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The Mountain Times Autumn Guide






Photo by Mark Mitchell

The Mountain Times Autumn Guide


FALL in LOVE...AGAIN There is a harmony in autumn, and a luster in its sky, which through the summer is not heard or seen, as if it could not be, as if it had not been! — Percy Bysshe Shelley Autumn is especially special in the mountains of western North Carolina —the High Country. Whether you live here year round or only stay for a little while, the vibrant hues of the leaves, the hometown friendly neighbors or the crisp, sunny days beckoning you to the come out and play all conspire to enchant us. Within these pages, you’ll find several friendly and helpful roadsigns that we hope you’ll use as you travel the winding roads that all lead to something we call simple fall bliss. The Autumn Times includes guides to leaf-looking, outdoor events, special festivals, general knowledge and a complete guide to the Blue Ridge Parkway. If you have any questions or suggestions to make the Autumn Times better, please call us at (828) 264-3612 or e-mail Cover Design by Jennifer Canosa

• Cover Photo by Rob Moore


Writers Frank Ruggiero, Joel Frady, Nancy Morrison, Sherrie Norris, Jason Reagan, Caroline Monday, Scott Nicholson, Melanie Marshall, Mark Mitchell, Shelley Smith, Ron Fitzwater, Allison Center, Jeff Eason




Tremendous Trails Await...

Reaching more than 6,000 in elevation, the mountains of the High Country provide some of clearing, while the Old Johns River Road turns slightly to the left and continues as a dirt roadbed. On the left side of the roadbed are fenced-in pastures and a nice profile view of Grandfather the finest hiking in the eastern United States. The mountains offer an abundance of beautiful scenery, including rivers, waterfalls, rocky cliffs Mountain in the distance. The old dirt road makes for an easy stroll and is a very popular place for dog owners to walk and grassy meadows. While walking in the southern Appalachians, you can see a wide variety of plant and animal life. Local forests have a diverse selection of deciduous and evergreen trees, their leashed pets. About half a mile down the road is a small clearing on the left-hand side with a single picnic table that provides a nice setting for an outdoor lunch. and deer and other wildlife are plentiful. Continuing onward for another quarter of a mile, the roadbed ends at a There are numerous trails in the vicinity of Boone and Blowing Rock, small creek bridged by a beaver dam. The dam has created a small swampy ranging from short easy pathways to more rugged mountain trails. meadow with scattered dead trees, and throughout late summer and fall the One of my own favorite hiking routes is not listed in most guides to hiking meadow is filled with a variety of wildflowers. A footpath leads across the the High Country. The route begins at the Blue Ridge Parkway, follows an top of the beaver dam and to the other side of the creek, where the roadbed old roadbed and the Mountains-to-Sea Trail, and ends at the summit of Rich “Autumn is a second resumes and turns to the left. Mountain in Moses Cone Park. Most of the route is of easy-to-moderate About a quarter of a mile beyond the beaver dam is a small marker on difficulty, with a couple of short steep sections that are more strenuous. A spring where every the left side of the road indicating that the roadbed is now part of the North roundtrip to the summit is over five miles in length and takes approximately Carolina Mountains-to-Sea Trail, a series of footpaths that stretch from the three hours. leaf is a flower.” Great Smoky Mountains to the Outer Banks. On the right side of the road To reach the trailhead, take Highway 321 to the Blue Ridge Parkway — Albert Camus opposite the marker, the Mountains-to-Sea Trail (MST) goes up the bank and head south. After travelling about four miles, you will pass Sims Pond via three wooden steps and enters the forest. Although this section of the Overlook on your left. A few hundred feet south of Sims Pond, at Parkway MST is not marked with color blazes, the trail is well-maintained and easy Milepost 296, is a gravel road on your right. The road, a section of the Old to follow. Johns River Road, is gated and has a sign reading “Don’t Block Gate.” Since For approximately three-quarters of a mile the trail leads through a heavily the road is occasionally used by ranchers who herd cattle in nearby pastures, it is important to obey the sign and not park directly in front of the gate. There is enough room at wooded forest. This portion of the trail is especially beautiful, for numerous ferns, lichens and the edge of the road to park a couple of vehicles, and the nearby Sims Pond Overlook provides mosses provide various shades of green. The latter half of this section is a bit steep, but the trail eventually levels out, crosses through an opening in a fence, and then turns to the right to emerge ample additional parking. Walking down the Old Johns River Road, you soon leave behind the noise of parkway traffic. onto Shulls Mill Road. After a few hundred feet the road forks, and the graveled road turns to the right and ends in a CONTINUED ON NEXT PAGE 


The Mountain Times Autumn Guide

Tremendous Trails Continued From Page 6

Once you reach Shulls Mill Road, turn to the right and walk about 200 feet where you will see a marker indicating the point where the MST crosses the road. The bank on the other side of the road is quite steep. Embedded in the bank is a tree trunk with narrow notched steps, and you may find a walking stick helpful in navigating the steps. At the top of the bank the trail enters a deciduous forest. The ground is covered with acorns, so it is not unusual to see deer in this section of woods. The acorns and dead leaves can make it difficult to discern the trail, which winds uphill for about half a mile before coming to a wooden stile that leads over a fence. On the other side of the fence is one of Moses Cone Memorial Park’s gravel carriage paths, used by both hikers and horseback riders. By turning left and following the carriage path uphill, you soon come to an open pasture with Rich Mountain to your right. A wooden marker notes that the mountain is one mile away, but this distance refers to travel along the numerous concentric circles of a horse path to the summit. Since you are on foot, you can walk straight towards the summit along an open footpath, and within 10 minutes you will be standing on the top of Rich Mountain, which offers scenic views to both the west and the east. After you have rested and enjoyed the scenery, retrace your steps and descend back down to the Parkway.

A Catalogue of Area Trails

Blue Ridge Parkway Trails

Description: Trails located along the Blue Ridge Parkway offer hikers just about any level of trekking their hearts might desire. Some of the trails are long and challenging, others are short loops leading to waterfalls or scenic vistas. For more information, phone (828) 295-7591 or (828) 295-3782 • Doughton Park Trails: Doughton Park, located in Ashe County near Laurel Springs, has over 30 miles of hiking trails ranging from modest strolls to day-long outings. Some examples include: Bluff Mountain Trail: 7.5 miles, moderate; Cedar Ridge Trail: 4.4 miles, strenuous; Grassy Gap Fire Road: 6.5 miles, easy (horses allowed); Basin Creek Trail: 6.6 miles, moderate; Fodder Stack Trail: 2 miles, moderate. Milepost 241. Call (336) 372-8568 for trail maps. • The Cascades Trail: One of the Blue Ridge Parkway’s most scenic trails—and one of its easiest—this 0.5 mile turn-around leads to the scenic Cascades waterfalls. It begins at the Cascades parking lot, about three miles north of Deep Gap, Milepost 271.9 • Moses Cone Carriage Trails: Easy to moderate. The Moses Cone Park includes 25 miles of gently sloping carriage trails of varying lengths, available to hikers, joggers, horseback riders and cross-country skiers. Most trails begin near the Moses Cone Manor, Milepost 294.0 • Green Knob Trail: Starting at Sims Pond (Milepost 295), this moderate 2.4 mile trail winds along a stream through rhododendron forest, then changes scenery to climb up along a ridgeline. • Boone Fork Trail: A moderate/strenuous loop leading through deep woods and along a cascading river of 4.9 miles in length. The trailhead is located in the Price Park Picnic Area, Milepost 296.5 • Price Lake Trail: An easy trail leading around scenic Price Lake for 2.7 miles. Trailhead is at Price Lake parking area, Milepost 297.0. • Tanawha Trail: This trail, 13 miles in length, can be started at either the Price Park Campground, in Blowing Rock, or at the Linn Cove Viaduct’s parking lot, at Grandfather Mountain (Milepost 305.5). From north to south, it’s a bit of a climb but more moderate from south to north. • Linn Cove Viaduct Access Trail: The world-famous Linn Cove Viaduct, an engineering masterpiece, can best be seen from this trail, which begins at the Linn Cove Visitor Center, Milepost 304.4. The trail actually travels underneath the bridge, giving hikers an unparalleled view of this unique construction project. The trail is handicapped accessible for part of the way, and is a relatively easy stroll, but does link up with other challenging trails. • Beacon Heights: A short hike gives you access to great views of Grandfather, the Linville Falls area, Hawksbill, and Table Rock. A nice place to hang out in the sun. Milepost 305.2 CONTINUED ON PAGE 11 










he sport of climbing has grown rapidly in the High Country because of the location and diversity of terrain. There are several popular places to go, including the Blue Ridge Parkway and Linville Falls, which offer a variety of climbing experiences such as bouldering, lead and top-rope climbing. Downtown Boone also features a climbing tower so beginners can hone their skills before tackling the wilderness. A good place for a few hours of fun can be found at Ship Rock along the Parkway. It is located near the Rough Ridge hiking trial, and offers a multitude of climbing routes, some of which are already bolted for sport climbing. Most of the routes are within the moderate 5.8 range, but can range from the more easy 5.5 to the more challenging 5.12. If a longer trip is desired, Linville Gorge and Table Rock offer a wide variety of opportunities to climbing enthusiasts. They do, however, require a lengthy drive. To get there, turn south on Highway 105 towards Linville, and then turn left on Highway 181 south to Gingercake acres. There should be signs directing traffic from that point. Table Rock shares the same parking lot as Linville Gorge, Table Rock to the right and Linville Gorge to the left. From that point, a one to five-mile hike is required to reach a particular destination. At Linville Gorge, climbs range anywhere from a 5.4 to an advanced level 5.12, and are mostly multi-pitched routes. Some of the popular climbing areas include the North Carolina Wall and Shortoff Mountain. Linville Gorge is a protected wilderness area, so hikers and climbers should be careful not to leave behind any trash or equipment, and respect the natural environment. Table Rock also offers many multipitched routes for a variety of skill levels. The views from these routes are often exposed and overlook the beautiful Pisgah Forest. While rock climbing is fun and exhilarating for many, it takes a little investment in equipment. Most climbers buy their equipment, such as harnesses, ropes and shoes over time. For those with little or no experience climbing, Rock Dimensions in Boone offers courses and guided tours of area locations. They provide all the equipment necessary for climbing, as well as the necessary training in climbing techniques, belaying and repelling. Rock Dimensions offers hourly rates on the climbing tower located at Footsloggers in Boone. For those who desire to get out and explore nature, they also offer half and full-day climbing expeditions. CONTINUED ON PAGE 10 


The Mountain Times Autumn Guide




Continued From Page 8

The tower-to-rock program provides basic training on the rock wall, and then a guide takes the climber to one of the many locations around Boone where they get real, hands-on experience climbing a rock face. “The half-day trips are great for beginners because it allows them to experience the sport of rock climbing and see if it is something they enjoy without spending a fortune,” says Ryan Beasley, director of Rock Dimensions. Guides take climbers out to Linville Gorge or Table Rock on full-day trips, which include a good amount of hiking and more intense climbs. “The full-day trips are a full package,” said Beasley. Rock Dimensions also rents climbing equipment at daily rates to those who wish to venture out on their own and has group rates for larger-scale trips. There are a few things that all climbers, whether a beginner or expert should remember. Most importantly, one should never climb alone. Traditional climbing is often a twoperson job, with one person climbing while the other belays. It never hurts to have an extra person or a group around in case of an emergency. Always check the equipment before use. Over time, ropes, harnesses and other gear can become worn, increasing the risk of injury. Be sure to look for indications of wear, such as torn fabric and cracks or bends in metal. Rock climbing is an intensive and exhausting sport, so it is vital to stay hydrated, especially in the warm summer months. Many climbing locations are not close to a good water source, so each person should carry at least one bottle of water. Many climbing rocks are far out in the woods and it is easy to loose track of time or get lost. Be aware of the surroundings at all times, especially if the group leaves marked trails. It is recommended that climbers do not wait until dark to pack up for the day, but instead reserve ample

The Mountain Times Autumn Guide time to get back to their vehicle. Occasionally certain trails and routes may be closed. A listing of all closed trails can be found at www.accessfund. org. Although rock climbing presents an injury risk, as long as the climber remains cautious and aware, the risks can be minimized. It is a sport that many can enjoy, regardless of skill level, both as a duo and in a large group. Most who have experienced climbing have found it to be a fun, challenging and unique way to enjoy nature up close and personal.

Climb a Wall Anyone who has been to Boone has probably noticed the climbing tower at Footsloggers. Standing at about 40 feet and centrally located, the top of the tower offers a view of beautiful downtown Boone and the surrounding Appalachian Mountains. The tower has over 4000 square feet of varying climbing terrain and offers opportunities for beginners or seasoned veterans. Color coded routes on the slabs, vertical faces, and steep overhangs give climbers a new way to challenge themselves. Climbing the tower at Footsloggers is the ideal introduction to the sport of rock climbing. Our “Tower to Rock” program combines a tower experience with climbing out on real rock all in a day! We also offer staff belays as well as belay classes and certification opportunities for belaying at the tower. Groups of all types and sizes can be accommodated, and birthday parties are especially popular.


•STAFF BELAY(Includes all gear except climbing shoes) 3 climbs with climbing shoes $19.95/person 3 climbs without climbing shoes $16.95/person Add-On Climb after staff belay price $4.00 *Groups (6+ people) $15/person Season Pass (good for 1 year) $145/10 visits (3 climbs each visit) With climbing shoes $165/10 visits •CLIMB / BELAY WITH PARTNER (climbing shoes are an additional $3.00)

2009 Belay Test $8.00 Day Rate (gear not included) $15.00/person Day Rate (gear and shoes included) $25.00/person Season Pass (gear not included) $125/10 visits Season Pass (rental gear included) $200/10 visits •RENTALS (for use at the climbing tower) (Helmets are provided for all climbers. Climbers who choose not to wear a helmet must sign the helmet waiver). Harness $5.00 Belay Gear $5.00 Climbing shoes $3.00 •CLASSES (Includes all climbing gear. Instruction may target tying knots, belaying, climbing technique, gear use, etc. Climbing shoes are an addtional $3.00) 1-hour Belay Class $25/person 2-hour Skills Class $40/person Advanced Skills Class $40-$50/person •TEAM BUILDING at the Tower $25/person Group programs involving partnered and group climbing initiatives, along with individual challenges. All gear included. •“TOWER TO ROCK” PACKAGE: 2-hour instructional course at the tower prepares you for a half-day out on the real rock. Climbing gear included. Tower + half day $100/person (3+ people) Tower + half day $125/person (2 people) Call in advance to schedule your birthday party or other group experience. Instructional classes must be scheduled in advance. •CLIMBING TOWER HOURS Winter Open weather permitting. Call first. Spring and Fall Open Weekends and Holidays: 11 A.M. – 5:30 P.M. (Sunday 12-5) Open some Fridays and Mondays. Call for weekday hours.


Tremendous Trails Continued From Page 7

• Linville Falls Trails: Several trails begin at the Linville Falls Visitor Center, in Linville Falls. All less than a mile in length, some lead to the top of the falls while two lead to the bottom of Linville Falls. All are recommended, although the lower falls trails can be a bit strenuous. Milepost 316.4 • Linville River Bridge Trail: This very short trail takes you down to the Linville River underneath one of the oldest old arched stone bridges on the Parkway. Picnic tables, restrooms, and water are all available. Going North on the Parkway, take a left towards the Linville picnic area and another left just before entering the picnic area. Milepost 316.5 • Chestoa View Loop Trail: A little over a half a mile long, this trail gives you a great view of Table Rock. Milepost 320.8 • Crabtree Falls Trail: A strenuous 2.6 mile loop which leads to both the bottom and top of Crabtree Falls. This trail begins and ends in the Crabtree Falls Campground’s parking area, near Little Switzerland, Milepost 339.5 • Other Trails: Several small trails of varying difficulty dot the Parkway south past the Linn Cove Viaduct. For a listing of mileposts and trail lengths, call the Gillespie Gap ranger office at (828) 765-6082.

Grandfather Mountain Trails Grandfather Mountain, one of the tallest and most rugged in the Eastern United States, is crisscrossed with well maintained trails, most of them for experienced hikers. Some lead into Grandfather’s deep woods, but most scale cliffs that can sometimes be dizzying in height. Always carry water, food and a trail map and wear sturdy boots. Guests who visit for hiking in Grandfather Mountain State Park only may access the trails from off-mountain trailheads and

The Mountain Times Autumn Guide must obtain a free hiking permit. Permit locations can be found at Hikers are strongly advised to exercise caution in case of thunderstorms or other adverse weather conditions. The state of North Carolina has acquired portions of Grandfather Mountain, including the hiking trails, as part of a newly proposed state park. For further information, including the current status of the proposed state park, phone (828) 733-2013 or (828) 737-0833, send an e-mail to or look online at www. Park Side Trails • The Bridge Trail: Grandfather’s newest trail begins at the Black Rock Parking Area and meanders through forested areas, eventually traveling underneath the Mile High Swinging Bridge. An easy 30 minute walk. • Black Rock Nature Trail: This self-guided nature trail begins in the parking lot just below Grandfather’s Swinging Bridge and is good for beginning hikers. It’s a 1.0 mile turn-around through the forests of this majestic mountain. Offers an excellent view. Crest Trails • Grandfather Trail: This is the big one! It begins at Grandfather Mountain’s Mile High Swinging Bridge and eventually hits all of Grandfather’s three highest peaks. This 2.4 mile trail requires approximately 5 hours of hiking time to travel the entire length. It’s extremely rugged, with only wooden ladders making some sheer cliff faces accessible. It intersects with several other trails at its northern terminus. • Underwood Trail: 0.5 mile bypass around McRae Peak that lets hikers avoid ladders and/or severe weather on the peak. Strenuous and rocky. West Side Trails • Profile Trail: 2.7 miles. The lower part of the trail is an easy out-and-back leg stretcher, but the upper section is fairly strenuous. Links with Calloway Trail. The trailhead is located near the Shoppes of Tynecastle on Highway 105 in Banner Elk.


• Calloway Trail: 0.3 mile strenuous trail that links the Profile Trail (at Shanty Spring) and the Grandfather Trail (at Calloway Gap) • Bottom-to-Top Linked Trail Outing: Profile Trail (2.7 miles) to Calloway Trail (0.3 mile) to Grandfather Trail (2.4 miles) Very strenuous – an all day outing for serious hikers only. East Side Trails • Daniel Boone Scout Trail: Strenuous. Ascends 2,000 feet in just 2.6 miles (allow 4.5 hours for round trip). Recommended access is from the Boone Fork Parking Area via the Tanawha Trail. Strenuous and steep trail to Calloway Peak, the highest point in the Blue Ridge. • Nuwati Trail: 1.2 miles, easy but rocky. Located 0.4 miles on Tanawha Trail from Boone Fork Parking Area. • Cragway Trail: Rocky and strenuous trail that links Nuwati and Daniel Boone Scout Trails. 1.0 mile. • Asutsi Trail: 0.4 mile. An easy connecting trail from Hwy 221 at Serenity Farm to Boone Fork Footbridge. Provides winter access to the East Side Trails.

Linville Gorge Trails

Here is a list of some of the more popular and longer trails in the Gorge area (although many interconnect to make longer hikes). Be forewarned, the Linville Gorge Wilderness is one of the most remote, rugged wilderness areas in the entire Eastern United States. Trails are marked at the trailhead, but are not signed or blazed once inside the wilderness. Make sure you know how to read a topographical map and use a compass. Some trails include crossings of the Linville River--exercise extreme caution when crossing moving water. Hikers, campers, and rock climbers get lost within this wilderness area annually, and deaths are not uncommon. Contact the U.S. Forest Service office in Marion for maps, permits, information on other trails, and safety details. Permits are required for overnight outings. CONTINUED ON PAGE 19 




Sleeping Under a Canopy of Autumn Leaves A midsummer’s night dream lies within the mountainous paradise of the High Country. Cascading streams, lush forests and natural solitude creates a world of beauty to see. The Western North Carolina region offers a wide range of camping opportunities, from realistic, primitive camping to semi-luxurious camping with bathroom facilities. This versatile selection makes it possible to find a site that suits anyone’s needs. Private campgrounds such as RiverCamp USA and Boone KOA Campground usually provide the amenities of shower and bath houses. Many of the public campgrounds do include RV electrical and water hookups, as well as tent sites. As with any camping experience, weather is always an issue. Weather in the High Country is moody — one moment the sun will shine and the next moment, dark thunderstorm clouds will loom. Just be prepared for all weather conditions. Treasure the wilderness as if it were home. Leave no traces, so others can relish in its beauty also. Nature should be left untouched and unharmed especially the mountains in the High Country because they are what are so alluring about this region.

Public Campgrounds Julian Price Park Located along the Blue Ridge Parkway around milepost 297, Julian Price Park hosts 3,900 acres of campgrounds, picnic grounds, hiking trails, trout fishing and nature walks. Canoe and boat rentals are also available. It features 129 tent sites and 68 recreational vehicle spots. Restroom facilities are available but there are no showers or electrical hookups. The campground also has a 300-seat outdoor amphitheater that is used for demonstrations and discussions. Call (828) 295-7591

but it has water spigots, dump stations and flush toilets. Call (828) 765-2681 for more details.

Linville Falls Campground

New River State Park

Although one of the smallest campgrounds, it is still one of the most popular. It is also located along the Blue Ridge Parkway near milepost 316 and is maintained by the National Park Service. Species of rhododendron, hardwood and white pines enables campers to find the ideal amount of sunlight and shade. It features 70 sites on a first-come, first-serve basis. There are no showers or electrical hookups,

The placid water of New River offers bass fishing and trout stream. Canoeing is a way to soak in the experience at New River State Park. With over 1,700 acres, each spot is a canoe-in area that provides picnic tables and fire pits. There are 33 tent camping sites over three locations. CONTINUED ON NEXT PAGE 




Pisgah National Forest

Pisgah National Forest Grandfather District includes 402,560 acres of Wilson Creek Area, Brown Mountain Area, Mackay Mountain Backcountry, Tablerock Area and Linville Gorge. Three campgrounds lie within the Pisgah National Forest territory The Mortimer, Boone Fork and the Curtis Creek campsites. All of them have pit toilets and portable drinking water. With plenty of land, there is plenty to do. Do anything from hiking, backpacking, rock climbing and camping to fishing, swimming, horseback riding and biking. Plus, the Pisgah National Forest is filled with stunning scenery of mountains, trails and streams. Call the National Forests in North Carolina at (828)2574200.

Private Campgrounds



The U.S. 221 area is composed of 15 sites. The Alleghany area can only be accessed by canoe and has nine sites with pit toilets. The Wagoneer Rd. has nine walk-in camping sites and contains shower houses and bathrooms. Campers must register with the ranger at the U.S. 221 and Wagoneer Rd. locations. Call (336) 982-2587.

Honey Bear Campground Conveniently located off of N.C. 105 near Blowing Rock and Banner Elk, campers can find themselves in the heart of the High Country. It has wooded campsites, a small fishing pond and a hiking trail. Amenities include showers and toilets, RV full hookups and laundry facilities. It is in close proximity to local summer festivals, Grandfather Mountain and Tweetsie Railroad. For more information, call (828) 963-4586,

Bear Den Family Campground: Blue Ridge Parkway, milepost 324.8. 600 Bear Den Mountain Rd., Spruce Pine, NC 28777. (828)7652888. Boone KOA Campground:123 Harmony Mountain Ln., Boone, NC 28607. (828)264-7250. Flintlock Family Campground:171 Flintlock Campground Dr., Boone, NC 28607. (828)963-5325. www.flintlock Grandfather Mountain Campground: P.O. Drawer 2060, Boone, NC 28607. (828)963-7275. Greenfield Campground: 1795 Mt. Jefferson Road, West Jefferson, NC 28694. (336)246-9106 Vanderpool High Country Campground: 120 Campground Road , Vilas, NC 28692. (828)297-3486 River Camp USA: PO Box 9, Piney Creek, NC 28663. 1-800RIVERCAMP(748-3722) Zaloos Canoes: 3874 N.C. Hwy 16 South, Jefferson, NC 28640. (336)246-3066, or 800-535-4027.


