 Atwood Street Sparta, NC 28675

Spring 2018

HERE! | 37

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Ph 336-372-5773 • Fx (336) 372-7694 38 | HERE!

Spring 2018

Spring HERE!  

Celebrating living in Alleghany, Ashe, and Grayson Counties

Spring HERE!  

Celebrating living in Alleghany, Ashe, and Grayson Counties