The Mountain Times Autumn Guide


Zip Through the High Country Zip through the valleys and over the trees on one of the longest zipline courses on the east coast at Hawksnest in Seven Devils. With 10 cables totaling one and half miles of riding, the canopy tour offers long-range views of the fall colors. The first half of the course features long cables, one 1800 feet and one 1500 feet, that zip along over the winter snow tubing course. The remaining cables cut through the forest, ending on a swinging bridge. While waiting on platforms or crossing the swinging bridge, riders are secured at all times with a safety cable. Tour guides connect and disconnect riders at the start and finish of each cable, offering instruction on when to slow down and when to let go and zip along. Helmets and gloves are provided. The canopy tour takes approximately one and one half hours to complete. Children must be at least five years old to ride the Zipline. The harnesses accommodate up to a 40-inch waist and a weight limit of 250 pounds. Hawksnest tours run at 10 a.m., noon, 2, 4 and 6 p.m., seven days a week. Riders are asked to arrive at the resort 30 minutes prior to the start of the tour. Closed-toe shoes that are suitable for walking in wooden areas are required. Single tours are not available. Riders must come in pairs or larger groups. Reservations are recommended as some tours do sell out. The cost of the tour is $65 per person. Ashe, Avery and Watauga county residents receive a $15 discount with proof of residency. For directions or reservations, contact Hawksnest Resort at (828) 9636561 or (800) 822-4295, or on the web at Also, Scream Time Zipline is a zipline company located in Foscoe [(828) 898-5404]. — Melanie Marshall

The Mountain Times Autumn Guide



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Pack Your Pack F Backcountry Guide

or those outdoor enthusiasts who truly want to get out and avoid the noise of bug zappers and the electric amber glow of propane lanterns hissing in the evening air, then backpacking the High Country is your ticket to the peace and tranquility of nature that can only be found in the backcountry. There are multiple backpacking possibilities throughout the region, some more rugged than others.

Grandfather Mountain: Backpacking along the trails of Grandfather Mountain is permitted by permit only. This gorgeous privately-owned biopreserve offers numerous well maintained trails and campsites. To obtain a permit, or for additional information about the mountain call (828) 733-4337 or go to

The Appalachian Trail: The Appalachian Trail runs approximately 2,200 miles from Georgia to Maine and along the way it meanders through several parts of the High Country. The trail runs through Roan Mountain State Park across one of the famed southern Bald’s. Roan Mountain is located on Route 19E along the border of North Carolina and Tennessee. The trail also runs North of Ashe Country in the Grayson Highlands State Park of Virginia. For more information, call (304) 535-6331 or check out www.

The Mountains to Sea Trail: The North Carolina Mountains to Sea Trail runs 908 miles and through 37 counties from Clingman’s Dome in the Great Smokey Mountains to Jockeys Ridge on the Atlantic Coast. Within the High Country, the trail runs through Pisgah National Forest, across Beacon Heights along the Blue Ridge Parkway and over Table Rock within the Linville Gorge. Check out for more information.

Linville Gorge: This spectacular gorge offers 39 miles of trails, many of which can challenge even the most experienced hiker. Primitive camping is permitted throughout the gorge, with permits required on weekends and holidays from May 1 to Oct.31. Walk-in permits are available at the Linville Gorge Information Center located along the Kistler Memorial Highway in Linville Falls. For more information contact the District Rangers Office at (828) 652-4841 visit www. linville_gorge.htm.

Wilson Creek/Lost Cove:

Twenty-five miles of trails wander through the deep valleys and gorges of the Pisgah National Forest, located 45 minutes from Boone in Avery County. The are offers some excellent out of the way primitive camping options with waterfalls and wildlife in abundance. No permits are required for backpacking in Pisgah National Forest. Contact the Grandfather Ranger District office at (828) 652-2144 for more information.

The Mountain Times Autumn Guide


Plan Ahead and Prepare Proper trip planning and preparation helps hikers and campers accomplish trip goals safely and enjoyably while minimizing damage to natural and cultural resources. Campers who plan ahead can avoid unexpected situations, and minimize their impact by complying with area regulations such as observing limitations on group size. Schedule your trek to avoid times of high use. Obtain permits or permission to use the area for your trek.

Proper planning ensures:

Henry David Thoreau

“Our life is frittered away by detail... Simplify, simplify”

* Low-risk adventures because campers obtained information concerning geography and weather and prepared accordingly. * Properly located campsites because campers allotted enough time to reach their destination. * Appropriate campfires and minimal trash because of careful meal planning and food repackaging and proper equipment. * Comfortable and fun camping and hiking experiences because the outing matches the skill level of the participants. Travel & Camp on Durable Surfaces Damage to land occurs when visitors trample vegetation or communities of organisms beyond recovery. The resulting barren areas develop into undesirable trails, campsites, and soil erosion.

Spread Out? * In high-use areas, campers should concentrate their activities where vegetation is already absent. Minimize resource damage by using existing trails and selecting designated or existing campsites. Keep campsites small by arranging tents in close proximity.

* In more remote, less-traveled areas, campers should generally spread out. When hiking, take different paths to avoid creating new trails that cause erosion. When camping, disperse tents and cooking activities—and move camp daily to avoid creating permanentlooking campsites. Avoid places where impacts are just beginning to show. Always choose the most durable surfaces available: rock, gravel, sand, compacted soil, dry grasses, or snow. These guidelines apply to most alpine settings and may be different for other areas, such as deserts. Learn the Leave No Trace techniques for your crews specific activity or destination. Check with land managers to be sure of the proper technique.

PAGE 17 and exposure to others. Catholes six to eight inches deep in humus and 200 feet from water, trails, and campsites are often the easiest and most practical way to dispose of feces.

Leave What You Find Allow others a sense of discovery, and preserve the past. Leave rocks, plants, animals, archaeological artifacts, and other objects as you find them. Examine but do not touch cultural or historical structures and artifacts. It may be illegal to remove artifacts.

Minimize Site Alterations

This simple yet effective saying motivates backcountry visitors to take their trash home with them. It makes sense to carry out of the backcountry the extra materials taken there by your group or others. Inspect your campsite for trash or spilled foods. Accept the challenge of packing out all trash, leftover food, and litter.

Do not dig tent trenches or build lean-tos, tables, or chairs. Never hammer nails into trees, hack at trees with hatchets or saws, or damage bark and roots by tying horses to trees for extended periods. Replace surface rocks or twigs that you cleared from the campsite. On high-impact sites, clean the area and dismantle inappropriate user-built facilities such as multiple fire rings and log seats or tables. Good campsites are found, not made. Avoid altering a site, digging trenches, or building structures.


Minimize Campfire Impacts

Backcountry users create body waste and wastewater that require proper disposal. Wastewater: Help prevent contamination of natural water sources: After straining food particles, properly dispose of dishwater by dispersing at least 200 feet (about 80 to 100 strides for a youth) from springs, streams, and lakes. Use biodegradable soap 200 feet or more from any water source. Human Waste: Proper human waste disposal helps prevent the spread of disease

Some people would not think of camping without a campfire. Yet the naturalness of many areas has been degraded by overuse of fires and increasing demand for firewood. Lightweight camp stoves make low-impact camping possible by encouraging a shift away from fires. Stoves are fast, eliminate the need for firewood, and make cleanup after meals easier. After dinner, enjoy a candle lantern instead of a fire. CONTINUED ON NEXT PAGE 

Dispose of Waste Properly (Pack It In, Pack It Out)





If you build a fire, the most important consideration is the potential for resource damage. Whenever possible, use an existing campfire ring in a well-placed campsite. Choose not to have a fire in areas where wood is scarce—at higher elevations, in heavily used areas with a limited wood supply, or in desert settings. True Leave No Trace fires are small. Use dead and downed wood that can be broken easily by hand. When possible, burn all wood to ash and remove all unburned trash and food from the fire ring. If a site has two or more fire rings, you may dismantle all but one and scatter the materials in the surrounding area. Be certain all wood and campfire debris is dead out.

Respect Wildlife

Quick movements and loud noises are stressful to animals. Considerate campers practice these safety methods: * Observe wildlife from afar to avoid disturbing them. * Give animals a wide berth, especially during breeding, nesting, and birthing seasons. * Store food securely and keep garbage and food scraps away from animals so they will not acquire bad habits. * Never feed wildlife. Help keep wildlife wild. *You are too close if an animal alters its normal activities. Be Considerate of Other Visitors Thoughtful campers respect other visitors and protect the quality of their experience. * Travel and camp in small groups (no more than the group size prescribed by land managers). * Let natures sounds prevail. Keep the noise down and leave radios, tape players, and pets at home. * Select campsites away from other groups to help preserve their solitude. * Always travel and camp quietly to avoid disturbing other visitors. * Make sure the colors of clothing and gear blend with the environment. * Respect private property and leave gates (open or closed) as found. *Be considerate of other campers and respect their privacy.


Tremendous Trails Continued From Page 11

For more information, phone (828) 652-2144. • Linville Gorge Trail: 11.5 miles ranging from easy to strenuous, well-marked to poorly maintained. Not for beginners! Take your compass and topo map and enjoy riverside hiking through virgin forest in the bottom of the gorge. • Sandy Flats Trail: A strenuous trail on the west rim of the Linville Gorge. 1.3 mile in length and rather poorly maintained – be careful! • Babel Tower Trail: Located on the west rim, this trail has an elevation change of 1,000 feet within 1.3 miles. • Cabin Trail: A strenuous 1-mile descent starting at Forest Service Road 1238. Poorly marked and maintained, so take your map and compass and exercise extra caution. •Cambric Branch Trail: Accessed from Shortoff Mountain Trail, this 1.2 mile trail descends along a ridgeline into the gorge. Your strenuous exercise is rewarded with good views. • Conley Cove: This is a popular trail thanks to its more gradual descent into the gorge. It accesses Rock Jock Trail on the way to the gorge floor. A moderate 1.3 mile hike with good views along the way. • Bynum Bluff Trail: One mile long, this west rim trail starts out easy but becomes strenuous. A short spur from the main trail leads to great views of the river and gorge. • Devil’s Hole Trail: This strenuous 1.5 mile trail descends into the gorge and connects with the Linville Gorge Trail. Be careful crossing the river! • East Rim Trails: Included are Devil’s Hole Trail (1.5 miles); Jonas Ridge Trail (4.4 mile roundtrip); Table Rock Gap Trail (1.6 miles). These and many other Linville Gorge trails interconnect to make trips of varying length. • Pinch In Trail: The southernmost access trail into the wilderness area, this very steep and rocky trail is a strenuous 1.4 miles that affords good views. • Spence Ridge Trail: A moderate 1.7 mile descent from the east rim to the gorge floor, this is a well-used access point to the area. Cross the river to connect to the Linville Gorge Trail. • Table Rock Summit Trail: 1.4 miles, moderate. This trail ascends from the Table Rock parking area to the towering, 4,000 foot summit on the rim of the gorge. • Shortoff Mountain Trail: A moderate 5.2 mile roundtrip starts at the Table Rock parking area. The 2.6 mile trail follows the dramatic edge of the Linville Gorge to Shortoff Mountain, with great views of the gorge, Lake James, and the NC Piedmont. • Hawksbill Trail: This 1.5 mile moderate roundtrip starts on Forest Service road 210. The short steep hike goes to the top of Hawksbill Mountain.

Wilson Creek Proposed Wilderness Area The Wilson Creek Proposed Wilderness area, National Forest Service land composed of Lost Cove Ridge and the Harper’s Creek Area, borders the Blue Ridge Parkway in Avery County. Twenty-five miles of primitive wilderness trails offer excellent hiking and backpacking opportunities for travelers in this little-known, out of the way (but only about 45 minutes from Boone!) wilderness area. Call Pisgah National Forest at (828) 682-2144 for details. Maps available through the Pisgah office or area outfitters. The following are a few of the trails offered in this area: • Huntfish Falls: Moderately strenuous, 1.4 mile roundtrip descends steeply to a big pool beneath a 10 ft. falls. Starts on forest service road 464. • Lost Cove Trail: This moderate 6 mile roundtrip starts at Huntfish Falls and follows Lost Cove Creek for 3 miles. • Big Lost Cove Cliffs Trail: Easy 3 mile roundtrip starts on forest service road (FSR) 464. Offers excellent view of

The Mountain Times Autumn Guide

Grandfather Mountain. • Wilson Creek Trail/Wilson Creek Access/White Rocks Trail: These three trails combine to create an 8.8 mile, moderate to strenuous outing. Offers remote outdoors with fishing, abundant wildlife and rugged terrain. • Harper Creek Trail: Strenuous 6.3 mile trail, connects to 9 other area trails, leading to gorgeous waterfalls, aspiring views, and excellent backpacking opportunities.

Mount Jefferson Park Description: Mount Jefferson State Park covers 541 acres and hikers can view North Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia. The abundance of plants and shrubs led to the area’s protection in 1975. For more info, phone (336) 246-9653. • Rhododendron Trail: A moderate 1.1 mile trail that starts near the end of the summit trail. Self-guided booklets are available at the trailhead, providing information about points of interest at various stations along the trail. The trail is at its most beautiful in early June when the purple-flowered Catawba rhododendron is in bloom. Magnificent view of summit ridge and valley below. • Summit Trail: Beginning at the parking lot on Mount Jefferson, the summit trail passes through the picnic ground and ascends 0.3 miles to the highest point on Mount Jefferson. Moderate.

Roan Mountain Trails Description: Roan Mountain and the Roan Mountain Highlands straddle the North Carolina/Tennessee border about a 45 minute drive from Boone. Several designated hiking trails, ranging up to four miles in length and varying in difficulty, meander through the park’s forests and stretches of Grassy Balds. For the experienced hiker, the famed Appalachian Trail crosses Roan Mountain at one of its most scenic junctures. The top of the mountain is open from April to October. For more information, phone (423) 772-3314. • Cloudland Trail: A 3mile intermediate trail, the Cloudland Trail follows the crest of Roan Mountain, with a trailhead at the top of the Roan. • Gardens Trail: This trail, 1 mile in length, is paved and travels throughout Roan Mountain’s famed rhododendron gardens which usually bloom in June. This trail is handicapped accessible. • Appalachian Trail: The Maineto-Georgia Appalachian Trail crosses Roan Mountain, literally going “right over the top.” It’s difficult trekking in spots, but well worth the effort. An Appalachian Trail shelter is located near the peak of Roan Mountain. Horseback and ORV The local parks have a few trails that allow horse travel, and some areas have special trails for motorized off-road vehicles (Blue Ridge Parkway trails do not allow ORVs). Among Blue Ridge Parkway areas

PAGE 19 that allow horse traffic are the Moses Cone carriage trails and several trails in Doughton Park. Please contact area parks and Pisgah National Forest for information on alternative trails and regulations (see addresses in the information box on page 95).

Beech Mountain Trails

A series of nature trails crisscross Beech Mountain, all passing through gently sloping woodlands and passing over several of Beech’s main roadways. For more information, phone (828) 387-9283 or visit • Lake Coffey Course: This scenic 1/4 mile course wraps around the lake and is perfect for both walking and jogging. • Pond Creek Trail: This easy to moderate 2 mile trail begins at Tamarack Road, following the creek past Lake Coffey to Locust Ridge Road. The lower end of the trail has a few small waterfalls. Park at Perry Park area. • Grassy Creek Trail: This easy 1.2 mile trail follows the creek from Hawthorn Road and ends at Grassy Gap Creek Road. • Cherry Gap Trail: An easy to moderate 1.6 mile walk up undeveloped Wild Iris Road. Start at Cherry Gap Road. * Buckeye Gap Loop Trail: Moderate 8.4 miles. * West Bowl Buckeye Creek Trail: Moderate 3.4 miles. * Grassy Gap Creek Trail: Easy to moderate 2 miles. * Smoketree Trail: Easy to moderate 2 mile loop.

-Story by Kevin Young


The Mountain Times Autumn Guide


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There is an old joke in the High Country that if you don’t like the weather, wait 15 minutes then walk around the corner. There is some semblance of truth to this as locals claim that in the spring and in early summer you can set your watch by the torrential afternoon thunder storms. All this rain may turn the climbers, and hikers into unhappy campers, but if you are a whitewater enthusiast this kind of weather makes the High Country the place to be. The northwestern North Carolina region offers some of the absolute best whitewater in the southeast. The major rivers include the Watauga, the French Broad, the Pigeon, the Nolichucky and the New. Each river offers a different level of difficulty and seriousness and the local guide services can help you tailor a trip to your personal tastes and desires. Generally, the rafting season lasts from the end of March to the middle of October. The size of the rapids and the types of trips available to run vary throughout the season depending on water levels. CONTINUED ON PAGE 24 ďƒ˜


The Mountain Times Autumn Guide




Time to Tee It Up


Your Guide to the Area’s Courses Autumn in the High Country is a sight to behold. The wondrous sight of the changing leaves can be enjoyed from a variety of locations, but if you are a golfer, there is no better place to take in nature’s beauty than from a fairway or a green. With that thought in mind, a tour of the area’s golfing options would seem to be order. We begin our trek with a look at Boone Golf Club, located at 433 Fairway Drive, near the Watauga Medical Center. Boone Golf Club offers 18 holes over 6,680 yards with a par of 71. This public course has a course rating of 70.1, opened in 1959, and was designed by Ellis Maples. The course at Boone Golf Club surprises many first-time players, who expect one mammoth hill after another. While a few rises and drops do exist, players also find many level holes and a plethora of scenic views. Our next stop lands us at Mountain Aire Golf Club, located in West Jefferson at 1104 Golf Course Road. Mountain Aire Golf Club, also a public course, offers a 18-hole course which totals 6,404 yards in its par 72 design. The course registers a 69.8 rating with a slope of 122. In an effort to learn more about the course, however, Mountain Aire Golf Club head pro Mark Hagel offers these insights. “This course opened in 1950, and through the years, has expanded from nine holes to 18,” said Hagel. “It’s quite hilly, and I would call it a true mountain course. It is a challenging course, and one in very good condition.”

Hagel said the featured hole at Mountain Aire is the sixth hole, a hole that includes a 200-foot drop in elevation from tee to green. “The views on the sixth hole are extraordinary,” said Hagel, the head pro since 1974. “It’s one of many holes that we have that feature very nice views.”

Next up is Sugar Mountain Golf Course, located at 914 Sugar Mountain Drive in Banner Elk. The 18hole course offers up 4,560 yards of golf with a course rating of 61.1 and a slope rating of 94. Designed by Francis Duane/Arnold Palmer, the Sugar Mountain course opened in 1973. The executive-length course is known for its immaculate conditions and beautiful, scenic opportunities. A short excursion to Newland off of Highway 194 finds you at Mountain Glen Golf Club. This public course features 6,723 yards of golf from the longest tees for a par of 72. Designed by George W. Cobb, the course opened its doors and fairways in 1963. Mountain Glen has a course rating of 70 and has a slope rating of 129. Mountain Glen offers up large, quick greens, which are also well protected by sand traps. A trek across the North Carolina/Tennessee state line lands you at the doorsteps of Red Tail Mountain Golf Club, located off of Highway 421 in Mountain City, Tenn. Designed by Dan F. Maples and Ellis Maples, the course opened in 1982. Red Tail Mountain provides 6,884 yards of golf, with a par of 72. The course rating is 71.8 and the slope rating is 120. The public course is a 18hole regulation-length course. Comments concerning the Red Tail Mountain experience consistently mention the course’s excellent conditioning and beautiful views. CONTINUED ON NEXT PAGE 




Golf in the High Country Boone Golf Club, Boone May 23 through September 18 Monday-Thursday: $54, includes cart. Friday-Sunday: $59, includes cart. Sunday afternoon through Thursday, after 12:00 p.m.: $47, includes cart Nine hole rate: half the regular 18 hole rate (828) 264-8760

Red Tail Mountain, Mountain City, Tenn. Weekdays: $55, includes cart. Weekends and holidays: $70 includes cart. Specials: Monday - Ladies Day $38 includes cart. Tuesday - Senior’s Day (Ages 55 and older) $38 includes cart. Wednesday – Men’s Day $38 includes cart. Friday – After 5 p.m. – Couples mixer - $20 – Nine holes. All Days – After 2:30 p.m. - $38 includes cart (423) 727-7931

Jefferson Landing Club, Jefferson Guests accompanied by member Monday-Thursday: $55 Friday-Sunday: $65 Unaccompanied guests Monday-Thursday: $75

Friday-Sunday: $95 (336) 982-7767

Mountain Aire Golf Club, West Jefferson June 28-September 14 Before 1 p.m.: $39 After 1 p.m.: $34 Weekends, before 2 p.m.: $49 Weekends, after 2 p.m.: $43 (336) 877-4716

Mountain Glen Golf Club, Newland August and September: Before 4 p.m.: $41, plus cart $14 After 4 p.m.: $25, includes cart Golf carts: $7 per person for nine holes, $14 per person for 18 holes October: $26 green fee only, plus cart $14 (828) 733-5804

Sugar Mountain Golf Course, Banner Elk Present-Sept. 12 18 holes, $40, includes cart 9 holes, $23, includes cart Walking Special – 18 holes after 4 p.m., $14 September 13-end of season 18 holes, $32, includes cart 9 holes, $20, includes cart Walking Special – 18 holes after 3 p.m., $14 (828) 898-6464


Willow Creek Golf Course, Boone 9 holes Par 3 executive golf course Walk 9 holes: $10 Walk 18 holes: $13 Ride 9 holes: $16 Ride 18 holes: $22 (828) 963-6865

Mountaineer Golf Center, Driving Range 40-ball bucket: $5 75-ball bucket: $7 110-ball bucket: $9 Ball counts are approximate. (828) 264-6830

Golf Guide


If time’s short or 7,000 yards of terrain seems a bit daunting, then take a trip to Willow Creek Golf Club in Boone, NC for a nine-hole outing. A public course, Willow Creek features 1,663 yards of golf from the longest tees for a par of 27. The course rating is 45 and the slope rating is 113. Designed by Tom Jackson, the Willow Creek golf course opened in 1975. Finally, if you just want to hit a few balls to keep your game in shape until your next golfing experience, head over to Mountaineer Golf Center, located on the 105 extension in Boone. Mountaineer Golf Center offers three sizes of buckets, ranging in price from $5 to $9. So, if your idea of the ideal spot to watch the changing leaves is from a golf course, break out the clubs and enjoy. —Mark Mitchell



There are multiple ways one can float down the rivers of the region. The more leisurely options include a relaxing inner tube float down the New or a canoe trip. For those who want a little more adventure a funyak offers a cross between a canoe, a raft, and a kayak and allows for a challenging and intimate ride with the water. Rafting options vary from mellow family trips to raucous class IV whitewater that will thrill even the hardest adrenaline junky. Finally, kayaking offers a personal one-on-one with the rivers that can not be experienced in any other boat.


Many of the professional guides, or “River Rats” as they are sometimes affectionately called, migrate to the area every spring for the rafting season. These exceptional breeds of individuals are half the fun of the experience in their own right. They make their living safely guiding people down some of the most exciting and dangerous water in the eastern United States. Maybe it’s the consistent adrenaline rush of their chosen occupation that encourages the profession to lend itself to vivacious personalities as well as excellent and often hilarious conversationalists. It is a guarantee that the guides will entertain you almost as much as the whitewater.

THE MOUNTAIN TIMES AUTUMN GUIDE rapids and pristine beauty. The river offers whitewater ranging from class I to class V. The Watauga originates on the flanks of Grandfather Mountain and flow down through Foscoe before heading into Valle Crucis. The section running through the scenic “Vale of the Cross” community offers class 1 and 2 waters, perfect for tubing. A great half-day float begins at the Valle Crucis Park behind the Mast Store Annex and ends at a high water bridge where Hwy 194 crosses the river. Below Valle Crucis, the river picks up pace, containing class II, III and even IV waters (depending upon the water level) before flowing into the Watauga Gorge beyond the Bethel Community. One of the noted sections of this river is the Watauga Gorge, a class IV-V that experienced kayakers and open boaters (canoes specially designed for running white water) have been running since around 1970. This stretch of whitewater is still considered to be one of the more classic runs in the East.


River merge, doubling the width as it moves further North. In Ashe and Alleghany counties, the river flows through a 26mile stretch known as the New River State Park, which features several canoe-in only campsites as well as several picnic areas. Two convenient put-ins are the Wagoner Access off of Hwy 88 and the US 221 put-in off of US 221, both located north of Jefferson. Beyond this the river flows through Virginia, growing steadily in size. As the river moves north into West Virginia, the water becomes more intense and rapids increase to class III and IV’s in the New River Gorge area.

Wilson’s Creek

Wilson Creek, located in Avery and Caldwell counties in the Pisgah National Forest, has two major sections frequented by boaters. Section 3 (from Mortimer to the National Forest boundary sign) is an excellent section for learning or picking up some of the skills needed to run the lower section. Section 4 (running through Wilson Gorge to Brown Mountain Beach), rated class III, IV and sometimes V, has many dramatic drops and is quite challenging. Local guide companies offer funyak trips on this section.

Elk & Linville Rivers

Two other rivers in the area occasionally run by local paddlers are the Elk and Linville Rivers, both very scenic and intense, with some sections that are virtually un-boatable. These rivers are for expert paddlers only!



If rafting is not your game and you’re seeking a little more of a challenge, check out a funyak. Funyaks are a cross between an inflatable kayak and a canoe. They are self-bailing like most rafts and they can accommodate one or two people. Funyaks are paddled like a kayak and offer an exhilarating and intimate experience with the water. They can easily handle moderate whitewater or a mellow float down the New River. Most of the local guiding services offer some sort of funyak package.


Besides funyaks and rafting there are two more mellow options to enjoy the rivers of the High Country, canoeing and tubing. Many area outfitters offer canoe rental with either daily shuttles or overnight trips. The water is usually less fast paced but still offers the occasional challenging rapid. Tubing is also available though many guide services and outfitters. This hydro-option involves a completely relaxing float down the river with the occasional rapid, otherwise its just you and the river flowing peacefully together. The local rafting companies in the High Country offer a wide range of whitewater experiences and trips from lazy float trips down moderate sections of the New River to a Class IV run down the Nolichucky. Some outfitters offer overnight trips and even buffet lunches on the river. No matter what your best bet is to book a trip with one of the many professional guide services in the area. Not only will your trip be more enjoyable it will be safer too.


Several sections of The Watauga River offer a great family experience with beautiful views and class II to class III rapids. The Watauga River is well noted for its white water, challenging

While our local rivers offer plenty of wet and wild fun, this area is blessed with several regional gems that greatly increases the whitewater fun potential. Many of our local guide companies offer trips to the French Broad, Pigeon and Nolichucky rivers, among others.

The French Broad

Beyond the Gorge, the river flows into Watauga Lake in Tennessee, a man-made high mountain waterway which is fun to paddle in its own right. Below the Watauga Lake dam, the river becomes wild and woolly once more, and is a popular day trip destination for many local rafting guides, with class III and IV waters. Generally this trip’s first major rapid is the Anaconda which can be up to class three depending on water levels. This river is great to raft with children and is perfect way to enter the sport of rafting for those who have never ventured on a whitewater rafting trip before.

The New

The New River is considered the secomd oldest river in the world. It runs from North Carolina into Virginia and West Virginia and is one of the few rivers in the world that flows north. The paddling on this river is beautiful and majestic and offers a great all day or overnight trip at a leisurely pace. The headwaters of the South Fork of the river originate in Blowing Rock, and the growing New flows through the edge of downtown Boone, but is not big enough to paddle until it nears Todd and the Ashe/Watauga County boarder. The river meanders near Jefferson on it’s way through Ashe County and offers class I and II rapids as well as great trout, small mouth bass, and catfish fishing. Near the Virginia boarder, the South and North Forks of the New

The French Broad is one of the more scenic rivers in the area. It flows through Pisgah National Forrest in Western North Carolina and offers everything from cold and tempestuous whitewater in the spring to more mellow yet still exciting trips in the summer. The season on the French Broad generally runs from late March through October. Water levels vary with the season as does the water temperature.

The Pigeon

The Pigeon River runs through the Great Smokey Mountains National Park and Pisgah national forest and offers some terribly exciting whitewater in a gorgeous setting. The Pigeon boasts twelve class III and three class IV rapids with names such as Too Late, Vegamatic, and Razor Blade. This section of the river offers one wild and wet ride that you will never forget. The lower section of the river is considerably more tame and offers a more leisurely float for those who don’t need the adrenaline rush of heavy whitewater to have a good time.

The Nolichucky

The headwaters and tributaries of this powerful river begin on the slopes of Mt. Mitchell, the highest mountain on the entire east coast. From there the river rushes along the boarder of North Carolina and Tennessee through a raucous gorge rimmed with beautiful cliffs and flowery rhododendron. The upper Nolichucky is composed of several Class III and IV rapids offering an exciting ride. The lower section of the river contains more leisurely class I and II rapids, with one class III rapid.

The Mountain Times Autumn Guide



Pushing Pedals...

Your Guide to Cycling The High Country


here are a myriad of reasons why people live in and visit the High Country, one of the fastest growing reasons is the sport of cycling. American cycling icon Lance Armstrong raced in the Tour Dupont through the Blue Ridge Mountains in the late ‘90s. Armstrong must have taken a break from smoking the competition long enough to look around because he declared Boone and the surrounding area “…the best area for training in the whole of the United States.” Armstrong has returned since to train in the small pocket of cycling paradise we know as the High Country. So bold a statement could have only been taken straight from the mouth of a six-time Tour De France champion. There truly is something for everyone in The High Country and cycling is no exception. The sport of road cycling has experienced exponential growth in the past few years. There is no better place to ride over the hills and through the woods on a mountain bike than the wilderness surrounding Boone. Everyone from the casual rider, the bulging leg muscle roadie, or the gear head mountain biker will be able to find their own form of cycling Zen here in The High Country.

Road cycling has gained so much popularity that a visiting rider can almost always find someone to ride with. Magic Cycles and Boone Bike and Touring both offer riders forums on their websites so visiting cyclists can jump right in on the popular local rides. The staff at both bike shops wants nothing more than to know people are enjoying our Blue Ridge cycling paradise. Mountain biking has expanded in the High Country to include the new Dark Mountain trail system in North Wilkesboro. The casual rider looking for a scenic ride that’s not too long or strenuous should look into the numerous packed gravel roads in the area. The Virginia Creeper Trail, Railroad Grade Road in Todd, River Road in Valle Crucis or simply the Greenway Trail in Boone are great places to go at your own pace and observe the mountain scenery. Boone is a cyclist friendly town but there is a common sense law on the books that will earn you a fine. That common sense law is a helmet law and everyone riding must have one. The DOT reports that helmets can reduce the chance of head injury by 85 percent. Use your head, wear a helmet. Happy trails and enjoy the High Country.

Bike Shops

Magic Cycles In the heart of the Downtown Boone Business district you will find Magic Cycles. Magic Cycles is located across from the Footsloggers climbing tower on Depot St. Magic carries Raliegh, Diamondback and Giant mountain bikes as well as Felt and Orbea road bikes. Magic also carries a full line of Yakima roof racks and Fox apparel. Magic Cycles has a full service shop and a knowledgeable staff ready to help you and your bike. The Magic Cycles web site,, has a load of helpful information for the visiting cyclist. The Rider’s Forum page is a public forum where local riders post who is riding when and where. This is a great place for local or visiting cyclists wishing to get in on a ride. Check out the race schedule available under their race team page, includes dates and locations for almost every road race and ride in the state for the entire year. The Wednesday night road ride beginning at Magic Cycles is a local favorite. For more information give Magic Cycles a call at (828) 265-2211. CONTINUED ON NEXT PAGE 


The Mountain Times Autumn Guide



Continued From Page 25

Boone Bike and Touring Located across from McDonald’s on Highway 321(Blowing Rock Road) Boone Bike and Touring has a friendly and knowledgeable staff. Boone Bike is celebrating their 26th year in business this year. Boone Bike carry’s an enormous selection of mountain and road bikes from Specialized, Trek and Cannondale. Yakima roof racks and accessories and Pearl Izumi clothing are also available. Boone Bike also has rental bikes available, front suspension and full suspension models are ready to ride. Their full service repair shop is glad to fix the minutest problem or build you a bike from scratch. Boone Bike’s website is The Rider’s Forum page is a public forum where local riders post who is riding when and where. For more information call Boone Bike at (828) 262-5750.

Mountain Biking Sugar Mountain Sugar Mountain’s biking trails are open from May through October. There are miles of technical single track riding as well as open service road riding. Saturdays and Sunday from July 2 through October Sugar will operate their yellow chairlift to the top of the Mountain. Hikers and mountain bikers alike can enjoy the scenic ride to the top of Sugar Mountain. The Greenway The greenway trail in the heart of Boone is a great place to escape for a quick ride. The paved Greenway trail is approximately 7 miles long and relatively flat. The most convenient places to access the Green Way Trail is at the Watauga Parks and Recreation complex off of State Farm Rd. or off of Daniel Boone Dr. extension near the Watauga Humane Society. There are many short trails for the adventurous type just look for the trailheads off of the paved greenway path. The 3-5 miles of trails in the hills around the Greenway vary from wide-open fire road type to tight technical single track with log crossings and winding descents. Wilson’s Creek The Wilson’s Creek Proposed National Wilderness area is a part of Pisgah National Forest and is a haven for outdoor activities. Wilson’s has miles of trails for biking hiking and equestrian use. The trails available in Wilson’s creek are a must ride anyone who mountain bike will have a great day full of leg pumping climbs and fast downhills with rolling water bars. CONTINUED ON PAGE 119 


The Mountain Times Autumn Guide





ASU 2009-10: BACK ON TOP?

I had to laugh just a bit when somebody asked me if Appalachian State could rebound from a disappointing season. Disappointing? The Mountaineers went 11-3, won their fourth straight Southern Conference championship and reached the second round of the Football Championship Subdivision playoffs. It took the eventual champion Richmond Spiders to dethrone the three-time defending FCS champs. Yet not winning a fourth ASU football 2009 schedule straight national championship, as improbable as winning a fourth may Sept. 05 at East Carolina Noon have seemed back in 2005, was Sept. 12 McNEESE STATE TBA disappointing. Sept. 26 SAMFORD* TBA Oct. 3 at The Citadel * 1:30 p.m. Winning SoCon championships Oct. 10 N.C. CENTRAL# TBA and making the playoffs is the Oct. 17 at Wofford * TBA primary goal of the Mountaineers, Oct.24 GEORGIA SOUTHERN* TBA but merely stepping stones toward Oct. 31 at Furman* TBA another national championship to Nov. 7 CHATTANOOGA* Appalachian Nation. TBA Actually, nothing is wrong Nov. 14 at Elon* TBA with that. There is no reason why Nov. 21 WESTERN expectations should not be that high CAROLINA* this year. TBA Another national championship *Denotes Southern is certainly in Appalachian State’s Conference game grasp. This team is deep — again. There are a few areas that need to avoid injuries more than most, but the Mountaineers have the talent to run the table in the SoCon for a fifth straight year, win the league title and grab a top-four seed in the FCS playoffs.



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ASU 2009-10

Continued From Page 28

Motivation won’t be a problem. No team that has players who have two or three championship rings on their fingers who suddenly and unexpectedly get blown out — at home no less — in a playoff game lacks motivation. And it wasn’t like motivation was a problem when they were winning. They stayed hungry throughout the championship years. But that loss to Richmond proved that even when a team is loaded with All-Americans, it doesn’t necessarily add up to a national championship. This year, there are very few question marks on this team. The only question mark regarding Walter Payton Award winning quarterback Armanti Edwards is if he can stay healthy the entire season. I really wonder what type of numbers he would put up if he could sustain a 15-game season — that’s 11 regular season games plus four in the playoffs. He’s already rewriting the ASU record book that former standout quarterback Richie Williams established with one season to go. The Mountaineers’ running back situation has never been deeper, at least in my 11 years covering the team. Devon Moore, Devin Radford, Robert Weldon and Cedric Baker all proved they cold be effective when running the football. And that doesn’t include redshirt freshman Rod Chisholm, who had a great spring practice. He and Radford bring terrific speed to the table and it’s up to the coaching staff to find a place for them on the field. Perhaps it will be at slotback. At the wideout, 6-foot-5 receiver Brian Quick could reach the NFL if he can learn the ins and outs of the position. CoCo Hillary is a quick target and Brian Jorden has the potential to be an All-American at tight end when he’s finished. CONTINUED ON NEXT PAGE 





ASU 2009-10


The defensive line all returns healthy and with an extra year experience and two dynamic linebackers — Jacque Roman and D.J. Smith — return at linebacker. And the secondary is deep, fast and talented anchored by safety Mark LeGree and cornerback Cortez Gilbert. The offensive line is a mixture of players like left tackle Mario Acitelli, a four-year starter, and younger players such as guards Orry Frye, Matt Ruff and backup guard-tackle Pat Mills. The defensive line is experienced with several players who seem ready to reach their potential. Three years ago, I predicted the Mountaineers would win their second national title. A year later, I predicted a third. As for this year? Yes, I’ll say it. They’ll not only reach the finals, but return on top of the FCS.

Edwards eyes return for ECU game What could be the best season of Armanti Edwards’ college career almost was taken away in a matter of seconds. Anybody who follows Appalachian State football held their collective breath when they found out that Edwards suffered a deep gash in his right foot while mowing the lawn outside his apartment building. Edwards is making progress towards an expected complete recovery, having the 30 stitches removed on Monday. The question isn’t if he’ll come bacm, but instead it’s when? He was initially told he’d be out 2-4 weeks. Mountaineers coach Jerry Moore said that although Edwards has been a fast healer in the past, the quarterback’s injury is not one that can necessarily be fixed through rehabilitation. “How quick is that tissue going to heal? Who knows?” Moore said. “You don’t get treatment to speed that up. Only time heals that thing.”

A full recovery would mean a dangerous Edwards for the rest of the Southern Conference, if he can stay healthy. When Edwards is on top of his game, he is the top player in the Football Championship Subdivision. Yet it’s a 33-13 pasting of the Mountaineers in the second round of the FCS playoffs by Richmond, which picked off five Edwards passes, that motivates the quarterback. To be fair, one of Edwards’ passes when through a receiver’s hands and another receiver fell down at the goal line as the ball was

arriving on target. But Edwards still took the blame for all five, and uses the Richmond game to motivate him for the upcoming 2009 season. “It’s just more motivation for myself and my team,” he said. “I’m already motivated, but it’s still a loss in my mind, so I take that to the field.” CONTINUED ON NEXT PAGE 

The Mountain Times Autumn Guide


ASU 2009-10

Continued From Page 30

Edwards also played that game with a knee that required surgery and a hip-pointer that was numbed to ease the pain. Edwards was 26-of-42 in the game for 323 yards and a touchdown, but it was not enough to stop the Richmond express that didn’t end until it won the national championship. Richmond, and more recently a lawnmower blade injury, had done something most Southern Conference coaches have been trying to figure that out the past three years — slow down the ASU quarterback. “If he can get one-on-one with a defender, chances are he’s going to win,” Furman coach Bobby Lamb said. “You have to play solid football and tackle well and that’s really hard to do with him.” Wofford coach Mike Ayers, whose Terriers were thrashed 70-24 by the Mountaineers last year, is too familiar when it comes with dealing with Edwards, who hit 17-of-19 passes for 367 yards and five touchdowns, while running for 73 yards on 14 carries and a touchdown last Halloween night. “He’s a difference maker and a guy who can turn a game around all by himself,” Ayers said. “ I hope we don’t have as many nightmares about that guy.” Even with the injuries, missed playing time and the bad game against Richmond, the rest of the nation recognized that one game doesn’t signify a season that saw Edwards pass for 2,902 yards and 30 touchdowns, rush for 941

more yards and 11 TDs and finish with just two interceptions. Edwards was awarded the Walter Payton Award, given to the top FCS player in the nation, one night before Richmond beat Montana 24-7 in the national championship game. He became the first Mountaineer to win the award. His award also gave the Mountaineers the “triple crown” of the Sports Network’s FCS awards. Head coach Jerry Moore has won the Eddie Robinson Award for being named the coach of the year, and former standout linebacker Dexter Coakley won the Buck Buchanan Award, given to the nation’s top defensive player, two times. Edwards has had all spring and summer to think about the Richmond game and is determined not to let it happen again. The senior from Greenwood, S.C. spent the summer in Boone working on his timing with receivers and getting ready for the upcoming season. He got off to a slow start, however. Edwards needed surgery to repair his right knee, which he injured in week 10 in a win over Elon. Though he played through the pain in the playoffs, he saw limited action during spring practice while understudy DeAndre Presley filled in for most of the full-speed drills. Edwards feels confident that he can play in the Mountaineers’ season opener Sept. 5 at East Carolina. “I’ve been a fast recoverer, so there’s no doubt I’ll recover fast again,” he said.

ASU football 2008 results (11-3, 8-0) Aug. 30 at LSU Sept. 6 JACKSONVILLE Sept. 20 at James Madison Sept. 27 PRESBYTERIAN Oct. 4 THE CITADEL* Oct. 11 at Samford* Oct. 18 at Georgia Southern* Oct. 25 FURMAN* Oct. 31 WOFFORD* Nov. 8 at Chattanooga* Nov. 15 ELON* Nov. 22 at Western Carolina* Nov. 29 SOUTH CAROLINA ST.% Dec. 6 RICHMOND% *Denotes Southern Conference game %Denotes Football Championship Subdivision playoffs

L. 13-41 W. 56-7 L. 32-35 W. 48-14 W. 47-21 W. 35-24 W. 37-36 W. 26-14 W. 70-24 W. 49-7 W. 24-16 W. 35-10 W. 37-21 L. 13-33



The Mountain Times Autumn Guide


let’s go leaf-looking


s the weather turns cool, the High Country becomes a wonderland of brilliant fall colors. It’s no wonder folks come from miles around to behold their beauty. One need not look very far to see beautiful foliage, but the question the true leaf aficionados are all asking is “Where and when is the best fall color?” There is no straight forward answer to that question. Times and places of peak color vary, but throughout the season, fall foliage will be visible almost anywhere.

Foliage Forecast

“The best locations are different year-to-year, but everywhere you go, you’re going to see color, whether it’s below or above you,” said Bambi Teague, chief of resource management for the Blue Ridge Parkway. She added, “the best views are those overlooking forest service land, and south of Asheville there is forest service land on both sides of the Parkway.” Even though the intensity of fall leaf color depends on various environmental factors and plant genes, ideal weather conditions — bright, cool days and nights in the fall — are often a good indicator of exemplary fall foliage. In addition, sufficient rainfall in early autumn lengthens the amount of time leaves stay on the trees while enhancing their color. It is also possible to predict the sequence of color change. Trees at higher elevations turn first, beginning in late September or early October. Along the Parkway, onlookers will first be able to catch fall color south of Mount Pisgah, near The Devil’s Courthouse, and in the Shining Rock area, as well as along the edges of woodlands. Mid-October witnesses color change along the middle elevations, and late October brings the colors

to the Asheville Basin.

Color Science

As the length of available daylight decreases, plants are able to adjust their physiological processes accordingly, a mechanism called “photoperiodism.” In turn, photoperiodism induces several processes that age the plant, such as those indicated by color change. Collectively, these processes that eventually lead to the death of the plant or plant part are known as “senescence.” As days shorten, plants synthesize less chlorophyll, a group of green pigments that capture energy from the sun for photosynthesis. Thus, other pigments, the carotenoids and xanthophylls, which have been present in the leaves all along, are unmasked, changing the visible colors from greens to oranges and yellows. Trees that commonly show these pigments in the fall include ash, aspen, birch, black cherry, cottonwood, hickory, maple, tulip poplar and sycamore. The reds and purples that are visible in the fall come from another group of pigments, the anthocyanins. These pigments develop in the late summer in the sap of leaf cells, as sugars breakdown in the presence of bright light. According to Teague, “spots of red can be seen in the dogwoods and sourwoods as early as late September.” Sweet gums, black gums, and sugar maples may also be red. Some tree species, such as the oaks, contain tannins, which induce brown colors. “The oak trees are always the last to go,” Teague said. She added, “Even brown is pretty compared to green, when spread out in different grades over hundreds of acres.” CONTINUED ON PAGE 88 

The Mountain Times Autumn Guide


Leaf Lookers Information From The Mast General Store                                                   

       

            

        

             

              

    

        

                 

                        

                    

        

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TERROR ON THE TRACKS Tweetsie Railroad Launches 20th Ghost Train, Oct. 2-31 There’s an old mountain poem that goes, “When the leaves change from greenish to red, beware of old trains full of undead. When there starts to be a cold nip in the night, ghouls come to Tweetsie for fun and for fright.” It’s a poem that is most effectively told to youngsters while holding a flashlight under your chin. That’s just one way to get everyone in the proper mood for a visit to Tweetsie Railroad’s Ghost Train and Halloween Festival. Voted one of the top twenty Halloween festivals in the Southeast, the Ghost Train and Halloween Festival transforms Tweetsie’s wild west village into a marvelously spooky ghost town. And the fun doesn’t get started until the sun goes down. Tweetsie celebrates its 20th season of the Ghost Train beginning on Friday, October 2 and runs every Friday and Saturday evening through October 31. Tickets are on sale now. During the Halloween Festival, Tweetsie’s historic theme park is transformed into a smorgasbord of exciting and scary experiences. The depot and streets are filled with costumed characters greeting visitors with visions of Halloween. Special attractions include the all-new Haunted House filled with 13 spooky rooms guaranteed to startle even the most stouthearted horror fan. The festival also features the Haunted Palace Saloon with its “spooktacular” black light show, the chairlift ride to Mournful Mountain, 3-D Maze, Tunnel of Terror, the Creepy Carnival

and the infamous Black Hole. Although many of the attractions of recommended for adults and older children, there are other events designed for younger visitors as well. Kids will have the opportunity for trick-or-treating throughout the park enjoy all of the carnival rides. Of course, no trip to Tweetsie’s Halloween Festival is complete without a trip into the night on the Ghost Train. Engineer Casey Bones is back for another season and the train will take visitors through the blackness of the night on a one-way trip to see all manner of zombies and monsters in the woods. Tweetsie Railroad’s Ghost Train and Halloween Festival has become an annual tradition for both residents and families visiting the High Country during leaf season and has been rated one of the top tourism events in the Southeast by the Southeast Tourism Society.

Tickets & Times

Tweetsie Railroad’s Ghost Train and Halloween Festival is open every Friday and Saturday evening, October 2-31. Gates open each night at 7:30 p.m. and tickets are $26 per person. Tweetsie Railroad is located on U.S. Hwy 321 between Boone and Blowing Rock. For more information, call Tweetsie Railroad at (828) 264-9061, or visit www. —Jeff Eason





I Was a Tweetsie Werewolf! Ever since I was a teenager I’ve been envious of my friends who worked at Tweetsie Railroad. My family moved here at the beginning of my junior year of high school in 1976 and before long I began to hear glorious tales of the ultimate summer job. You got to dress up like a cowboy or Indian, act out battle scenes in the woods, and jump on the train to scare the bejeebers out of little kids…and get paid for it! Of course, the job was not without its perils. My cousin Jesse Mitchell was an Indian at Tweetsie in the early seventies and paid the ultimate price with his scalp. After jumping onto the train and yelling a few war whoops, Jesse had his head smacked open by a pint-sized cowboy wielding the butt end of a metal cap gun. A few stitches later, however, Jesse was back at work. Like the old saying goes, “Scars are tattoos with better stories.” Since returning to the High Country postcollege, I’ve written many articles about Tweetsie and its annual Ghost Train and Halloween Festival. When it was suggested by our editor that we writers engage in more first-person experiential stories, the first thing I thought of was being one of the creatures at the Ghost Train. After contacting Tweetsie’s operating director Cathy Robbins and getting permission to participate in the opening night of Ghost Train, I attended “Boo School,” the training session for all the characters at the Halloween Festival. Held a week before opening night, Boo School gave all of the characters a chance to meet one another and go over some basic rules of the road. Ghost Train director Joe Clark told the group,

most of whom had performed at the Halloween Festival or Tweetsie’s regular wild west-themed park previously, about the new wrinkles at this year’s event. Each year a special monster is chosen to be the focus of the Ghost Train’s ride through the darkness. This year the train ride and Palace Saloon show highlight the beloved werewolf, in all his hairy and howling glory. Tweetsie’s Scott McLeod, coordinator for this year’s impressive haunted house at the Halloween Festival, then gave the Boo School attendees some safety tips for both the train trip and encounters with visitors that might get out of hand. “If somebody doesn’t want to be scared and conveys that to you, you just back off,” said McLeod. “15 year-old boys are the worst. They come in packs and try to impress each other by trying to confront the characters and proving that you’re fake.” McLeod advised the characters to be agreeable in such situations and to contact security at the park if visitors insist on being confrontational. “Just about everybody who’s ever worked at Ghost Train has had somebody take a swing at them or try to grope them at one point or another,” said McLeod. “You’re the one who has to decide if it needs to be taken care of by security and if you want to press assault charges.” Despite the serious issues that were addressed at Boo School, everyone there had a good time and I could really sense a feeling of camaraderie and of anticipation for opening night. At the end of the evening, I watched as the Spice Ghouls dancers rehearsed their choreography for the

“Thriller” and “Time Warp” numbers. On opening night of Ghost Train I arrived at the costume building around 5:30 p.m. After discussing my wish to be a werewolf with head costumer Julia Hathaway, we decided to go with airbrushing a mask on my face instead of using a combination of prosthetics and airbrushing that the scarier werewolves would be using. That way, I could stay on Main Street and mingle with the crowd as they entered the park. The scarier werewolves would be waiting for them in the woods when these unsuspecting victims took the train ride. In the costume building, head makeup artist Gordon Hensley and three of his assistants were busily putting faces on assorted gruesome characters. Combining latex with airbrush and traditional makeup techniques, these four artists create more than 50 characters each night at Ghost Train. For my werewolf character, Hensley painted my face with an undercoat of white then added the hairy scary details. With the addition of a hairy wrap-around hat with pointy lupine ears and some gloves that looked like claws, my costume was complete! Once the gates opened and all of the victims, I mean visitors, came into the park, the real fun began. We characters mingled in with the crowd and sometimes people wouldn’t notice that there was a monster in their midst until the last second. Even when they knew better, you could still give them a start. Within minutes I began to read parents’ body language and could tell how badly they wanted

their child to be frightened. Some parents were eager to see their kid jump and you could see them guiding Junior toward my scary countenance. Others were warier, sidling their kids behind their legs as they subtly looked for other, less frightening things to look at on Main Street. At Ghost Train’s Boo School we were taught not to have any physical contact with the visitors. I thought that would be no problem until I realized how many teenagers want to give a “high five” to a werewolf. Visitors are also keen on having their photo taken with the Ghost Train characters and that is one perks of working there: Knowing that your character will be immortalized in a complete stranger’s photo album. —Jeff Eason


The Mountain Times Autumn Guide


Solve the

Mystery (Hill)


here is a wacky shack located off of 321 towards Blowing Rock that is full of surprises and mystery for the whole family. Mystery Hill, owned by Rondia Underwood, has been a historical part of the High Country for over 50 years. What once used to be an apple orchard has become not only a house of mystery, but has expanded into an Appalachian Heritage Museum and a Native American Artifacts Museum. The strange building seems to defy the law of physics with its slanted room, or the “swinging room.” It is not for the faint of heart to enter this room where gravity seems to have switched roles. The room is tilted at a 45-degree angle making it almost impossible to walk through the room with out losing balance. This room alone makes Mystery Hill a place to visit. The hall of mystery is the puzzle room full of optical illusions. The black-lit room creates an eerie since of wonder as passers by walk through the room full of brainteasers. The shadow wall and the human kaleidoscope are only a few examples of what can be found within the hall of Mystery Hill. The bubble room or Bubble Rama is a room for young ones to play with bubbles. There are many wands available for play and there is even an extra large bubble wand that can cover adults in a giant bubble. Mystery Hill has an expanded gift shop full of jam, toys, post cards, key chains and T-shirts. Guests can

dress up in 19-century garb and take memorable photos at Professor Finnegan’s Old Time Photos located next to the gift shop. The Native American Artifacts Museum contains over 50,000 artifacts on display from arrowheads, spears, moccasins, pottery and pipes. “Moon” Mullins and his wife Irene from Hickory, found the entire collection in 55 years. Most of the artifacts were collected from North Carolina, South Carolina. and Georgia, but about 20 states are represented within the museum. Located above the Native American Artifacts Museum is the Appalachian Heritage Museum. The house belonged to the two brothers who founded Appalachian State University, D.D. Dougherty and B.B. Dougherty. The house was built in 1903 and was the first house in Watauga Country to receive running water and electricity. Memorabilia, furniture, antique sewing machines and other historical items from the Dougherty family can be found within the museum. Mystery Hill is open year round Monday- Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Ticket prices are $8 for adults, $7 for seniors, $6 for children, and free for children under 4. Season passes and group rates for12 people and over are available. So whether you want to figure out a mystery or learn about Appalachian history stop by Mystery Hill for a time that you will certainly not forget. Story by Tiffany Allison


The Mountain Times Autumn Guide

Hickory Ridge Homestead Step back into time and witness the origins of many mountain crafts. Hickory Ridge Homestead, located on the grounds at Horn in the West Drive in Boone, is an eighteenth-century living history museum highlighting the daily lives of mountain settlers. The 1780s-era Tate Cabin is one of the main attractions of the site, an authentic cabin sparsely furnished in frontier style. Other structures at the museum are either authentic or carefully constructed replicas to reflect life from a couple of centuries ago. Regular demonstrations in weaving and hearthside cooking, as well as crafts creation, are presented. You can experience weaving on a 180 year-old loom, spinning wool or any number of hands-on activities presented daily. Also located on the grounds is a museum gifts shop, where visitors may purchase gifts and souvenirs including shirts, baskets, and stuffed animals indigenous to our area. Created in 1980, the museum is meant to further the visitor’s imagination and understanding about the life of the settlers in the “Horn in the West” outdoor drama. Visitors get insight into the lifestyle of early mountain settlers, how they lived, and what constituted a typical

mountain homestead. The exhibits reveal the routines and skills mountain settlers possessed that now are considered arts and crafts. Hickory Ridge Homestead Living History Museum offers a variety of educational programs that focus on the settlement period 200 years ago when folks who settled into the region had to grow, create, and trade for the necessities of life. Hickory Ridge’s educational programs allow participants to enter a “living history,” sampling a taste of pioneer life, learning a variety of domestic skills from weaving to tinsmithing. The educational programs of Hickory Ridge Homestead include the general tour, children’s craft workshops, the live-in program, summer day camps, and Early American Skills Workshops. In the General tour, kids of all ages enjoy exploring the historic buildings on the grounds such as the Tatum cabin built in 1785 and learning the ways early settlers lived and survived. Optional craft workshops are available for pre-arranged groups who are interested in stepping into the past for a one- or two-night visit. Fall museum hours are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday. For more information, call (828) 264-9089. —Scott Nicholson



The Mountain Times Autumn Guide




@ Grandfather mountain

Grandfather Mountain, home to Calloway Peak, one of the highest peak in the Blue Ridge Mountain range at 5,946 feet, is an ideal spot for those seeking long-range views of fall foliage. The travel attraction and nature preserve offers visitors environmental habitats for viewing native black bears, river otters, cougars, eagles and deer; a nature museum featuring exhibits on the natural history of the region with a restaurant and gift shop; picnicking spots with tables and grills are located throughout the park; naturalist programs with guided tours and hikes; and access to more than 12 miles of hiking trails. The park features a Mile High Swinging Bridge to allow access to the 360-degree views from the mountain’s Linville Peak. The 228-foot suspension bridge spans an 80-foot chasm at more than one mile in elevation. The bridge requires 50 stairs to reach the level, however, for those who do not wish to climb the stairs, similar views can be enjoyed from the parking area. As of June Grandfather Mountain now belongs to North Carolina — well, most of it. The N.C. Division of Parks and Recreation bought 2,456 acres surrounding the popular attraction. The acreage is now officially North Carolina’s newest state park. In March, the N.C. General Assembly unanimously approved the sale and Gov. Beverly Perdue signed the proposal into law on Marsh 31. Although the state now owns the backcountry area of Grandfather Mountain, the Morton family will continue to operate the landmark as a non-profit in a deal that was announced in September 2008. Wrapped up in the deal will also be a 749-acre conservation easement retained by family members of Grandfather Mountain founder Hugh Morton, who developed the attraction in the 1950s. The easement includes the famous mile-high swinging bridge, nature canter and wildlife habitats. “We are pleased that this — phase one of planning for the future of Grandfather Mountain — is now complete” Grandfather Mountain president Crae Morton said, adding he hoped the approval for non-profit status would wrap up by year’s end. “We are all satisfied that this mountain will be truly protected,” he said. “Emotionally, it hasn’t hit me. Technically, I know its done and I’m excited.” Morton, Hugh Morton’s grandson, added, “This is a really good thing for the mountain and that’s what counts.” Grandfather Mountain began working in 1989 with the North Carolina chapter of the Nature Conservancy to preserve 4,000 acres of the mountain’s back country. Visitors can now purchase day passes or overnight camping passes to access the preserved wilderness. The back country features more strenuous hiking for the avid outdoors enthusiast. CONTINUED ON PAGE 39


Grandfather Mountain Continued From Page 38

Many of the trails use ladders or cables to climb sheer cliff faces. The back country is home to 16 distinct ecosystems that are home to 70 rare or endangered species, 29 of which are globally imperiled. More gentle walking paths and hiking trails can be found by entering through the park’s main gate. These trails allow visitors to get out into the woods with low-impact physical activity and a shorter commitment. The distinct ecosystems and varying elevations of Grandfather Mountain offer a wide variety of plant life, adding to the attraction of a fall visit. The array of hardwoods offer bright yellow cottonwoods, golden poplars, pumpkin-colored beech trees, orange sugar maples, blood-red sourwoods, rusty red oaks, crimson-colored huckleberries, wine-colored sweetgums and purple dogwoods all contrast against the gray boulders and evergreen firs for a kaleidoscope of color. When planning a visit to Grandfather Mountain, guests can check the Web site for daily fall color reports. Peak coloring occurs from Oct. 5 to Oct. 25. The upper slopes become bright between from Oct. 5 to 10, with the full mountain peak from Oct. 10 to 20. Later in the month, Grandfather Mountain is a vantage point for looking down at the colors in the surrounding valleys. The naturalists on staff also offer a Colors of Grandfather program to help visitors identify the plants and trees. Kidfest takes place on Sept. 12 with activities geared to a

The Mountain Times Autumn Guide younger audience. The event features storyteller Glen Bollick and representatives of the Blue Ridge Wildlife Institute, which will present a Birds of the Blue Ridge program. Naturalists will conduct a guided tour along the in-park Woods Walk. There will be many other nature programs, games and face painting throughout the day. The price is included in park admission. On Sept. 19, the mountain will celebrate the 39th annual

American Girl Scout Day. All Girl Scouts and troop leaders are admitted free with proof of membership, with a discounted admission for other family members. There will guided nature hikes along the Woods Walk and the Black Rock Trail. Habitat staff will be set up at each of the animal habitats to answer questions from guests. On Sept. 20, the Bridge-To-Bridge Incredible Challenge Bike


Ride will come to Grandfather. A few tips for visiting the park during peak fall foliage are offered on the Web site ( Traveling on weekdays offers a more relaxed visit, as most of the area’s attractions, restaurants and hotels are busy during peak weekends. Visiting Grandfather Mountain before 11 a.m. is recommended for a few reasons. The cool morning air clears the way for the view across surrounding mountains. In fact, in October early morning visitors are sometimes able to see the skyline of Charlotte, 80 miles away. The animals are also more alert and playful in the habitats during the cooler time of day. If visiting on the weekend, the staff recommend visiting the Mile High Swinging Bridge first. Should there be any traffic delays, those usually happen at the top of the mountain where there are fewer parking areas. No matter what time of day guests arrive, the staff will be in full force during the busy fall months. The park is open during the summer and fall months from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. with ticket sales ending at 6 p.m. Ticket prices are $14 for adults, 13 to 59; $12 for seniors; $6 for children 4 to 12; and children under 4 are free. Guests who visit for hiking in Grandfather Mountain State Park only may access the trails from off-mountain trailheads and must obtain a free hiking permit. Permit locations can be found at www.grandfather.comFor more information call 828-733-4337 to reach the main gate or 800-468-7325 to reach the office. Grandfather Mountain encompasses portions of Avery, Caldwell and Watauga counties. — Melanie Davis and Jason Reagan


The leaves may be falling, but the fish are still biting. In fact, many High Country fishermen consider autumn one of the best seasons for fishing, and Scott Farfone, owner of Foscoe Fishing Company, is one of them. “The great thing about fall fishing is the water’s cooler, which typically makes the fish more active, which means you can have great fishing all day,” Farfone said. This applies for both fly and spin fishing. Farfone is an avid fly fisherman by nature, and his business is the High Country’s only authorized Orvis dealer, specializing in both fly and spin gear, as well as fishing and tours for all skill levels. Farfone and company will also help point folks in the right direction, not only in terms of popular (and less popular) fishing spots, but also as far as licenses and regulations are concerned. “If you’re not sure, the best thing to do is just call and ask,” Farfone said. “There are now seven different state designations for trout fishing. It’s very easy to unintentionally, and it could cost you a lot of money, sometimes between $150 and $250.” Farfone said fishermen should pay attention to the diamond-shaped signs that are typically posted every 50 feet or so near the water. Maps are available featuring the different types of waters, such as hatcherysupported and wild trout waters, at Foscoe Fishing Company and other area locations. With streams, rivers and lakes brimming with brown trout, rainbow trout, brook trout and smallmouth bass, the High Country offers a fisherman’s delight of good catches (and also releases). Farfone’s favorite areas for fishing include the lower Watauga River, below the Valle Crucis Park, as well as the South Fork of the New River, specifically in Ashe County. Other good spots are the Elk River below Mill Pond in Banner Elk, the Middle Fork of the New River between Boone and Blowing Rock, and the Watauga River below Hound Ears to the high-water bridge near the Ham Shoppe. One of the easiest, most accessible stretches would be the Watauga River in Valle Crucis Park, which Farfone said has recently undergone an extensive stream-bank restoration to improve water quality. An exceptional wild trout stream, Farfone said, is at Wilson Creek in the Pisgah National Forest, though he strongly suggested folks take a map if they choose to fish there. “It can get pretty hairy when you’re going in there looking for trout streams,” he said. “It does involve some hiking, but it’s well worth it. Price Lake on the Blue Ridge Parkway is an easy-to-access spot that Farfone said is “loaded with fish.” Plus, it’s the only lake on the Blue Ridge Parkway that allows people to take a boat out. “And it’s got everything in there – trout, bass, panfish, and you can spin fish or fly fish,” he said. Two other lakes off the Parkway include Trout Lake and Bass Lake, both of which are stocked by the state but do not allow boats. CONTINUED ON NEXT PAGE 

The Mountain Times Autumn Guide


Catch of the season

Photo by Rob Moore

Fall Fishing

in the

High Country


Fall Fishing


Another prime spot is Helton Creek in Ashe County, Farfone said. “A lot of the creeks I fish don’t even have names – they’re narrow, but they have a lot of fish,” he said. “When I go, I like to get away.” For those who’d rather have a guided fishing tour, there are numerous outfitters in the High Country that lead full-day or half-day trips, including: • Appalachian Angler, 174 Old Shull’s Mill Road, Boone, (828) 963-5050, • Elk Creek Outfitters, 1530 N.C. 105, Boone, (828) 264-6497, • RiverGirl Fishing Co., 4041 Railroad Grade Road, Todd, (828) 877-3099, and • Foscoe Fishing Co. & Outfitters, 9218 N.C. 105, Foscoe, (828) 963-6556. For a list of regulations and types of fishing waters, visit on the Web.



License information State resident licenses: * One-day inland fishing license - $5, plus $10 for a trout stamp * Yearlong, comprehensive inland fishing license, including trout stamp - $20 * County license - $10, plus $10 for a trout stamp Non-resident licenses: * 10-day, inland fishing license - $10, plus $10 for a trout stamp * Yearlong, comprehensive inland fishing, including trout stamp - $40 Special trout fishing: Needed to fish in designated mountain trout waters, covers trout fishing on game lands, and costs $10. Lifetime state comprehensive fishing license: allows statewide fishing in all inland public waters, including designated mountain trout waters, and costs $250. Source:

Where to fish Delayed harvest trout streams Watauga County: Watauga River (S.R. 1557 bridge to N.C. 105 bridge and S.R. 1114 bridge to N.C. 194 bridge at Valle Crucis Ashe County: · Trout Lake · Helton Creek (Virginia state line to New River)

Wild trout streams Watauga County: · Dutch Creek (headwaters to second bridge on S.R. 1134) · Howards Creek (headwaters to lower falls) · Watauga River (Avery County line to S.R. 1580 bridge at Foscoe) · Elk River (below falls and half-mile above falls) Avery County: · Anthony Creek · Birchfield Creek · Bucks Timber Creek · Cow Camp Creek · Cranberry Creek · Gary Flat Branck · Horse Creek · Jones Creek · Kentucky Creek · North Harper Creek · Plumtree Creek · Roaring Creek · Rockhouse Creek · South Harper Creek · Webb Prong · Wilson Creek (upper section)

Catch and release trout streams (flies only) Avery County: · Lost Cove Creek (game land portion, excluding Gragg Prong and Rockhouse Creek) · Elk River (portion on Lees-McRae College property, excluding the millpond)

Catch and release trout streams (lures only) Ashe County: · Big Horse Creek (Virginia state line to S.R. 1361 bridge, excluding tributaries) · Three Top Creek (game land portion) Avery County: · Wilson Creek (game land portion) Source:

The Mountain Times Autumn Guide


Linville Caverns In The Belly Of Humpback Mountain


Bottomless underwater caverns, blind fish, splendidly colorful natural growths, dark spaces, and mystery—what more do you need? A river flowing through the mountain’s limestone and dolomite carved the caverns over millions of years, creating the geological spectacle of sparkling stalactities, stalagmites and rock formations. The stalactites are rock formations which hang from ceilings, like permanent icicles. Stalagmites are formed when mineral-laden water drops form an evergrowing rock mound. Limestone is evergrowing, ever-shifting stone that means the cavern is eternally recreating and shaping itself as moisture drips down the cavern walls. Linville Caverns has plenty of formations and chambers along the 600foot smooth walking path. The paths are easily accessible for children and those in wheelchairs to enjoy the natural wonders beneath the surface. It’s also well lighted, though there’s a point in the tour where lights are extinguished for those who want to experience the mountain’s secret weight. The caverns are home to more than rock formations. The river that formed the caverns continues to flow along the pathway. There two varieties of trout living in the stream, brook trout and rainbow trout. The fish play a large role in the history of Linville Caverns. CONTINUED ON NEXT PAGE 

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Linville Caverns Continued From Page 42

The caverns were discovered in 1822, when the appearance of trout swimming in and out of the mountainside led fishermen to explore the passageway. According the legend of the discovery, the explorers said the ceilings “looked like the arch of some grand old cathedral.” The history of the caverns doesn’t end there. During the Civil War, deserters from both armies hid in the caverns. There was once a large sandbar, believed to have been home to the soldiers. There was evidence of a fire, likely used to cook food and keep warm. The smoke escaping the caves is eventually what gave away the secret hiding place. In 1884, Thomas Edison sent William Earl Hidden and a team of researchers into the caverns in search of platinum to be used in the production of the incandescent lamp. Hidden etched his name onto a rock deep within the cavern to commemorate the excursion. No platinum was found during Hidden’s exploration, however, the variety of gems found within the caverns’ depths increased the interest in North Carolina as a “gem state.” Linville Caverns opened to the public as an attraction

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in 1937. The fish are only one of the many animals which use the caverns. The individual climate serves as an advantage to the small, brown bats. These harmless animals spend most of the cooler months inside because of the constant

year-round 52 degree temperatures. Visitors may also spot a crayfish in the underground stream. Grand-daddy longlegs use the caverns in the winter months for hibernation.


Near the end of the tour, visitors are welcome to walk a steel bridge over the “bottomless lake.” The owners attempted to measure the depth of the water several years ago, however, the measuring device reached its limit of 250 feet. Visitors can peer into the crystal clear water thanks to the assistance of powerful underwater lighting. Linville Caverns are open from daily from March to November. In September and October, hours of operation are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. November hours are 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The caverns are open on weekends only from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. December through February. Admission is $7 for adults; $5 for children 5-12; $4.50 for seniors 62 and older. Group rates are also available. Linville Caverns are located just off scenic U.S. 221 between the towns of Linville and Marion, just four miles south of the Blue Ridge Parkway. Parkway travelers should take the Linville Falls Village exit and head south on U.S. 221. From Boone: Stay on N.C. 105 South. It will turn into U.S. 221. head south on 221 for 14 miles and pass through the Linville Falls community. The park entrance will be on the right. Visitors should dress warm with a water-proof jacket due to the damp 52 degree temperatures inside the caverns and be on the lookout for low hanging rock formations. For more information, call (800) 419-0540 or log onto to —Melanie Marshall


The Mountain Times Autumn Guide

Fuzzy Meteorology


2009 Woolly Worm Festival Since 1978, the residents of Banner Elk, Sugar Mountain and Beech Mountain villages have celebrated weather prognostication with The Woolly Worm Festival. This year, the festival will be held Oct. 17 and 18, with worm races to begin at 10 a.m. each day. The festival ends each day at 4 p.m. The event determines which worm will have the honor of predicting the severity of the coming winter, based on the 13 stripes of the winning woolly worm. Lore has it that the stripes correspond to the 13 weeks of winter and black stripes mean cold and snowy weather. CONTINUED ON NEXT PAGE ďƒ˜


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Woolly Worm

Continued From Page 44

That worm earns the honor by winning the final of many hard fought races up a three-foot length of string set on the main stage. Each heat consists of 20 worms and races continue all day until the grand final around 4 p.m. The winning worm on Saturday is declared the official winter forecasting agent and brings the trainer $1,000 in prize money. The Sunday worm races are for fun and small prizes. In addition to the Woolly Worm Races, the festival features crafts, food vendors, live entertainment and much more. Last year’s festival attracted an estimated 20,000 fans, 140 vendors and around 1,000 race entrants. Vendors exhibit crafts, goods, jewelry, produce and more. Food and snacks will also be available for purchase. Tickets are $5 for adults, and children 5 to 12 are $2, and under 5 get in free. Tickets are sold at the gate. Participants can bring their own worms or buy them at the event. Worms must be registered for $5 each and have a name in order to compete. The Woolly Worm Festival is co-sponsored by The Kiwanis Club of Banner Elk and The Avery County Chamber of Commerce. Proceeds help support community efforts and children’s charities. —Scott Nicholson





Autumn in the High Country brings with it a variety of wonderful sights and sounds. Changing leaves, cooler temperatures, or the roar of the crowd at an Appalachian State University football game are just a few. More of these wonderful sights and sounds will also set up shop at the Hickory Ridge Homestead, located at Horn in the West, when the Apple Festival hits town on Oct. 3. The Apple Festival will take place from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on that Saturday, complete with games, music, and of course, apples. “We will have a little bit of everything,” said event organizer Freda Greene. “People of all ages can come out and enjoy a great day.” Among the activities for children will be the return of the Air Walk. In addition, an apple peeling contest is set, as well as a pumpkin tossing contest. Greene also hopes to host a scarecrow building contest. While other specific activities are not set, Greene said “lots of games” will be set up for children of all ages to enjoy. If music is your cup of tea, Greene said three groups have already been signed, and she believes the final number of groups will be similar to the 2008 festival, during which nine groups performed. As for apples, Greene said a large number of vendors will be on site, displaying their latest apple creations. Plans also call for apple cider making, as well as apple butter making. It will be a busy day on site as the Hickory Ridge Homestead will host activities, while the Watauga County Farmer’s Market will host its normal Saturday event. The Homestead will feature re-enactors demonstrating various Revolutionary War practices, as well as interacting with visitors. The re-enactors will also churn butter and demonstrate war practices from a time long past. As always, the Watauga County Farmer’s Market offers visitors the chance to sample the best in local produce and dairy. In addition, Greene said the festival will announce its king and queen around 11 a.m. on the day of the event. While Greene said she is looking forward to another great festival, she added that help is still needed. “We are in great need of volunteers,” said Greene. “The number of different activities we can organize depends greatly on volunteers, and we hope more will contact us.” If you are interested in being a vendor at the Apple Festival, you can go to to fill out an application. “We anticipate a great festival,” said Greene. “People just coming back year after year, so we keep growing each year.” — Mark Mitchell


2009 For a taste of Bavaria in the fall, Sugar Mountain Resort’s annual Oktoberfest is the perfect complement to crisp nights and bright colors. The 19th annual Oktoberfest celebration Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 10 and 11. The weekend is packed with activities from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. Admission and parking are free. Over 40 artisans and craftspeople will be exhibiting their wares. This year’s vendors include chair caning, wooden toys, oil paintings, stain glass, handmade furniture, dolls, copper art, ceramics, honey, beeswax candles, bird houses and more. Visitors can enjoy a panoramic view of the surrounding area from the mile-and-a- half-long chairlift ride to Sugar’s 5,300-foot peak. There’s a children’s activity center located in the Ski School Play Yard open both days from noon until 4 p.m. A $7 fee per child/per day includes hay rides, a chance to meet Sugar Bear and Sweetie Bear and several Airwalk stations. Cotton candy, popcorn, caramel apples, homemade cookies and drinks are also available in the children’s activity center. All ages are welcome to participate. From noon until 4 p.m. both days, the Harbour Towne Fest Band will be bringing the dances and enthusiasm of Bavaria to Sugar Mountain. The 15-piece band will delivers traditional German Oom Pah music. Bavarian cuisine, including Bratwurst, Knackwurst, German Potato Salad, Sauerkraut and pretzels will be available starting at 11 a.m. both Saturday and Sunday. To help wash it down, there will be a supply of authentic Bavarian beverages. In addition, hot dogs, hamburgers, soda, cotton candy, kettle corn, caramel apples, and other festive foods will be on hand. The festival is scheduled rain or shine. For additional information, call Sugar Mountain Resort’s administrative office at (828) 898-4521. —Scott Nicholson






Country Fairs never tasted so good

The Mountain Times Autumn Guide

2009 Valle Country Fair The Valle Country Fair on Oct. 17 features traditional mountain music, handmade crafts, barbecue, and home-baked goods. The fair is a charity event organized by the Holy Cross Episcopal Church, now in its 31st year. Always held in Valle Crucis on the third Saturday in October in conjunction with the Woolly Worm Festival, the event has grown into a major celebration, with more than 10,000 attendees last year. The fair is held on the grounds of the Valle Crucis Conference Center on N.C. 194 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is free and ample parking is available in the adjacent field for a $6 fee. The annual event began as a means to raise funds for a church parish hall. CONTINUED ON NEXT PAGE ďƒ˜

Hunter Godwin, 6, sinks his teeth into fresh corn during the Valle Country Fair. Photo by Mark MItchell


The Mountain Times Autumn Guide

Maynard Hamblin tends to his apple butter during the Valle Country Fair on Saturday in Valle Crucis. Photo by Mark Mitchell


Valle Country Fair Continued From Page 48

Now it has grown into a regional event raising money for local non-profit organizations and outreach ministries of the church, raising more than $40,000 each year. The funds will be distributed locally among WAMY Community Action, Western Youth Network, Hunger & Health Coalition, Parent to Parent Family Support Network, Child Service Coordination Program, Caregiver’s Haven, School Social Work Back Pack Program, Watauga Habitat for Humanity and Parents as Teachers — Watauga Children’s Council. CONTINUED ON NEXT PAGE 


Valle Country Fair Continued From Page 49

Part of the funds are also distributed via grants to area ministries, while some of the funds remain with the Holy Cross Episcopal Church to be distributed through outreach services to families in need. The fair features two stages, a music stage and a children’s entertainment stage. The music stage is located near a tent of tables and chairs so fairgoers can enjoy the excellent food while listening to the entertainment. The bands are a variety of country, bluegrass and

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gospel music. The second stage is located among the vendor booths and will feature clogging, magicians, cowboys and other entertainment. About 135 vendors are set up on the fairgrounds. Organizers jury craft vendors to select the highest quality handmade crafts available, and ensure a wide variety of unique products for shoppers. Vendors selected for the event donate at least 10 percent of their sales back to the charitable cause of the fair. Nearly all the concession vendors are operated by the church or other non-profit organizations that donate 100 percent of their earnings to the fair charities, meaning the best in home-made goodness


from the kitchen. Brunswick stew, barbecue, chili, hot dogs and hamburgers, corndogs, sausage with onions, ham biscuits, ice cream, funnel cakes, baked goods, jams and jellies, fresh-pressed apple cider, and hot-outof-kettle apple butter are just a few of the options that will be available. For more information, including driving directions, visit the or call the Holy Cross Episcopal Church at (828) 9634609. ••• Holy Cross Episcopal Church volunteer Dale Glover enjoys a chuckle as he sells apple butter at the Valle Country Fair. Photo by Mark Mitchell


The Mountain Times Autumn Guide

Quit, Horsin’ Around

Actually, Go Ahead —It’s an Equestrian Paradise


Enjoy the mountain colors in the manner of the pioneer – on horseback. The High Country offers equestrian adventures for everyone from the first-time rider to the experienced cowboy or girl. A fun family outing of guided trail rides are available in at least three locations. Guided trail rides are offered at Banner Elk Stables and Dutch Creek Trails in Valle Crucis. The rides last one hour to one hour and fifteen minutes long. Long pants and closed-toe shoes are recommended. Cowboy poet Keith Ward owns Dutch Creek Trails. The stable is open Monday through Saturday, closed on Sundays. Rides are scheduled at 10 a.m., noon, 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. Children must be at least six years old and horses can be lead for youngsters. Helmets are available. There is no weight limit on passengers. While waiting to hit the trails, visitors are entertained with Ward’s western wit. Reservations are highly recommended and should be made two days in advance. Dutch Creek Trails are located at 3287 N.C. 194 South in Sugar Grove, just past the original Valle Crucis Mast General Store. For more information visit or call (828) 297-7117. Banner Elk Stables are open seven days a week with riding from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Children should be at least five to six years of age, depending on their size. Young children’s horses are often lead by the guide to ensure a smooth, gentle experience. Weight and height are factors for adult riders. If there are concerns, this should be discussed while making a reservation. Reservations are required and should be made at least two to three days in advance. CONTINUED ON PAGE 52 





For more information visit www.bannerelkstables. com or call (828) 898-5424. Banner Elk Stables are located at 796 Shumaker Road in Banner Elk. Just southeast of Boone, Leatherwood Mountains in Ferguson offers guided trail rides for day visitors, but also provides nightly stall rentals for guests of the horse enthusiast paradise. The guided trail rides are available seven days a week, weather permitting, by reservation only. Guided trail rides end at 3 p.m. Children must be at least eight years of age and there is a passenger weight limit of 225 pounds. Leatherwood Mountains resort and development features cabin rentals and camping. The facility features 60 stalls to house horses for guests. A show arena and round pen are available for guest use. The trail system consists of 75 miles ranging from easy, wide forest paths to more rugged, mountain trails. The trails are well marked and mapped. For those looking for a day ride, the trails are open for visitors with a $10 parking fee per trailer. Users are not charged per horse. Guests of the resort or trails must show negative coggins papers. For more information visit or call (336) 973-5044. Moses Cone Memorial Park near Blowing Rock on the Blue Ridge Parkway offers the public 25 miles of trails. The trails are multi-use. Horses must share the trails with joggers and hikers. There is no charge to use the trails. For more information call Moses Cone Memorial Park at (828) 295-3782. —Melanie Marshall Photos by Rob Moore


The Mountain Times Autumn Guide



The Mountain Times Autumn Guide


Hit the Greenways... or most fitness enthusiasts, travelling away from home is never an excuse to slack up on the daily workout. Thanks to the beautiful mountain scenery combined with the ubiquitous national obsession for healthy living, the High Country is home to multiple locations excellent for an afternoon walk or jog, and a few of these trails even allow cycling and skating. Following is a listing of the area’s paved “greenway” trails as well as a few easy dirt trails perfect for a quick exercise session. So if you’re on vacation, you have no excuses. Now get out and get healthy!! • Lee & Vivian Reynolds Greenway Trail - Boone: The paved inner-city Greenway Trail is a favorite spot for an afternoon walk, jog, bike ride or skating excursion. This easy paved walkway in Boone is now over seven miles long, with several access points providing variety of scenery and trail length. The most common entry point is located off of State Farm Road near the Watauga County Parks & Recreation complex. Call (828) 264-9511 • Newland Town Park - Newland: A 0.8 mile walking track circles Newland Town Park, with a playground to entertain your kids while you do! Located on Beech Street in front of the Guy Medical Center. • Tate-Evans Park - Banner Elk: Tate-Evans park hosts a quarter-mile paved walking track and a playground. Located on Park Avenue near Nations Bank. • Beech Mountain Trails: A series of nature trails crisscross Beech Mountain, all passing through gently sloping woodlands and passing over several of Beech’s main roadways. Following are just a few of the trails on the Beech. Lake Coffey Course: This scenic 1/4 mile course wraps around the lake and is perfect for both walking and jogging. Cherry Gap Trail: An easy to moderate 1.6 mile walk up undeveloped Wild Iris Road. Start at Cherry Gap Road. Grassy Creek Trail: This easy 1.2 mile trail follows the creek from Hawthorn Road and ends at Grassy Gap Creek Road. • Bass Lake - Blue Ridge Parkway, Blowing Rock: A one mile easy carriage trail circles picturesque Bass Lake and is a favorite with walkers and joggers looking for a good exercise spot with visual appeal. Several other moderate carriage trails branch off from this, including the three-mile Maze Trail and the Manor trail which takes you from Bass Lake through the Cone Estates up to the Cone Manor house and back down to the lake for a solid 12 mile run or hike. All walkways are wide dirt and gravel carriage paths. Access to Bass Lake is approximately 1 mile South on Highway 221 from downtown Blowing Rock. • Price Lake Trail - Blue Ridge Parkway, Blowing Rock: If you’re more in the mood for a traditional trail with a gentle grade, Price Lake is the perfect walk. This easy trail leads around scenic Price Lake for 2.7 miles. Trailhead is at Price Lake parking area on the Blue Ridge Parkway, Milepost 297.0. • Valle Crucis Park Walkway, Valle Crucis: Located in the Valle Crucis Community Park behind the Mast Store Annex, this paved walkway provides peaceful walking enjoyment beside the Watauga River. Great for a quick afternoon stroll. Cycling and skating permitted. • Brookshire Park, Boone: A paved .42-mile walking track that runs alongside the New River gives a pleasant atmosphere to those working their heart. The park also offers picnic tables, grills, restrooms, and activity fields perfect for soccer, Frisbee or whatever your heart desires.




Mountain Horrors? Photo by Mark Mitchell

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Milepost 294 Blue Ridge Parkway | Blowing Rock, NC Open daily, March 15-Nov 30, 9am-5pm 828-295-7938

work shown, top to bottom: Marcia McDade, Laurey-Faye Long, Magruder Glass The Southern Highland Craft Guild is authorized to provide services on the Blue Ridge Parkway under the authority of a cooperative agreement with the National Park Service, Department of the Interior.

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The High Country offers plenty of spooky family fun during the harvest season, from trick or treating to dramatic trails. A perennial Halloween favorite is the legendary Ghost Train at Tweetsie Railroad. Every Friday and Saturday night during the month of October, the Ghost Train rolls into town for a little scary fun. Other attractions include a haunted house, Halloween shows, a 3-D maze, the Black Hole and trick-or-treating. Advanced tickets are necessary, and can be purchased starting in July Gates open at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $26 for person, and under 2 free. Tickets must be purchased in advance. Tweetsie Railroad is located off 321 in between Blowing Rock and Boone. The town of Blowing Rock will host its annual Halloween Festival on Oct. 31. Starting at 3 p.m., the festival will take place in downtown Blowing Rock. An air walk and games will be set up in the park. Visitors are encouraged to enter the Monster March, a parade of sorts through main street featuring community members in their spookiest costumes. Following the march, area stores will offer candy for a little trick-or-treating. There will also be a costume contest, bonfire and nighttime scavenger-hunt. The town of Boone also features a downtown merchant’s trick-or-treat celebration beginning at 2 p.m. on Oct. 31. CONTINUED ON NEXT PAGE 





CONTINUED FROM PAGE 55 A program at the Watauga County Public Library features storytelling and crafts, with a costumed parade a 3 p.m. to the Jones Haunted House in Boone. Merchants will be distributing candy and goodies to costumed people from 3:15 to 5 p.m. For more information, call (828)262-4532. The fourth annual Valle Crucis Pumpkin Festival will be held on Saturday, Oct. 24, at the Mast General Store in the yard by the Annex. The festival is a fund raiser for the Western Youth Network, an organization serving youth and parents in Ashe, Avery and Watauga Counties. All ages are welcomed, although it will be especially fun for a younger crowd or just those young at heart. Activities will include oldfashioned games like Apple Bob, Hoop La, Pumpkin Sack Races, live music, a bake sale and ‘no mess’ pumpkin carving. For more information, call (828) 963-6511. Another place to find a good scare is Horn in the West’s Haunted Horn. The trail scenario, written by Frieda Greene and operated the Appalachian Teaching Fellows program, is focused around Revolutionary War soldiers as a spin off of the Horn in the West. It’s themed as a “Backstage Tour” as the play is being prepared. Dates for the trail include Oct. 22, 23, 24, 28, 29, 30, and 31. The trail begins at dusk, generally around 7:30 p.m., but guests should arrive a little early in anticipation of a line. Tickets are $10 for adults and $7 for students. Children age nine and under are advised not to participate, but are encouraged to trick-or-treat at the cabins on the premises, which will provide candy and fun activities. For more information, visit www.horninthewest. com.


The Mountain Times Autumn Guide



The Mountain Times Autumn Guide



The Mountain Times Autumn Guide


The Mountain Times Autumn Guide



Ghost stories float across the High Country


he High Country is built on tales of folklore and legend, many of these pertaining to the supernatural. These stories, whether fact or fiction, are a permanent fixture in the area, attracting tourists from across the nation to see in person the mysteries still breathing in the mountains. The Brown Mountain Lights, located near Linville, has been a puzzle to scientists for years on end. Flickering lights that appear almost like a swinging lantern reappear and travel without pattern in the Linville Gorge, and most people report seeing them upon each visit. There are three stories of explanation for the lights. One details a father in search of his daughter, who got lost in the forest of the mountain one snowy, winter night. While looking for his little girl,he died on the rocks, and still continues to search for his daughter in the after life. The lights are said to be his lantern as he feverishly searches for her up and down the gorge for eternity. Another account explains that a faithful slave is searching for his master after he was wounded on a hunt. The slave died somehow on the way, but will never stop looking. And finally, the oldest of the stories describes the lights to belong to Native American women that were murdered on a search for there husbands after a brutal war between two tribes. Whether there is a scientific explanation or not, these tales continue to keep locals and tourists alike curious enough to visit the

site to try to figure out the mystery for themselves. Although it is currently undergoing a foreclosure sale, the Green Park Inn has stood in Blowing Rock since the 1880s. The Inn preserved its victorian atmosphere in it’s décor and appearance, and with it, some legends of spirits and supernatural beings sited in the hotel. On a date that no one seems to recall, and is not in record, many years ago, a young girl named Laurel Green, age 18, killed herself in a room on the third floor. Green was part of the family that founded the inn, and her spirit is said to still haunt the room and the hotel. Past employees of the inn report working the kitchens late at night and feeling like someone was standing next to them, and odd feelings of being unwelcome. Guests have reported seeing a young woman walking up and down the halls late at night, and footprints leading to the door. The room is often occupied by guests, and many request the room hoping to experience the fabled ghost firsthand. The front desk allows people to view the room if it is not in use, and also have a guest book where individuals write about their experiences in the hotel, or read past accounts to learn more about the Inn and its abnormal happenings. One of the most talked about haunted places in the area is located right in the heart of the Appalachian State

Don’t forget your tax rebate!!! $8,000 when you purchase by 12/1/09.


campus. East Hall, now one of the oldest dorms on campus, has multiple stories of different ghosts and happenings that caused the dormitory to be considered one of the most supernatural places in the High Country. The legends of East Hall are frequent and often the topic of much dispute between students. One consists of a love affair between a student and a professor, that eventually drove her to the point of suicide. It is told that the young girl hanged herself in the professor’s office, located in the basement of East Hall. Her spirit still haunts the lower levels of the dormitory, where students take classes and also live. There are many accounts of wet footprints from one end of the hallway to another, that never stop in front of a doorway, given the impression the person walked straight through class and concrete to the outside. Some students have seen a girl in a white dress in their rooms late at night, and items in the dorms rearranged themselves without anyone touching them. In the past, many students held “seances” in the basement and boiler room of the dormitories, which current students believe made the hauntings “even worse.” The bathroom on the third floor of East Hall is also said to be haunted. Different accounts claim the ghost to be both male and female, so it is hard to tell if this story is fact or simply students wanting to scare the newcomers to the dormitory. However, many of the students living on the third floor often hear the sounds of a girl crying or choking in the bathroom, and see shadows behind shower curtains that have no owner. There are many, many ghost stories about North Carolina, but the ones pertaining to the High Country are frequent and have many believers. But there’s only one way to find out for yourself , go out and see these “haunted” places in person. —Scott Nicholson


The Mountain Times Autumn Guide


Cultivate Our Many Farmers Markets

Always Harvest Time

Watauga County now serves up four farmer's markets, with four shopping days throughout the growing season. For fresh locally grown produce, handmade baked goods, colorful flowers, plants and healthy herbs, as well as juried traditional mountain crafts, the Watauga County Farmer’s Market in Boone offers up a community experience that is not to be missed. Operating on Saturdays through October 31 and on Wednesdays through September 9, hours are from 8 a.m. until noon or everything is gone, rain or shine. Opening in 1974, the market serves as a direct link between local farmers and the consumer. CONTINUED ON PAGE 64 ďƒ˜


The Mountain Times Autumn Guide



The Mountain Times Autumn Guide







The transactions also benefit the local economy by keeping the money close to home and circulating within the region. The market members take pride in the high quality products they sell and enjoy coming to the market as much as do their customers. The vendors encourage their visitors to spend extra time to talk with them about their products and their methods of growing and crafting. From growers in Watauga or surrounding counties come fresh seasonal fruits and berries, jams, jellies, mustard, chutneys and honey, fresh herbs and herbal products, including teas, salves, vinegars, soap and potpourri; flowers, fresh-cut and dried, wreaths and arrangements, fresh baked breads, cakes and pastries, fresh farm eggs, farm-based crafts and decorative items featuring wool, birdhouses, pottery, baskets and handcrafted yard art and garden furniture; and a large selection of plants, including annuals, perennials and shrubs. Summer Saturday mornings at the market are community gatherings as much as a chance to barter and buy, where many of the same people gather to sell their goods, and many others return each week for reliable service and products, a quick healthy snack or unique gift. Wednesday morning offer a more relaxed shopping environment with produce so fresh it often still has the morning dew on it. A cooking demonstration will be held Sept. 12 and a pie contest will be held Sept. 19. Appalachian Craft Day will be held on Oct. 10, featuring live music, and musical entertainment from local performers is part of most Saturday festivities. Located in the Horn In The West parking lot, just off U.S. 421 and the N.C. 105 Extension, the Watauga County Farmer’s Market is convenient from any direction. For more information and news about featured inseason produce, visit

SUNDAY MARKET A new farmers’ market has blossomed each Sunday in the parking lot of Earth Fare in Boone. The Sunday market is intended to expand on the existing farmer's market, not compete with it, and it has a slightly different focus, with emphasis on fresh, local produce and local handmade crafts, art, and jewelry. It runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. each Sunday through October.

BLOWING ROCK FRESH MARKET Blowing Rock's inaugural market is held every Thursday in season from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. The Blowing Rock Fresh Market is craft free, focusing solely on local produce. Live bluegrass music is a staple of the family-friendly market. About 25 vendors are participating this year, many of them veterans of other local farmers' markets who are looking for more consumer connections. The market is located downtown on Wallingford Street. For more information, call (828) 295-7851.

VALLE CRUCIS MARKET A farmer's market in Valle Crucis is held Friday afternoons from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m at the Original Mast General Store on Broadstone Road. The market is focusing on fresh foods and produce and no crafts, with several vendors already participating. There is no vendor fee, as the store is trying to build up the market. The Friday afternoon market in Valle Crucis will run through Sept. 24. Interested vendors can call Mary Wood at Mast Store, (828) 963-6511.

To Market, To Market....A Few Tips To make your shopping experience more enjoyable and stress-free, the market directors offer these tips: * Bring small bills so that making change is easier for sellers. Checks are generally accepted, most vendors are not set up to take credit cards. * Bring large bags or baskets to consolidate purchases. * Most vendors are happy to recycle or reuse: egg cartons, flower pots, berry baskets and bags. * Please do not bring pets into the market area, with the exception of service animals. * Bring a picnic. Enjoy Horn in the West’s picnic area or the nearby Boone Jaycees Park. To round out your picnic baskets, desserts, fruits, vegetables, cheeses, bread and coffee are usually sold at the market.





GALLERIES Mazie Jones Gallery

September – Blue Ridge Fiber Guild October – Juried Show November/December – Watercolors by Susan Marlowe

Open Door Gallery

September – Samaritan’s Purse October – Juried Show November/December – Edwina May


The leaves may be down, but something’s always up at the Jones House Community Cat Burrito, Footsloggers, Char, Doe Ridge Pottery, Murphy’s Restaurant & Pub, Center in downtown Boone. Capone’s Untouchable Pizza, Vidalia, Fat Cats and Tupelo’s World Café. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Jones House was built in Jones House Concerts 1908 by Dr. John Walter Jones, one of the area’s first doctors, and his wife, Mattie During summertime and early autumn, Fridays at the Jones House are hard to miss Blackburn Jones, the daughter of a prominent Boone merchant and active community with the arts council’s popular Concerts on the Lawn series. These member. Delicious autumn! complimentary concerts start every Friday at 5 p.m. and feature local In 1982, their daughter, Mazie Jean Jones Levinson, gifted the and regional musicians. house to the town of Boone, and it is now home to the Watauga Arts My very soul is On Sept. 4, the Jones House will host the Downtown Boone Council. While working to preserve the house’s rich history, as well Bluegrass Bonanza fundraiser, featuring local favorites Southern wedded to it, and if I as that of the Appalachian region, the arts council offers monthly art Accent, the Sigmon Stringers, Bluegrass 1101, Diana and Sarvis exhibits, concert series, workshops and almost everything in between, were a bird I would Ridge, and Leftover Bluegrass. making the Jones House a cultural hub in downtown Boone. On that particular date, the fun starts a bit earlier at 4:30 p.m., fly about the This fall, the Watauga Arts Council is presenting a fine cross and barbecue from Bandana’s has been added to the musical menu, section of cultural offerings, starting with art exhibits in its two earth seeking the with adult plates costing $12 and children’s plates $6. All proceeds galleries – the Mazie Jones Gallery downstairs and the Open Door successive autumns. benefit the Watauga Arts Council. Gallery upstairs. The Sept. 11 concert features old-time and bluegrass with the -- George Eliot Whitetop Mountaineers and Lost Ridge Band, and the Sept. 18 Art Crawl season closer promises an evening of barbershop quartets with the The Jones House also participates in downtown Boone’s monthly Art Crawl, held Mountain Aires and more. The Watauga Arts Council also offers weekly Thursday night jams, where anyone on the first Friday of every month, during which area galleries and businesses open their doors in celebration of art, community and a combination of the two, oftentimes can come and play. If a participant doesn’t have an instrument, Jones House staff will gladly provide one. Those not joining in the jam are welcome to sit back and served alongside refreshments. Participating businesses include beansTalk, the Nth Degree Gallery, Lucky Penny, enjoy the show. Hands Gallery, Boone Saloon, Gladiola Girls, Macado’s, Mast General Store, the For more information… Collective on Depot, Downtown Boone Post Office, Mellow Mushroom, the Turchin The Jones House is located at 604 W. King St. in the heart of downtown Boone. Center for the Visual Arts, Café Portofino, the Downtown Boone Development For more information, call (828) 262-4576 or visit www.joneshousecommunitycenter. Association, Green Mother Goods, Reid’s Café, Boone Drug, Cha Da Thai, Ink Link org on the Web. Tatoo, ArtWalk, Our Daily Bread, Earth Fare, Bead Box & Grateful Grounds, Black — Frank Ruggiero

The Mountain Times Autumn Guide









de Provence et d’ ailleurs

155 Sunset Drive Blowing Rock







The Mountain Times Autumn Guide





15 14





15 5


Shoppes of Watership







3 9


16 12


19 17





When a performing arts series opens with jazz legend Chick Corea, that’s news you could dance to. Fortunately, Appalachian State University’s Performing Arts Series is offering both, opening in October with Corea, followed by the Martha Graham Dance Company and MOMIX. From October through February, the university showcases a broad cross-section of the arts with newcomers to campus and returning favorites. “A cornerstone of any great university is a strong and thriving visiting artist series, featuring performers who take us on a voyage of discovery – broadening our understanding, shaping our perspective and ‘opening windows’ on a changing world,” said Denise Ringler, director of ASU’s Office of Arts and Cultural Affairs. Leading this voyage is jazz virtuoso Chick Corea on Thursday, Oct. 1, at 8 p.m. in Farthing Auditorium. The famed pianist with 50 Grammy nominations and 14 Grammy Awards to his name is considered one of the most prolific composers of the second half of the 20th century, pioneering the jazz frontier with groups like Return to Forever and the Elektric Band. “Chick Corea … changed the face of this American art form through his pioneering role in the emergence of jazz fusion,” Ringler said. Hailed as “creatively restless” and “indefatigably imaginative,” Corea has performed and created for the past 40 years. According to his bio, “From avant-garde to bebop, from children’s songs to straight-ahead, from hardhitting fusion to heady forays into classical, (Corea) has touched an astonishing number of musical bases in his prodigious career, all the while maintaining a standard of excellence that is simply uncanny.” The Martha Graham Dance Company leaps onto the Farthing stage on Thursday, Oct. 22, at 8 p.m. Hailed by The Washington Post as “one of the seven wonders of the artistic universe,” the company was founded in 1926 by dancer and choreographer Martha Graham, earning it the distinction of the oldest dance company in America. CONTINUED ON NEXT PAGE 




...BUT AUTUMN COREA ASU Performing Arts Series


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ASU Peforming Arts Continued From Page 68

Graham, herself, danced with the company through the late 1960s, as well as many other notable dancers, including Merce Cunningham, Pearl Lang, Elisa Monte and Paul Taylor, whose own dance company performed during the 2009 season of An Appalachian Summer Festival. The Martha Graham Dance Company is also known for its celebrity participants throughout the years, including Mikhail Baryshnikov, Liza Minelli and Betty Bloomer, later known as Betty Ford. Dance continues on Thursday, Nov. 19, at 8 p.m. at Farthing Auditorium with MOMIX: The Best of MOMIX. Described as a company of dancer-illusionists, the well-traveled company is led by Moses Pendleton, considered one of America’s most innovative choreographers and directors for more than 30 years. MOMIX has performed for more than two decades, including projects in film and international television. The Nov. 19 performance will be a compilation of the company’s most popular works. The performing arts series continues in winter with the N.Y. Gilbert & Sullivan Players’ production of The Pirates of Penzance on Jan. 22, and An Evening of Classic Lily Tomlin on Feb. 20. Tickets Advance tickets for each performance cost $20 general admission, $18 for senior citizens and ASU staff and faculty, and $10 for students. Season passes are available at $90 for general admission, $81 for senior citizens, faculty and staff, and $45 for students. To purchase tickets, or for more information, call (828) 262-4046 or (800) 841ARTS, or visit on the Web.

Don't Get

Leafed Behind To advertise in future Tourism Times (Winter, Summer, Autumn), call (828) 264-NEWS.


The Mountain Times Autumn Guide



The Mountain Times Autumn Guide



The Mountain Times Autumn Guide




NIGHTLIFE 101 Some of the High Country’s finest entertainment never even sees the light of day. That’s because it’s reserved for nightlife. The area is packed with enough nighttime entertainment to satisfy any visitor’s tastes, from bluegrass and beer to jazz and wine and all or none of the above. Though your conscience might be your usual guide for nocturnal excursions, let the Autumn Times lend a hand. BOONE Boone Saloon 489 W. King St. (828) 264-1811 Located in the heart of downtown Boone, the Boone Saloon is host to some of the area’s premier musical acts. There’s also pool and darts. Check for show schedules.

Café Portofino 970 Rivers St. (828) 264-7772 Though its bar is officially called the Tap Room, most regulars simply go to “Portofino’s.” Offering a variety of drinks and a late-night dinner menu, Portofino also has billiard room and dart range. Char 179 Howard St. (828) 266-2179 Offering modern dining by day, Howard Street’s newest restaurant and bar offers equally modern drinking by night. CONTINUED ON PAGE 74 


The Mountain Times Autumn Guide


Nightlife 101 Continued From Page 71 Capone’s Pizza & Bar 454 W. King St. (828) 265-1886 Voted the High Country’s favorite purveyor of pizza, Capone’s offers prime pies at criminally affordable prices, along with a variety of draft and bottled beers to wash it down. DragonFly Theater & Pub 215 Boone Heights Drive (828) 262-3222 Movies in the evening, music at night. Boone’s brew-and-view offers independent and mainstream film with food and drink on the side. When the movie’s over, stick around for one of the live music performances held throughout the week. Check for a schedule and more information. Galileo’s 1087 W. King St. (828) 355-9591 Galileo was known for looking

up, but his namesake restaurant in Boone is known for keeping prices down, offering a variety of sandwiches, affordable drinks and gourmet coffee and desserts, along with more nightly goings-on than you can shake a telescope at. Geno’s Restaurant & Sports Lounge 1785 N.C. Hwy. 105 (828) 264-1000 Though Geno’s is attached to the High Country Inn, it’s seldom considered a hotel bar. With enough TVs to satisfy practically any fan’s interest, the sports lounge also offers karaoke. Macado’s Restaurant & Bar 539 W. King St. (828) 264-1375 A King Street staple, Macado’s serves more sandwiches and drinks than you can shake a stick at. Offering a full menu till 2 a.m., the tavern is a popular spot to quench those late night

munchies and have a few while you’re at it. Murphy’s Restaurant & Pub 747 W. King St. (828) 264-5117 A hub in the downtown music scene, Murphy’s offers live performances throughout the week and weekend, as well as an open mike night on Wednesdays. In the meantime, there’s enough pool, darts and shuffleboard to go around. Primo’s 1180 Blowing Rock Road (Boone Mall) (828) 355-9800 Along with homemade pizza, pasta and all foods Italiano, Primo’s at Boone Mall also serves live music on weekends.

Blowing Rock

Canyons of the Blue Ridge 8960 Valley Blvd. (828) 295-7661 Known for having one of the most outstanding views of the Blue Ridge Mountains from its spacious deck, Canyons is also known for a good live show. There’s also karaoke. Check for

a schedule and more information. Glidewells 1182 Main St. (828) 295-9683 One of Blowing Rock’s newest restaurants, Glidewells offers a late-night menu to accompany the many varieties of drinks offered at its well-stocked bar. Meadowbrook Inn 711 Main St. (828) 295-4300 The inn’s restaurant, Ciao Bello, comes equipped with a comfortable bar and lounge, along with monthly music courtesy of the Blowing Rock Jazz Society. Six Pence Pub 1121 Main St. (828) 295-3155 Drink the Queen’s health at the Six Pence Pub, a Britishthemed bar with an extensive beverage list and late-night menu. Twigs Restaurant & Bar 7956 U.S. Hwy. 321 (828) 295-5050 A favorite of locals and visitors,

2009 Twigs offers fine dining in the evening and a relaxed, intimate bar at night, with live music to boot. Check www.twigsbr. com for a schedule and more information. Woodlands Barbecue 8304 Valley Blvd. (828) 295-3651 Though Woodlands is home to some of the High Country’s most popular barbecue, plenty of local musicians practically reside there, offering live music on a nightly basis.

West Jefferson Black Jack’s Pub & Grill 18 N. Jefferson Ave. (336) 246-3295 Black Jack’s offers food and drink in the historic downtown district of West Jefferson in Ashe County.

Banner Elk

Bayou Smokehouse & Grill 130 Main St. East (828) 898-8952 It’s not only the drinks that come with a bite at the Bayou Smokehouse, but also

the down-home Cajun cuisine, including alligator tail. Bluefish Grill 115 Shawneehaw Ave. (828) 898-8668 Home to food, drinks, live music and pool, the Bluefish Grill and its Corner Bar are one of Banner Elk’s most popular night spots, located just down the street from Lees-McRae College. Nick’s Restaurant & Pub 4501 Tynecastle Highway (828) 898-9613 Located just off N.C. 105, Nick’s offers food, spirits and a rollicking karaoke night.

Zuzda Tapas 502 Main St. West (828) 898-4166 With its menu of nearly 100 items, Zuzda Tapas Bar can practically offer diners a different experience with each visit. Its wet bar’s pretty busy, too. —Frank Ruggiero Don’t see your favorite? E-mail and we’ll see about posting it to the Autumn Times online at


The Mountain Times Autumn Guide

A View to a

THRILL blue ridge parkway guide

PAGE 75 The Blue Ridge Parkway is celebrating its 75th anniversary, and the legendary road and national park is hosting a number of events. The 469-mile roadway runs through western North Carolina to Virginia, following mountaintops and featuring spectacular, all-season scenic views, educational programs and recreational resources. Within the boundaries of the Blue Ridge Parkway are 47 Natural Heritage Areas set aside as national, regional, or state examples of exemplary natural communities. The parkway was started in 1935 as the “Appalachian Scenic Highway” and is noted locally for its lookouts like Thunder Hill and the Linn Cove Viaduct, which skirts Grandfather Mountain and was the last connecting piece to the roadway. It also features the 3,000-acre Moses Cone Memorial Park and Julian Price Memorial Park near Blowing Rock. The Cone park and Flat Top Manor offers a gift and craft shop, as well as parkway information, with numerous hiking, jogging and equestrian trails. Price Park features walking trails, water access, and picnic sites, and camping is available nearby. Bridges are perhaps the most noticeable stonework to the passing motorist. The Parkway’s bridges were built faced with native stone obtained from quarries near the road work. Rock common to the region consisted of: granites, gneisses, diorites, schist, and slates. Italian and Spanish master stonemasons were brought into the work force to assist in the construction of these long lasting, functional structures. More than half a century later, these bridges still display the engineer’s utilitarian design coupled with the pleasing beauty of arched stonework.


Photo by Rob Moore




Blue Ridge Parkway CONTINUED FROM PAGE 75

Bridges on the Blue Ridge Parkway will be undergoing routine maintenance in the next couple of months, including some local bridges, though travel delays are expected to be minimal. The project will begin in the Asheville area and proceed north, encompassing multiple park bridges between Asheville and Roanoke, Va. Parkway officials said the work will consist of cleaning and sealing bridge expansion joints, spot repairing of decking and sealing of deck surfaces. The project is scheduled to be completed by September. No road closures are planned for the project; however, single lane traffic will be required to conduct maintenance procedures at certain times of the day and visitors should use caution when traveling through the flagged work zones. Work restrictions are in place for the Asheville, Boone, and Roanoke commuter zone traffic, limiting one-lane closures to work hours between 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. There is one local section temporarily closed, in the Blowing Rock area from Milepost 269.8 to Milepost 280.9. The closure for a roadway fill repair is expected to last until November, with detours clearly marked. For southbound traffic, exit the Parkway at Phillips Gap (Milepost 269.8) to Phillips Gap Road (NC 1168) to Idlewild Road (NC 1003) to US 221 south to US 421 south back to the Parkway at Deep Gap (Milepost 276.4). For northbound traffic, exit the Parkway at Parkway School (Milepost 280.9) to Old US 421 south to New US 421 south to US 221 north to Idlewild Road (NC 1003) to Phillips Gap Road (NC 1168) back to the Parkway at Phillips Gap (Milepost 269.8). A series of opening events to celebrate the 75th anniversary will be held November 12-14, 2009, in Cherokee and Asheville. The weekend-long celebration will highlight specific areas of Parkway history related to Western North Carolina and introduce a new generation of stewards to caring for public lands such as the Blue Ridge Parkway. With more than 16 million visitors annually, it is the mostvisited unit in the National Park Service and contains numerous overlooks, campgrounds, visitor centers, exhibits, lakes, and hiking trails which provide visitors with many opportunities to explore and learn about the park’s diverse natural and cultural resources.

NOTABLE MILEPOSTS Milepost 217.5: Cumberland Knob The northernmost point on the Parkway within the High Country, this stop provides travelers with picnic tables and a number of hiking trails. There is also a visitor center, which can be contacted at (828) 657-8161.

Milepost 218.6: Fox Hunter’s Paradise Visitors to this lookout will notice a low knoll to the right of the ridge that was once a favorite place for hunters to gather around campfires and contemplate the chase ahead. Patches of forest interspersed with farmland can be seen for miles on a clear day. There is a hiking trail and picnic area here.

Milepost 230: Little Glade Mill Pond The serene beauty of this pond, just off the road, is an oasis within an oasis. Dragonflies with flickering iridescent wings are plentiful here, as are butterflies and lighthearted human visitors. The area is flanked by thickets of rhododendrons and plenty of picnic tables, all within earshot of a nearby creek.

Milepost 232: Stone Mountain Overlook From this overlook you can see Stone Mountain State Park. Stone Mountain is an immense granite slab mostly bare of

vegetation. Distant ridgelines and swaths of nearly continuous forest unfold as far as the eye can see.

Milepost 238.5: Brinegar Cabin This mountain homestead, once owned by Martin and Caroline Brinegar, has been preserved as a memorial to traditional mountain living. Beside the Brinegar Cabin, there is a tended garden that holds many of the crops that were essential for a self-sustained Appalachian family. Buckwheat, tomatoes, squash, and flax, which was used to make thread and homeopathic remedies, are grown here. Down the hill is a “spring house,” a small structure surrounding a spring that was used for bathing and keeping food cool. The homestead holds a century old loom that is still in use. Craft demonstrations are offered at various times during the summer season-check at Doughton Park for a schedule. Also, there are two hiking trails that begin at the far end of the parking lot: the 4.3-mile Cedar Rock Trail and the 7.5-mile Bluff Mountain Trail.

Milepost 238.5-244.8: Doughton Park Doughton Park is home to Bluff’s Lodge, as well as Bluff’s Coffee Shop and Gas Station, where visitors can get a hot meal and crucial camping snacks, such as fluffy bags of marshmallows. The Bluff’s building also offers regional cookbooks and souvenirs ranging from homemade jams to delicate necklaces dangling with replications of the area’s native flora. The explosive, rich color of rhododendrons in late May and June can be enjoyed on the Park’s nearly 30 miles of hiking trails. There are also campsites for trailers and tents. Bluff’s Lodge has 24 rooms and great views of the surrounding mountains. To make a reservation call (336) 372-4499.

Milepost 242: Alligator Back At the Alligator Back rest area you can learn about local predators and take a 20-minute walking trail to the Bluff Overlook. Sadly, the mountain lions that once roamed heavily in this area are no longer a major presence, but you might run into a wild chipmunk or squirrel!

Milepost 252: Sheet’s Gap Sheet’s Gap is named for the small cabin built by Jesse Sheets around 1815. There is an overlook three-tenths of a mile south from here, with a walking trail leading back to the cabin.

Milepost 259: Northwest Trading Post This trading post provides drivers with a place to rest and recharge, and is open seven days a week from 9 to 5:30. Offering homemade food, crafts, restrooms and gifts.

Milepost 260: Jumpinoff Rock At the end of the parking lot there is an easy walking trail that takes you to Jumpinoff Rock. This is a nice walk for families with small children because of the level terrain and well-shaded trail. There’s also a small picnic area in front of the parking lot to take a rest and look out over the ridge tops.

Milepost 267: Mount Jefferson Overlook This site overlooks Mt. Jefferson State Park, a 474-acre area surrounded by farmland. The 4,515-foot mountain was once a stop on the Underground Railroad. You might also be able to see Grandfather Mountain to the south if it’s a clear day.

Milepost 271: Cascades Nature Trail The Cascades Nature Trail offers a brisk hike through rich pine forests to a waterfall that rolls down the side of the mountain to the lowlands below. Hikers need to exercise caution on the rocks near the waterfall. People, even in recent years, have fallen to their deaths here.

Milepost 272: Jeffress Park At E.B. Jeffress Park there are plenty of hiking trails and a picnic area. Jeffress Park can be accessed from the Parkway despite the detour. Just drive past the detour sign through the construction area to the entrance of the park. There are two historic structures here, the Jesse Brown Cabin, built in the mid-1800s and the Cool Spring Baptist Church..

Milepost 290: Thunder Hill Thunder Hill is an exceptional overlook near Blowing Rock, with unparalleled views of the Yadkin River Valley. This overlook is very popular with the locals, serving as a prime vantage point for observing celestial events. CONTINUED ON PAGE 80 

The Mountain Times Autumn Guide



Appalachian State University astronomer Dan Caton captured this panoramic photo of the Brown Mountain area.

The Mystery of the Brown Mountain Lights “It Shines Like the Crown of an Angel” In the hills of North Carolina, since the times of the early settlers, a strange light has been witnessed near the top of Brown Mountain. To this day, no one can explain the mystery of the Brown Mountain Lights. Lyrics from “Brown Mountain Light,” a song written by the High Country’s own Scott Wiseman (Scotty and Lula Belle). Both The Kingston Trio and Charlotte singer Tommy Faile made successful recordings of the song. If you will look to your left as you are driving down Highway 181 from Pineola to Morganton, you will see a long, low mountain that is rather unremarkable as mountains go in the High Country–except for one thing. It is Brown Mountain and it is famous for its mysterious lights that can be seen playing on the side of the mountain at night when conditions are just right and you are very lucky! The mysterious Brown Mountain Lights are one of North Carolina’s most famous legends. These lights have been seen from earliest times, reportedly as far back as the year 1200 by the Indians native to the region. In modern times, the recorded history of the lights dates back to 1771 when German engineer Gerard Will de Brahm recorded his sightings. He attributed the lights to nitrous vapors emitted by the mountain, which were borne aloft by winds and ignited. The native Cherokee and the early settlers believed the lights were the spirits of slain Cherokee and Catawba Indians who reportedly fought a battle on the side of the mountain in ancient times. Another legend tells the story of a man who got lost on Brown Mountain and of his faithful old slave who searched for his master with a lantern night after night. The old slave finally died and his spirit keeps searching. The lights have been described as moving erratically up and down over the mountain and being about twice the size of a star. At times they appear to have faint pastel tints. The lights have been the subject of two studies by the U.S. Geological Survey. The first study, done in 1913, concluded the lights were the reflections of locomotive headlights from trains in the Catawba Valley. However, the Flood of 1916 took out all the railroad bridges and it was weeks before the trains ran. Roads and power lines were also destroyed. The Brown Mountain Lights appeared on the mountain anyway. Obviously, the lights were not reflections of train or automobile headlights A second U.S. Geological Survey study concluded the lights were caused by marsh gas igniting. There was only one problem–there are no marshes on Brown Mountain. Although there have been many groups that have studied the lights and advanced a number of theories, no real cause has been found. L.E.M.U.R. (League of Energy Materialization and Unexplained Phenomena Research)

has studied the phenomenon for the last 15 years and they link the lights to plasma. The lights even rated a segment on X-Files, an episode called “Field Trip” on season six, which aired on May 9, 1999. Where to see the lights: There are three main places where most people go when attempting to catch a glimpse of the Brown Mountain Lights and all three sites border the Linville Gorge. •Wiseman’s View–accessed off Highway 183, which connects to Highway 221 at Linville Falls in Avery County. The Forest Service access road is well marked and the viewing area is an overlook high above the

Linville River. •Highway 181 Overlook–accessed off Highway 181 about a mile south of the Barkhouse Picnic area. •The Blue Ridge Parkway–located at the 310 mile marker and called the Lost Cove Overlook. Chorus from the song: High on the mountain and down in the valley below. It shines like the crown of an angel and fades as the mist comes and goes. Way over yonder, night after night until dawn. A faithful old slave, come back from the grave searchin’ for his master who is long, long gone. — Nancy Morrison

A personal account of the Brown Mountain Lights I grew up accepting the Brown Mountain Lights as a fact of life. We went to Wiseman’s View often for family picnics and always stayed until after dark to see the lights. In those days, the ‘40s and ‘50s, the lights were easy to see. Brown Mountain was a long, dark mountain with no houses or roads, so there was no light pollution. If we waited long enough and the weather was clear, we almost always saw the lights. I have heard many tales in recent years of big lights the size of basketballs, lights that looked like Roman candles, lights that fizzed and exploded, and more. These weren’t the lights I saw! The Brown Mountain Lights were mere pinpricks of light, much like the tiny stars in the sky. Sometimes they had a faint pastel tint just like some of the stars seem to have. A light would appear down on the mountainside, would gradually get brighter, and slowly rise into the sky above Brown Mountain where it would slowly fade from view. Then another would appear at a different site on the side of the mountain. Sometimes there would be three or four lights at different stages at the same time, but I never saw more than that. Usually there was only one at a time. When I was in high school in the early ‘60s, some people built a platform out on the mountain. They camped out there, determined to discover the source of the lights. They came back later with wild tales of lights “buzzing” the platform and scaring them badly. Now, I always believed the area’s famous moonshine may have enhanced the tales, but who knows? In recent years, I have tried without success to see the lights. I wanted to show them to my daughter, but it hasn’t happened. I can only conclude the light pollution from all the nearby towns and the atmospheric pollution from our industrial wastes may have blotted out the lights forever. I really hope not. It was wonderful–literally wonder-full–to be able to see the lights almost anytime as I was growing up. I never questioned whether or not they were real. I didn’t have to; I knew they were. — Nancy Morrison


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The Mountain Times Autumn Guide


The Mountain Times Autumn Guide


Blue Ridge Parkway Continued From Page 76

Milepost 293-295: Moses Cone Memorial Park Moses Cone Park is home to the Cone Manor, a lovely Queen Anne-style home that has been turned into the Southern Highlands Craft Guild’s Parkway Craft Center, which is accompanied by a visitor’s center. The visitor center can be reached at (828) 295-3782. Throughout the season, traditional craftspeople occasionally provide demonstrations on the front porch of the house. The Park also has 25 miles of carriage trails for curious visitors to explore on foot or horseback.

Milepost 295-299: Julian Price Park At 4,200 acres, Price Park has much to offer. There is an amphitheater, picnic area, campground, and canoe rentals, as well as 25 miles of hiking trails. The campground has 197 spaces, which are assigned on a first-come, first-serve basis. Price Lake is classified as general trout waters and no motor boating or swimming is allowed. The waters are excellent for fishing, but everyone over 16 who holds a pole should also hold a state license.

Milepost 298-305: Grandfather Mountain Between mileposts 298 and 305 is Grandfather Mountain, the crown jewel of the Parkway. This area is replete with awesome views and hiking trails, and the road itself is a tremendous sight.

Milepost 304: The Linn Cove Viaduct The Linn Cove Viaduct, which wraps around Grandfather, is one of the great engineering feats of the Parkway. Completed in 1987 after close to 20 years of study, deliberation, and construction, the Viaduct is an elevated bridge that spans 7.5-miles around the perimeter of Grandfather Mountain. Constructed from the top down and pre-cast indoors to minimize the


disturbance to the forested hillside, scrupulous care was taken to ensure that the exposed rocks and trees along the Viaduct were protected. This example of the stewardly melding of architecture and nature proves that human interests and natural areas can coexist through careful and compassionate planning and action. The Linn Cove Viaduct Visitor’s Center, located at milepost 304, providing travelers with restrooms and information, can be reached at (828) 733-1354.

Milepost 308: Pisgah National Forest At milepost 308 the Parkway begins its run through Pisgah National Forest, which continues all the way down through milepost 355. The drive through this area is incredibly scenic and there are plenty of places to pull off the road and go for a walk or have a picnic lunch. There are no facilities along much of this stretch, so take lots of water with you and don’t forget where you parked your car if you venture into the woods!

Milepost 310: Lost Cove Cliffs Locals, visitors, and scientists alike question the origin of the mysterious lights that appear to flicker and move about on distant mountains. Occasionally visible from this overlook, the Brown Mountain Lights have been the subject of almost a century of speculation and study. The earliest explanation for the lights dates back to an 800-year old Cherokee legend that says the lights are the spirits of slain warriors. Some scientists now believe the lights are an electrical phenomenon similar to the Great Northern Lights. The truth remains a mystery.

Milepost 316.5: Linville Falls The grand finale as the Parkway leaves the High Country is the magnificent Linville Falls. The waterfalls at Linville are breathtaking and are accessible by a number of short trails. The small gift shop offers an assortment of postcards and books. The campground is open yearround. Backpacking is allowed in adjacent Linville Gorge, one of the most rugged parts of the Eastern United States - contact Pisgah National Forest for details on this opportunity. For more information, contact the Linville Falls Visitor Center at (828) 765-1045.


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Rich in



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The Blue Ridge Parkway winds over ridge tops and through hill bordered valleys as it traverses two states, 29 counties, three national forests, and the Qualla Boundary Cherokee Indian Reservation. For 71 years this jewel of a roadway, the futuristic dream of astute statesmen and landscape architects, has merged beauty and utility. According to North Carolina historian Harley Jolley, the economic emergency of the Great Depression brought about the “conversion of 500 miles of ordinary country side into a thing of eye-catching beauty.” A joint project of Virginia, North Carolina, and the federal government, the nation’s first rural highway was conceived in order to link the Shenandoah and Great Smoky Mountains National Parks. In December of 1933, approval and funding were given to what was referred to as a “make-work project” by the National Park Service. The dire economic times precipitated the need for federally assisted employment through the National Recovery Act of the same year. In 1928, the North Carolina Tax Commission listed the average cash income for farms in the mountain region as approximately $86 annually. Survey parties were in the field by 1934 and the first rocks were blasted from the mountains of Virginia to begin construction in September 1935. The labor force employed to build that first 12.5 mile stretch, as well as future strips of Parkway, was recruited from relief and unemployment rolls of the county where work was done. By the end of 1936 more than 133 miles of the proposed 469 were under construction with priority given to sections where economic relief needs were the greatest. It is interesting to note that it was not until June of 1936 that, after heated debate, Congress finally

authorized the Parkway and President Franklin Roosevelt signed the bill, which became Public Law. Construction of the roadway continued unabated until the coming of World War II. Within the first three decades of the twentieth century, mass-produced gasoline powered automobiles had revolutionized transportation. Roads were built in direct routes to be commercially useful. Parkways were a special kind of road designed and constructed for the pleasure of travelers. The Blue Ridge Parkway was unique in that it held conservation and restoration as primary factors in building the road and restoring the natural beauty of the often ravaged landscape. Legions of workers from the Youth Conservation Corps (YCC), the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), and other labor programs, moved trees, tons of soil, and provided the bulk of hand labor necessary to build the early portions of the road. The overworked, often eroded landscape that resulted from clear cutting done earlier by timber companies, as well as dense forest where no road had gone before was transformed. In order to provide Parkway travelers with the distinctive mountain vistas, an innovative new program was actualized—that of land leasing. Once the surrounding countryside was revitalized, sections were leased to neighboring farmers. The leasing party was provided with soil, seed and fertilizer, as well as conservation education. The narrow corridor of right-of-way along the 500-mile strip of park land needed the assistance of each leaseholder. Soil improvement practices were required and spread with the pioneering program and have been maintained through the years, adding to the unique beauty of the Parkway. “Scenic Easement” of the surrounding landscape provided a means of controlling the visual periphery of the Parkway. During the early part of the twentieth century, ecology, economy and aesthetics were not priorities of many individuals, much less federal agencies. However, the National Park Service, a part of the Department of Interior, was fortunate to have Stanley W. Abbot working for the Blue Ridge Parkway as Acting Superintendent and Resident Landscape Architect. Abbot embraced a futuristic vision of the Parkway and worked to facilitate the creation of what he described as a “museum of managed countryside.” In addition to landscape restoration and management, Abbot incorporated the use of native rough-cut stone, based on the “mountaineers’ use of stone.” Abbot’s dominant working theme was to “marry beauty to utility.” The natural beauty of the stonework on retaining walls, tunnel facings, bridges, and even gutters, blend with the surrounding land. Bridges are perhaps the most noticeable stonework to the passing motorist. The Parkway’s bridges were built faced with native stone obtained from quarries near the road work. Rock common to the region consisted of: granites, gneisses, diorites, schist, and slates. Italian and Spanish master stonemasons were brought into the work force to assist in the construction of these long lasting, functional structures. Over half a century later, these bridges still display the engineer’s utilitarian design coupled with the pleasing beauty of arched stonework.


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The Mountain Times Autumn Guide





What Keeps Us Coming Back? In one form or another, people have been coming to enjoy the wonders of the High Country since the advent of easy transportation. With so many exciting attractions, natural and otherwise, it is easy to see why. It comes as no surprise that tourism here is perpetually on the rise. “When I was growing up there were only about 300 residents in Blowing Rock with about 2,000 to 3,000 in the summer season,” said Jerry Burns, lifelong resident and former editor of the Blowing Rocket. “Now there are 4,000 or 5,000 residents with 15,000-20,000 in the summers.” The heart of High Country tourism has always been the stunning natural beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The Blue Ridge Parkway has been drawing crowds since it neared completion in 1967. The portion of its 469 miles that cuts through the area also includes the famed viaduct bridge, which has snaked around the backside of Grandfather Mountain since 1983. But perhaps an even bigger draw is the wide array of activities that can be found off of the road. The High Country claims some of the best places for summertime outdoor activities in the Southeast, including horseback riding, bouldering, mountain biking, kayaking and of course hiking. In fact, alongside Durango, Colo; Bend, Ore.;

and North Vancouver, British Columbia; Boone was named one of the four premier multi-sports destinations on the continent by Adventure Sports Magazine in 2005. As more people have discovered the wonders of the High Country more have decided to stay. “It used to be people would only come for a day or two or at most a weekend, but in the last 20 years we’ve seen more and more permanent residents” Burns said, “there’s been a real shift from strictly vacationing to owning. More people are filling up resort communities that are largely new, and lately there’s been a real push towards owning actual houses, rather than staying in multi-family dwellings like condos.” Apart from the mountains themselves, the High Country’s oldest attraction is the famed Blowing Rock, which was once touted by Ripley’s Believe-it-or-Not as the only place on Earth where it snows upside down. It has been a crowd-pleaser since it first opened to the public in 1933. Only six years later, the High Country’s next oldest draw opened, the only public cave in North Carolina, the aweinspiring Linville Caverns. Perhaps the biggest natural attraction though is Grandfather Mountain. Though there were roads providing access to the cliffs at the

peak from the early 1900s on, it was not really transformed into an easily accessible destination until the building of the Mile High Swinging Bridge in 1952. Since then, attractions have continually been added to the internationally recognized biosphere preserve, and it now offers a wide range of activities, from museums and trails to the area’s only zoo. Natural attractions are far from the only entertainment offered in the High Country. From cultural festivals to beautiful golf courses and rich gem mines, opportunities abound for family fun. Since 1957, tourists have been flocking to Tweetsie Railroad for a trip back to times of yore. The train itself ran in Watauga County from 1919 until 1950, where it got its name for the “tweet, tweet” sound that echoed through the hills. The park, now listed in the National Register of Historic Places, will undoubtedly continue to be a favorite for as long as people enjoy the novelty of riding on a coal-powered train. Another longstanding area attraction is the Revolutionary War-era drama “Horn in the West.” Staged every summer since 1952 in the much acclaimed outdoor Daniel Boone Theater, Dr..


The Mountain Times Autumn Guide

School’s in session at Lees-McRae College in Banner Elk, but so are the performing arts. This autumn, LMC presents two unique programs that inform and entertain, followed by a candlelight Christmas show for the holidays. Tickets are available by calling the Hayes Auditorium Box Office at (828) 898-8709.

Lees-McRae Theatre Gets Interactive

The Risks of Heroes: A Drama with Music and Dance The Risks of Heroes is a chronicle of exciting and heartwarming events where ordinary people rose to accomplish extraordinary tasks. Examples are Irena Sendler, who saved 2,500 Jewish children by smuggling them out of the Warsaw ghetto; Gladys Aylward, a missionary who saved children during the war between China and Japan by taking them over the mountains to safety; Daoud Hari, a Darfur translator who brought worldwide attention to his country’s plight; Harriett Tubman, abolitionist and a “conductor” of the Underground Railroad; and the schoolgirls of Afghanistan, who continued to attend school after persecution. The Risks of Heroes will look at these and other stories where heroes have risked their lives for others. This original work is authored and directed by LMC Theatre artistic director Dr. Janet Barton Speer under the sponsorship of the Joseph and Frieda Ross Foundation. The performance runs Sept. 30 through Oct. 1 at 7:30 p.m., and Oct. 2 at 2 p.m. Endeavoring to enhance intercommunity relationships, Appalachian State University’s Center for Judaic, Holocaust and Peace Studies is endorsing the Oct. 1 performance with a dessert reception and by selling tickets. Patrons interested in purchasing tickets for the play through the center should contact Rich Nemerson at (828) 387-9333 or by e-mailing

The LMC Interactive Theatre Project This event is a dynamic exploration of social justice issues through the eyes of contemporary college students. Using the performance techniques of Michael Rohd and Augusto Boal, students will examine critical social and cultural problems through an intense rehearsal process that culminates in a public performance. The 90-minute workshop-style performance will feature student scripted scenes, audience discussion and participation. Due to the serious nature of the material, this work is most appropriate for mature audiences interested in collaborating for social and cultural transformation. This piece will be directed by Dr. Tessa Carr and will be performed both on campus and in areas off campus. Performances are scheduled for Nov. 17 and 18 at 7:30 p.m. in Evans Auditorium.

LMC Annual Candlelight Christmas Show

Every year, director James Taylor hears someone say, “It’s not the Christmas season until I see the Lees-McRae Christmas Show.” He’s now used to hearing it. A combination of choral pieces, narrative dances and mini-dramas, the Christmas season comes alive the first weekend of December every year. This tradition has taken place on the Lees-McRae campus since 1978, and it is a well-attended event by audience members from on and off the mountain. It’s popularity has given the Candlelight Christmas Show a fine reputation, as members from all areas of the college’s performing arts program come together to get the season going. The show will be held Dec. 5 at 7:30 p.m. and Dec. 6 at 2 p.m.

Contact Information

Lees-McRae College is located at 191 Main St. in Banner Elk. For more information, call (828) 898-5241 or visit



The Mountain Times Autumn Guide


The Mountain Times Autumn Guide


Cone Manor:

Crafts, Trails & More


or those who visit the High Country, appreciating the geographical beauty comes naturally, but how much do people really know about rich history of the Appalachian Highlands? It has been 56 years now that visitors have frequented the Moses Cone Parkway Craft Center desiring to learn more about that history. Those visitors are treated to authentic art crafted by local Appalachian artists, specifically the Southern Appalachians Guild. Within the Mansion, which was built for Moses and Bertha Cone in 1901, there are a wide variety of crafts on display. The crafts themselves, full of a culture unique to the area, can’t be found at the Louvre in Paris, but the skill and creativity required of the masterpieces within surely demand the same spirit and tenacity as da Vinci’s ‘Mona Lisa.’ Adorning the beautiful Moses Cone Mansion are astounding creations of blown glass, hand-woven bags, pottery, jewelry and unframed artwork. Many of the items are also for sale, enabling patrons to take with them art created by the most skilled artists in the Highlands. At certain times of the year, those same artists will make themselves available on the front porch to give background information on their craft, making the experience even more personal. In addition, those interested can give their favorite craft a try, under the instruction of the masters. While you’re visiting the crafts center, make sure you explore the rest of the mansion; take in the architectural prowess required of such an enormous building, constructed in a revived Colonial style. Ride a horse, or walk a bit on the 25 miles of trails that weave throughout the property. When you’re finished you can take a seat in a rocking chair and watch the day turn to dusk from the fantastic mansion views. It’s a truly authentic and peaceful experience, and a great way to learn to appreciate not only the beauty of the land itself, but also the beauty of the people that inhabit these mountains.



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Leaf Looking

Continued From Page 32

And it is not always the most vibrant colors that are the most striking. “As with birds, the subtler colors, like goldenrod, are sometimes prettier than the brighter ones. You can be driving along the Parkway, round a curve, and enter a cove that is absolutely stunning,� Teague said.

Nothing Gold Can Stay

As winter approaches, plant cells produce more sugars and amino acids, which serve as a kind of antifreeze for plant parts. Nutrients from the leaves are drawn into the stems and roots so that only the cell walls and protoplasm are left in the leaves. Eventually, the only part of the leaf attaching it to the stem is its vascular bundle. When the bundle breaks, it leaves a bundle scar and a bud for growth in the following year. Fall colors serve no apparent biological function, and, if nothing more, confirm the visible harmony of Parkway ecosystems. Indeed, the most varied and longest lasting fall foliage can be found in the southern Appalachians. And even though leaf color is most vivid when the weather is cloudy, the foliage will be a satisfying sight at least somewhere along the Parkway on any given autumn day.







The Mountain Times Autumn Guide


SCENIC ROUTES: GET OFF THE BEATEN PATH Coming into the High Country on any of the main highways, you may not be able to tell that you are driving only minutes away - wherever you are — from the backroads that really define what it means to be in the mountains. If you choose to stay on our so-clled ‘beaten paths’ — which include Highways 321, 421, and 105— you will miss the essence of the area; peaceful forests, animals grazing in lush pastures, people waving when you drive by. Listed on the following pages are some auto touring suggestions for those travelers who “hear the beat of a different drummer” and yearn to leave commercialism behind as they set forth on a journey of discovery.

The Globe Road If you’re looking for high adventure in the High Country—at least from the relative safety of your sport utility or well-shock-equipped passenger car—you might journey down the Globe Road, which begins its steep descent from a point just east of the downtown area, on Main Street, in Blowing Rock. As you turn off of Main Street (Highway 321-A) onto the Globe Road (NC 1367), you leave behind the hustle and bustle of modern times almost immediately as you make your way down the mountain toward Caldwell County. Enroute to Globe, you’ll pass through deeply-forested mountain lowlands, alongside creeks and creek beds, and past some of the region’s most remote and uniquely designed log cabins and homesites. The journey to Globe should take 20-40 minutes, depending on the speed of your progress and prevailing weather conditions. At Globe, head south along NC-90 to Edgemont, then follow FSR-464 to NC 1518 south to Highway 221; Highway 221 will then take you to Jonas Ridge and back into the Linville area. This Blowing Rock-to-Jonas Ridge adventure should be set aside as a day trip,

because along the way you may want to take-in activities such as hiking, picnicking, swimming and nature watching at places such as Wilson Creek, Lost Cove, and numerous other stops within the Pisgah National Forest. But be forewarned, the Globe Road is rather notorious; it’s about as straight down as a road can get and still allow for vehicular traffic. As well, the road is unpaved and often rutted in a way suitable only for 4X4 traffic. The Globe Road is a most interesting, most beautiful trek through deeply forested areas, past scenic log cabins, and along rushing whitewater streams…if you’ve got the “right stuff” to accept the challenge!

Sights to See (Heading West On Unpaved Roads After Globe Road Ends):

• Wilson Creek, Popular Tubing, Hiking & Camping Area • Brown Mountain Beech • Communities Of Edgemont & Collettesville

Highway 88 One of the most beautiful backroads of the High Country stretches from nearby Trade, Tennessee (take Highway 421 west of Boone) to West Jefferson, along the way passing through many miles of rural farmlands changed little in the last half-century. Here, along Highway 88, you’ll pass through such waystops as Ashland, Creston, Clifton, and Warrensville…spots-in-the-road little touched by commerce but containing numerous “mom and pop” stopovers where you can get a cold soda or sample some hoop cheese and home-pressed apple cider. CONTINUED ON NEXT PAGE 

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Scenic Routes

Continued From Page 90

While passing through “the Jeffersons,” be sure to take-in Mount Jefferson State Park, which offers both hiking and picnicking; breath-taking views of a three-state area (North Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia) from its peak elevations; and numerous panoramas of the zigzagging course the New River takes as it meanders through the surrounding Appalachian Mountains.

Sights To See • Mount Jefferson State Park (On Highway 221 Between Jefferson & West Jefferson.) • Ashe County Cheese Company (In Downtown West Jefferson) • New River State Park (Follows New River Throughout Ashe County)

Elk Park To Plumtree

One of Avery County’s most scenic roads (one of many, actually) is the stretch of Highway 19-E which leads from Elk Park to Plumtree, a zig-zagging auto trek of about 10-miles through mountain valleys and alongside creeks and farmlands. On the way to your destination, you’ll pass through such charming communities as Minneapolis and Roaring Gap. Plumtree is the site where the Hollywood movie, Winter People, was filmed over a three-month period in the late 1980s. The film stared Kurt Russell, Kelly McGillis, and Lloyd Bridges…plus some 60 High Country residents. Reach Highway 19-E by traveling west on Highway 194 out of Newland.

Sights To See • Old Country Store & Rustic Log Cabin Used In “Winter People,” Adjacent To Plumtree Town Square and clock tower constructed by Kurt Russell Character. • Horse Farm Located Midway Between Elk Park & Plumtree. CONTINUED ON NEXT PAGE 


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Scenic Routes

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Table Rock & Linville Gorge

There are those who call the Linville Gorge “the Grand Canyon of the East.” This 10,972-acre wilderness area is one of the most remote and rugged areas in the entire South - and definitely one of the most beautiful. Allow plenty of time and polish your rutted gravel road driving technique to get to Table Rock, which will reward you for your patience. Travel from N.C. 105 through Linville to where it connects with N.C. 181 enroute to Morganton. Go south 3-miles from the junction of N.C. 181-183, turn right onto SR 1264 (Old Gingercake Road) and, at 0.3 miles, turn left at the first fork onto Gingercake Acres Road. Gingercake Acres Road becomes FR 210, which will lead to the Table Rock Picnic Area, which leads to trails overlooking all of the Linville Gorge Wilderness Area. This unpaved road is a true forest service road, and as such is known for large potholes, blind switchbacks and narrowness. The road is not impassable to private vehicles, but a little adventurousness is recommended to navigate this road. Beyond the Table Rock turnoff, FR 210 continues downhill for 20 miles or more, and this section of the road is often in poor repair. It is recommended that only 4-wheel drive vehicles attempt the lower section. Along the way to Table Rock several side-roads beckon to the curious adventurers - try them out! Be sure to visit Wiseman’s View, one of the most scenic spots in the region.

Beech Mtn & More Lots of folks think that the only way to get to Beech

Mountain is to travel to downtown Banner Elk and then head up. Not so! Old timers and High Country natives, in fact, know of a more scenic—if far less traveled—way to reach Eastern America’s Highest Town. From a starting point in downtown Boone, head west on Highway 321 to Beech Creek Road, on the North Carolina-Tennessee state line, which you’ll follow for two miles until you come to a sign for Buckeye Lake (adjacent to a county dumpster site). Turn left at the Buckeye Lake sign and head up; you’ll be ascending the “backside of Beech” and eventually intersect with the Beech Mountain Parkway – and civilization. A second turn goes above the lake to the new Beech Mountain Town Park; with picnic areas and ballfields it provides great views of Buckeye and the surrounding mountains! For a second adventure in the same neck of the High Country woods, again follow Highway 321 out of Boone until you reach N.C. 1213 in Sugar Grove, which is one of western Watauga County’s most scenic backroads. After driving to the end of N.C. 1213, in Bethel, just follow your traveler’s instincts down any of the numerous, unpaved country roads in the area; they all lead somewhere, taking you through such quaint communities and hamlets as Beaver Creek, Timbered Ridge, Mast, Amantha, and Sherwood. Most of these roads will eventually take you back to Highway 421 or Highway 321, though some will transport you all the way to Tennessee! And if you happen to turn left on Mountaindale Road across from the Bethel School and continue for about seven miles, you will see a series of hillsides with animals grazing. They are not cows or horses but elk, courtesy of Beaverhorn Elk Ranch that culls their antlers for an herbal cure for arthritis! These native animals are being introduced back into the Smoky Mountains.


Railroad Grade

A perfectly flat road located right in the middle of the High Country? That’s right, and it’s to be found along a ten-mile stretch which leads northward (in a meandering fashion) from “beautiful downtown Todd” to Highway 221, in Fleetwood. Called the Railroad Grade Road, the route is widely hailed as one of the Ten Best Bike Paths in all of North Carolina. This narrow stretch of road (watch out for cyclists) leads alongside the New River and through some of the most beautiful pastoral scenes to be found anywhere in the northwestern mountains. Todd is reached by traveling along Highway 194 north from Boone. For another route, take the Three Top Road on the other side of Highway 194 at Todd. This road takes you behind Three Top and Bluff Mountains for a “behind the scenes” look at mountain living – and some of the best mountain scenery in the region.

Sights To See • Todd General Store • Fleetwood Falls • Todd Area Side Roads

Additional Tours

For those who like to ply their own paths, the following suggestions might well lead to some magical places:

 Western Watauga County is a great resource for hidden pleasures. Take Highways 321/421 west of Boone and head off on rural roads in just about any direction to discover unique places like Beaver Dam, Timbered Ridge, Sugar Grove, Vilas, and even the “back entrance” to Beech Mountain.

 Ashe County still retains the High Country’s “flavors of yesterday.” Head north of Boone into the Jeffersons and Sparta and you’ll pass dozens of Christmas tree farms, scenic waterways, and mountain/valley vistas which cannot be equaled anywhere else in the High Country.

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The Mountain Times Autumn Guide


Railfan Weekend moves full-steam ahead into Tweetsie Railroad Sept. 12-13. Photo courtesy of Tweetsie Railroad

Stay on Track Railfan Weekend returns to Tweetsie Tweetsie Railroad will celebrate its history as it hosts its fifth annual Railfan Weekend Sept. 12 and 13. This year marks the 90th anniversary of train service to Boone and the completion of the original 66-mile East Tennessee and Western North Carolina Railroad between Johnson City, Tenn. and Boone. Railfans will have the opportunity to observe the operation of Tweetsie’s historic steam locomotives and learn about their historic past. The highlight of the weekend will be the East Tennessee and Western North Carolina (ET&WNC) train, comprised of the historic No. 12 locomotive, pulling the 1870s vintage coach car on non-stop trips around the mountain. This exclusive train trip will be running Saturday, Sept. 12, and the afternoon of Sunday, Sept.13, while the No. 190 locomotive pulls a separate train, taking riders on a Wild West adventure. On the morning of Sept. 13, Tweetsie will showcase a rare doubleheader, with locomotives No. 12 and No. 190 working together to pull the train on the Wild West adventure train ride. Railfans will be escorted on tours of the famous Tweetsie Railroad Train Shop, where steam locomotives from across the nation are repaired and restored. “The Tweetsie Train Shop staff is the best in the business and strives to keep historic locomotives in top condition,” a Tweetsie spokesperson said. In addition, Railfan Weekend pass-holders will have the opportunity to explore the special memorabilia room, which will showcase many rare artifacts and feature documentaries covering Tweetsie’s historic past. Tweetsie is offering a special Railfan Weekend price for both days of railroad entertainment: $46 for adults and $31 for children ages 3 through 12. The Railfan admission price includes two funfilled days at the park with unlimited train rides, shop tours, historic documentaries, memorabilia room, photo specials, and a chance to ride in the

cab of one of the locomotives. Only guests with a Railfan Weekend pass will be allowed to be a part of these exclusive opportunities. Tweetsie’s history goes well beyond 1957, when the park opened to the public. The original “Tweetsie” was known as the East Tennessee and Western North Carolina (ET&WNC) Railroad. The line began service in 1881 from Johnson City, Tenn., to Cranberry, N.C. Eventually, the railroad expanded the line to Boone in 1919. Service to Boone continued until a flood in 1940 destroyed most of the tracks. By 1950, the remaining narrow gauge portion of the line was abandoned. The railroad gained its familiar nickname, “Tweetsie,” from the sound of the whistle as it echoed off the mountains. The railroad’s sole surviving steam locomotive, engine No. 12, was purchased by Tweetsie Railroad in 1956, and North Carolina’s first theme park opened July 4, 1957. Engine No. 190 the “Yukon Queen” joined No. 12 in 1960 after being purchased from the White Pass and Yukon Railway in Alaska, where it had served the U.S. Army’s operations during WWII. Tweetsie Railroad is located in the Blue Ridge Mountains on U.S. 321 between Boone and Blowing Rock. Daily admission is $30 for adults and $22 for children ages 3 through 12. Children 2 and under are admitted free. Tweetsie Railroad is open seven days a week through Aug. 23 before returning to the weekend schedule (open Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays) from Aug. 28 through Nov. 1, including Labor Day Monday. Hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. For more information about Railfan Weekend and Tweetsie’s 2009 season, or to purchase tickets, visit or call 1-877TWEETSIE. Become a Fan of Tweetsie on Facebook: and follow on Twitter:


The Mountain Times Autumn Guide



of the Fair

The 2009 Avery A&H Fair will be held Tuesday, Sept. 8 through Saturday, Sept. 12, and expect a lot of fun and local talent. This year’s fair theme is “Fields of Fun,” and the scarecrow contest goes along with the theme. You are to design your scarecrow as something you would see in a field of fun, such as a flower, animal, or sports figure. There will also be a veggie critter contest where you decorate different vegetables. The Home and Garden entries (vegetables, fruits, flowers, shrubs, pictures, paintings) should be brought in before the fair, as follows: •Saturday, Sept. 5, 9-5 •Sunday, Sept. 6, 1-5pm •Monday, Sept. 7, Flowers, 10-8 •Tuesday, Sept. 8, Baked Goods, 8-10am You are encouraged to bring your farm animals/livestock, such as horses, cows, chickens, sheep, goats and pigs. Also, this year the fair will be welcoming professional judges from the National Quilting Association, who will be judging all quilt entries. Rides will open Tuesday night, and bracelets or individual tickets will be available for purchase. The Farm and Home tent will be full of exhibits, and the food selection will be abundant. As far as entertainment goes, this year’s will be more local, with the beauty pageant, Darren Aldridge Band, Distant Gold (Doug Gragg), True Blue (Bernie Burleson), High Country Idol, Roads Brothers Band, and the annual talent show. Also, don’t forget about the tractor drawing, which will be held Saturday, as well as the chicken show. Children who have been raising chickens all year will auction them off. For more information on the chicken show, contact Adam Keener at the Extension Office. Volunteers are still needed for the fair, from the beginning of the fair up to a few days after the fair. Call Jerry Moody at the Extension Office if you’d like to sign up. For any additional questions/information regarding the fair, call the Avery A&H Fair phone at 828-387-6870. Also, be listening to local radio stations near the beginning of the fair for your chance to win free admission tickets. —Shelley Smith




GOING NATIVE For more than a decade, Daniel Boone Native Gardens has attracted the local community as well as countless visitors to the area from spring’s early blooming through autumn’s brilliant transition. A photographer’s dream, a wedding destination and breath-taking setting for special events or simply a family’s brief retreat, the Daniel Boone Native Gardens are maintained primarily by a host of local garden club members whose volunteer labor throughout the year serves to protect and preserve their wondrous beauty. Current acting director, Nan Chase, tells us that for the second year in a row, the gardens have undergone major improvements with the Town of Boone and Master Gardener participants pitching in to help. “It looks like a new place,” Chase describes as old vegetation, limbs and other debris have been removed, leaving clear views, pathways and “the perfect place for parents to bring young children.” Since its origin, local garden clubs have been responsible for the lovely attraction, often with the help of ASU students, families and friends from grooming in the spring, maintaining in the summer and winterizing in the fall. Two years ago, the Town of Boone agreed to assist the gardeners with much-needed renovations - reconstruction of the rear entrance, steps and railing for increased safety, repairs to the split-rail fence, removal of dead trees, painting the buildings, attention to the iron gate, and repairs to the original Boone cabin, in addition to curb replacement in the parking lot and “lots of pruning” on the lower side near the park. The pond received attention also, due to leakage. Chase tells us that this second year of improvements have made a world of difference. Additionally, volunteers from the Master


Daniel Boone gardens preserve local flora and folklore

Gardener Class have identified and placed new labels for nearly 100 native flowers and plants. Hours of intensive labor have revealed “dozens of beautiful things” that had possibly been forgotten when covered with growth and debris. The lore and legacy of the great frontiersman Daniel Boone lives on at the Gardens, which is thought to be located near his famed Wilderness Road. Highlights of the garden include the native stone gatehouse, surrounded by a wrought-iron gate, at the entrance of the six-acre spread forged by Daniel Boone IV, and given by Daniel Boone VI, a direct descendant of the legendary pioneer. Inside the gate are found a bog garden, native ferns, a rhododendron thicket and the historical Squire Boone cabin. The Meditation Maze in the midst of nature’s peaceful setting is always a popular stop while strolling through the gardens. Other outstanding features include a wishing well and an open lawn bordered by dogwoods and sumac, an arbor supporting honeysuckle, trumpet creeper and clematis. A sunken garden contains a large rocked area and a tranquil pool, and a lovely meadow nearby that hosts numerous outdoor weddings each year. The extensive collections of native plants grow much as they would have when the region was still wild. Informally landscaped with trails, ponds, and split-rail fences, the gardens feature North Carolina native plants (many marked for easy identification) such as spring’s nodding trillium (Trillium cernuum), bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis), and yellow lady slipper (Cypripedium calceolus). A splash of color ushers in summer when the flame azalea (Rhododendron alendulaceum), rhododendron, butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa), and fiery red cardinal flower (Lobelia cardinalis) bloom.

Goldenrod (Solidago roanensis, named for Roan Mountain where it was presumably first discovered) and aster (Aster curtisii) bloom from late summer into autumn, when the fall foliage extravaganza steals the show across the horizon. The gardens also serve as a haven for small mammals and birds, native to or migrating through the Blue Ridge. As one of nature’s most incredible icons “dedicated to the preservation of Earth’s treasures,” these beautifully landscaped gardens are home to a rare collection of North Carolina native plants, suitable material for education, and conservation of the native plants that are fast becoming extinct. The Daniel Boone Native Gardens are adjacent to Horn in the West, an outdoor drama depicting Daniel Boone and the Mountain Men in their struggles toward independence and frontier settlement. Hickory Ridge Homestead, a living museum of early mountain life and culture, shares the grounds where costumed interpreters offer demonstrations in weaving, spinning, candlemaking, and other crafts. Weather- permitting, the gardens are open daily from May 1 to mid-October from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. However, from Jun 20 through Aug. 16, the gates remain open until 8 p.m. Sponsored by the Garden Club of North Carolina, Inc., this colorful attraction is located at 651 Horn in the West Drive, Boone, N.C. A nominal $2 gate admission goes toward the upkeep of the gardens, annual passes are now offered for $15 each. For information on volunteer opportunities or to book a wedding or other special event, please call the gatehouse at (828) 264-6390.



The Mountain Times Autumn Guide Fans of Spiderman, Star Wars, Batman, Transformers, Spawn and more are invited to gather in Boone on Oct. 10 for family fun. The High Country Comicon is more than just a comic book convention, it’s a pop culture extravaganza. This fall’s event will feature the Carolina Garrison of the 501st Legion, a group of Star Wars enthusiasts who dress as storm troopers and other characters from the popular movie, book, comics and game series. Come get your picture taken with storm troopers and learn about their hobby, and check out vintage and modern comic books and pop-culture collectibles. There will be plenty of Star Wars comics and toys available, In addition, there will be comic-book artists exhibiting their talents, and Stone Silent Productions will debut “Buried Beneath,” and independent movie filmed iN Wilkes and Watauga counties. The show features comics, toys, books, DVDs, games, manga and collectible items on 40 dealer tables. Guest artists include Post Mortem Comic Studios, Bradd Parton, Phil Juliano, Jester Press and more. There will also be art and coloring tables set aside for anyone inspired to follow their imaginations. “We did a show in the spring and it was very successful,” said show organizer Scott Nicholson of Haunted Computer Productions. “The best part was seeing families share their interests and leaving with smiles on their faces. So we’re aiming a little higher this time to make each show fresh and different. Though we’re featuring Star Wars this time, we will have a wide range of cool stuff for all ages.” Hourly door prizes will be given away, as well as prizes given away on local radio stations the week of the show. There’s also a “Biggest Geek” contest in conjunction with the show. Write in 50 words or less and tell us why you are the High Country’s biggest geek--whether you’ve seen Star Wars 769 times, own an Incredible Hulk toothpaste dispenser, or sleep in Speed Racer pajamas--and email to and win weird prizes that only a geek could love. Show sponsors include Plan 9 Comics, McFarland Publishers, The Mountain Times and Screamies of the Boone Mini-Mall. Show admission is $2, ages 8 and under free. Each attendee gets to choose a free comic book, and anyone dressing up early in their Halloween costume gets in free. The High Country Sports Show will be held at the National Guard Armory, 274 Hunting Hills Lane in Boone, and show hours are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Dealer tables are also available. For more information, visit or call Scott Nicholson at (828) 264-3612 or (336) 877-2985.


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The Mountain Times Autumn Guide



Call it ‘diversity’, ‘variety’ or the next pleasant stop along the way, first-time visitors to The High Country will enjoy our mixture of rural, small town and urban life. And if you are returning, you will find some new places to enjoy but the old mountain hospitality still intact. The center of activity - the Heart of the High Country - is the county seat of Boone. This section is devoted to Boone and a sampling of the other towns in our region. Town life in the High Country offers a sampling of mountain life from the stimulating to the serene. Beyond the excitement and bustle of Boone, you can discover the elegance of Blowing Rock and the recreational outdoors atmosphere of Banner Elk. There’s the small town atmosphere of Newland, and the historic downtown and arts community of West Jefferson. Each community has its own flavor, appeal and things to offer the visitor. So join us for this tour of some of the best the High Country has to offer - we know you’ll have a good time!


Boone offers everything for residents and visitors in the High Country. The town can claim the finest in tourist necessities such as shopping, dining and lodging. From healthcare to financial services, specialty shops to major chains, Boone offers a comprehensive range of goods and services. Need an import car mechanic, 24hour grocery or late night eatery? If you havent’t visited for awhile, we guarantee you will be pleasantly surprised just what you can find. Boone was once a typical small town until Appalachian State University (better known locally as “App” or ASU”) began to grow in the 1960s. Now this booming and acclaimed academic institution adds a zest and enthusiasm to life here. The downtown is known as the Municipal Service District, part of the national Main Street Program where merchants and residents fund renovations and restorations which attract more businesses while keeping the small -town atmosphere. Visitors will find an intriguing blend of restaurants, shops and boutiques side-by-side with legal offices and residences. You’ll find the Jones House here, a center of cultural life in the community. This lovely Queen Anne-style house dates back to 1910. Once the home of a prominent local doctor, the Jones House now is home to an art gallery and hosts many local events. The university borders the downtown. Here you’ll find Belk Library, a major research facility. Farthing Auditorium and Broyhill Music Center are the scenes of great performances during An Appalachian Summer, the yearly festival of the arts. Boone is such a popular destination there are times it is congested. Traffic can get heavy,

especially around the traditional rush hour of 5 to 6 p.m. You do have another option: park your car and ride AppalCART, our mass transit system. Summer routes cover the downtown, university and U.S. 321 (Blowing Rock Road). Boone’s history began around 1800, when Jordan Councill opened a store on what is now King Street. Then, it was just a rough dirt wagon road. In 1820, Councill got the right to open a post office (appropriately called Councill’s Store) and some people began to build homes and other stores nearby. In 1849, when Watauga County was created, Boone was picked as the county seat when the town was little more than a crossroads. Little remains to remind people of those distant days. The simple homes and shacks that once lined King Street have given way to attractive buildings that preserve the charm of the ‘teens and twenties. All that is in contrast to the modern city that has grown up around this center. With so much to enjoy, Boone is a magnet we think will draw you back again and again. Boone Area Chamber of Commerce: 828-264-2225. CONTINUED ON PAGE 99


Ride the High Country! Half Day & Full Day Rentals 2349 Old Hwy 421 South Boone NC 28607 828-262-1558


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Let’s Go to Town Continued From Page 98

Blowing Rock

If you return to Blowing Rock and find most of the town the way it was, that’s is no accident; folks here know when it’s best to leave things as they are. Blowing Rock is a place where people still smile and say hello to each other on the street. The town is a place where you can sit on a bench in Memorial Park and watch the world go by or spend all afternoon window shopping along Main Street. The Fourth of July Parade is still important, and you will find both patriotism and civic pride without apology. Memorial Park is the center of the community. Families can come by anytime to use the playground equipment (mom and dad can even try out the swings if they want to). Come on some Sunday evenings and you’ll hear a live concert in the park’s gazebo. Off Main Street are two other parks, both worthy of a visit. If you are headed south on Main Street, turn right on Laurel Lane and follow the signs; it is a divided and tree-lined lane. The Broyhill and Cannon parks offer a quiet place to rest and reflect. The two are a study in contrasts: Cannon Park is sort of rustic and still-wild, while the park around Broyhill Lake is elegant, a throw-back to the peaceful days of the late 19th century. Blowing Rock is renowned for its variety of unique shopping experiences. Main Street has antiques, art, crafts, imported coffees, rugs, fashions, flowers, mementos and more. The variety is amazing, the quality high and the fun unlimited (except by your imagination). Shoppes on the Parkway, a major outlet mall, is just north of town on 321. Here you’ll find clothing, crockery, jewelry, and more. There’s a reason Blowing Rock offers so much to the tourist: the town has been welcoming visitors for over a century. Spectacularly situated on the very edge of the Blue Ridge, the town began to attract summer residents in the 1880s. At the turn of the century, most visitors spent the summer. Some built beautiful Victorian summer homes, many of which stand today. Hotels and motels followed, and the tradition of hospitality has only ripened and improved over the years. One final hint: Take a ride down 321 south of town. You’ll catch an incredible view of the John’s River gorge as well as a spectacular vista looking south to Hickory. Whether you have a day, week, or lifetime to spend, you’ll find a lot to enjoy in Blowing Rock. Blowing Rock Chamber of Commerce: 828-295-7851

Valle Crucis

As you travel along N.C. 105 south of Boone, there is a bridge where the Watauga River makes a sharp turn and starts its westward run towards Tennessee. There, set between high mountains, is a cross-shaped valley that has borne the name Valle Crucis since the 19th century. There is no more historic area in

Visitors to Beech Mountain may catch a glimpse of citizens of the Emerald City. the region. Follow the Watauga River far enough and you will pass the site of the only Native American village known in this immediate area. Before that, there is the place where the first European settler of Watauga County, Samuel Hicks, built a fort during the American Revolution. That fort and most of the log structures of that day are gone, but there are many historic buildings that still remain. Valle Crucis was – and remains – the only rural historic district in North Carolina. Travel along N.C. 194 and you will pass homes, some still private and others now housing galleries and other shops, dating back to the early part of this century and earlier. A true treasure is the Mast Farm Inn. The main house was built in 1840, and has hosted visitors practically from the first. An even older log home, dating back to 1812, has also been lovingly restored. Not far up the road is another treasure, the Mast General Store. Dating back to 1883, the store remains an important part of the community, offering the “real” necessities of daily life, plus much more. And look for a dirt track running down to the river from the Mast General Store; it leads to Valle Crucis Community Park; a beautiful recreational area with riverfront, a (catch & release) fishing pond, picnic areas, sports fields, and a walking/running/ cycling/skating trail around the entire complex.

Residents rallied this year to prevent a widening of the main road through the Community - Broadstone Road - which they felt would have destroyed its unique charactere and charm. No trip to the High Country is complete without spending time in the “Valley of the Cross.” Be sure to enjoy the scenery, heritage, and especially the friendly people.

Beech Mountain

At 5,506 feet, Beech Mountain is the highest town in eastern North America. That means two things: when winter comes, it’s a great place to ski. More important right now, however, is that even on the hottest day of summer, it’s cool on top of Beech Mountain. Even when it’s steamy in the “lowlands” of 3,000-plus feet, the temperature stays comfortable here. The rest of the world seems very distant when you settle down on the front porch of a rental condo and survey the magnificent view that is one of Beech Mountain’s trademarks. As the cool summer night air sends you looking for a sweater, you’ll probably smile at the thought of how hot it is down in the lowlands. Beech Mountain is a four-season resort. There are over 5,000 beds available on top of the mountain. CONTINUED ON NEXT PAGE 

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These range from the rustic cabins to mountain chalets to luxury condominiums. When it’s time to eat, you can enjoy anything from a deli sandwich to a gourmet meal by candlelight. During the days, there are many specialty stores for shopping, a golf course, horseback riding, tennis, swimming and hiking. There are nearby canoe and raft runs that are among the best the east offers. Nightlife is alive and well on the mountain. Whatever your musical taste, you can find a spot to enjoy an after-hours scene. There’s another good thing about Beech Mountain. The mountain is so huge that much of it remains in a natural state, with rich forests dotted by rolling farm land. It’s only a short drive from the “downtown” to the country - or resorts. Take your pick! Our guess is if you spend some time in Beech Mountain, you’ll want to come back to do some real estate shopping. Or at least book a slopeside condo for the ski season! Beech Mountain Area Chamber of Commerce: 828-387-9283.

Banner Elk Nestled in a spectacular mountain valley, Banner Elk has attracted visitors since the 1840s. In those days, it was called Banner’s Elk, a name you still hear among some older residents. The town got its name from an elk, reputedly one of the last in the state, that was killed by a local hunter. A college town, Banner Elk is home to Lees-McRae College. A visit to the college is well worth the time. CONTINUED ON NEXT PAGE 


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Let’s Go to Town Continued From Page 100

The old stone buildings are picturesque, as is the campus itself. Hayes Auditorium hosts a wide variety of entertainment programs throughout the year. Banner Elk is a town of wonderful shops and restaurants all run by some of the nicest people you’ll meet anywhere. You will discover a unique blend of high-class and rustic existing happily side-by-side. Spectacular is hardly adequate to describe the magnificent setting of the town. The early settlers didn’t believe in living on mountainsides; they looked for valleys. Banner Elk’s valley cuts through lofty peaks on every side: Beech Mountain, Sugar Mountain and Grandfather Mountain essentially define its boundaries. If so far you are only a summer visitor to the mountains, you need to come back to Banner Elk in the winter. The town is conveniently I’ve never known located between two of the area’s four ski resorts, Ski Beech and Sugar Mountain. Even if you don’t ski, the mountains are often snowanyone yet who doesn’t covered, adding to Banner Elk’s natural beauty. suffer a certain restlessFinally, Banner Elk makes an excellent base for folks who want to explore the natural wonders of Avery County. It’s not far to Roan ness when autumn rolls Mountain, Grandfather Mountain or Linville Falls. around... We’re all eight Avery-Banner Elk County Chamber of Commerce: 828-8985605. years old again and

anything is possible. -- Sue Grafton

Seven Devils

The town of Seven Devils has its foundation as a resort community, though its history dates back to Native Americans who were likely seasonal hunters of the mountains. The town, which straddles the Watauga and Avery County border near N.C. 105/221, is noted for its craggy peaks such as Hanging Rock, Hawksbill Rock and Four Diamond Range. Developers of a resort gave the town its name in the mid 1960’s, and it grew as a golf course, ski slope, lake, riding ground and camping area. After the resort venture experienced financial trouble, the town was incorporated in 1979. While the golf course has been closed for a couple of years, Hawksnest Ski & Snow Tubing has expanded its operations and is one of the town’s centerpieces, though it’s also treasured as a quiet vacation and retirement community. The town is also celebrated for its scenic views, particularly of nearby Grandfather Mountain. For more information and events, visit CONTINUED ON NEXT PAGE 

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Let’s Go to Town Continued From Page 101

Sugar Mountain If outdoor activity is your thing, look no further than the Village of Sugar Mountain. Offering more than just great skiing, Sugar Mountain also provides its visitors with an array of ways to get outside and enjoy the beauty of the High Country. One attraction in particular is the summer lift rides on Sugar Mountain. On weekends, weather permitting, visitors can ride the ski lift to the 5,300 foot peak of Sugar Mountain. The 40 minuet round trip ride features a spectacular view of the High Country and runs from July 4 to Labor Day weekend. If heights aren’t your thing, Sugar Mountain can also be seen on foot. With numerous trails that wind throughout the Village of Sugar Mountain, you can see both the brilliant greens of the summer as well as the vibrant reds and yellows of the fall. The trails of Sugar Mountain are not just for those on foot.

The Mountain Times Autumn Guide

Many bikers choose the Village of Sugar Mountain for its variety of challenging and picturesque terrain. The Village of Sugar Mountain also gives tennis and golf lovers an opportunity to enjoy their favorite sports in the beautiful mountain setting. With Sugar Mountain’s golf course, six fast-dry clay courts and full service tennis pro shop, visitors will never be faced with the problem of finding something to do. Whether you come for a day or stay in one of the many comfortable lodgings the Village has to offer, Sugar Mountain will soon become your destination for great outdoor fun. Avery-Banner Elk County Chamber of Commerce: 828-8985605.

The Jeffersons The twin cities of Jefferson and West Jefferson lie in the center of Ashe County. They are classic small towns, with warm, friendly people - and there’s always a place to park. Jefferson was the first to be founded, and is the oldest incorporated town in the High Country. It started in 1800 as the county seat for Ashe, which the General Assembly formed


the year before. The new town stood near the base of Mount Jefferson. Both bore the name of Thomas Jefferson, the author of the Declaration of Independence, vice president and then a political hero along the western frontier. Later that year, he would win election as president of the United States. Even as the population of Ashe County grew, Jefferson remained a quiet place, with relatively few homes and a courthouse. The focus of the county was, as it still remains, in the rural parts. Then the railroad came. Overnight, boom towns like Lansing and Todd grew. Logging meant work and money was relatively plentiful. All that, however, bypassed the Town of Jefferson. In 1917, a group of investors founded West Jefferson. Located south and west of Jefferson, the new community attracted the railroad. Jefferson went into an immediate decline. West Jefferson became the economic center of the county, though Todd, a major railroad center, was larger. Eventually, the railroad left. Lansing, Todd and other rail towns shrank to their present size. Fortunately, the Jeffersons soon had good roads and prospered. CONTINUED ON NEXT PAGE 


Let’s Go to Town Continued From Page 102

Today, the towns have differences and similarities. The old courthouse and surrounding buildings in Jefferson are the center of county government. A shopping center is located there, offering retail stores and services. The beautiful Ashe County Park and the Foster-Tyson Park is a perfect spot for an in-town picnic. West Jefferson’s downtown is busy and active. The old stores still stand and are full of interesting, dynamic shops. The town’s stores offer everything from real estate to clothes. The visitor center, operated by the Chamber of Commerce, offers answers to questions and a wide selection of brochures. West Jefferson is home of the Christmas in July festival, an annual summer celebration of the holiday and the Christmas tree industry. The event features two days of live music, over 100 art and craft booths, and the friendliest people you could find anywhere! The Jeffersons are also the gateway to the region’s two state parks. Mount Jefferson State Park is located just off Hwy 221. To the north of Jefferson are the access areas for the New River State Park. Just south of West Jefferson, near the community of Beaver Creek, is St. Mary’s Episcopal Church. This is the home of the famous fresco of Jesus on the cross by renowned artist Ben Long. A painting of the Madonna pregnant with Jesus hangs on the sanctuary wall.

The Mountain Times Autumn Guide

Come to the Jeffersons and find what it was that made smalltown life so special. You’ll find that special life alive and well in these wonderful twin towns. Ashe County Chamber of Commerce: 336-246-9550

Newland Surrounded by renowned attractions and resorts, the Town of Newland also attracts, but quietly. This small municipality of about 700 residents has been the county seat since Avery County incorporated in 1911, beating out three other areas for the honor. Newland has the distinction of being the highest county seat east of the Mississippi. The fine traditional courthouse, recently renovated, was constructed in 1913, and overlooks an equally classic town square, bordered by shops and churches and complete with a memorial to Avery County veterans. Next to the courthouse, and also built in 1913, is the original jail, now the site of the Avery Historical Museum. Permanent exhibits at the museum include the original jail cells, numerous artifacts and information about Avery County history. Going west out of town toward Tennessee, plan a Saturday stop at the Farmers Market, and picnic or hike across the road at the Waterfalls Park, a unique recreation area sponsored by the Newland Volunteer Fire Department. A new Heritage Park, currently under construction, will be a major attraction when completed, due for sometime next year. So when you’re driving through town on your way to Roan or Grandfather Mountains, don’t forget to stop at Newland on your tour.

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Avery-Banner Elk County Chamber of Commerce: 828-8985605

Todd There was time when Todd, nestled on the banks of the New River on the border of Ashe and Watauga counties, was the largest community in the region. It was a logging boom town back then, and the timber trains roared along the valley. Todd bustled, with many stores and hotels. Those days are long gone, but Todd remains a too-often overlooked treasure of the High Country. And while the train is gone - and with it the bustle - this little community has a lot to offer, starting with some of the best sites for bicycling, paddlesports and fishing around. The old train depot, a part of Todd life since the 1920s, is now home to Appalachian Adventures outfitters. Up the road, there’s the old Todd General Store which opened in 1914. The General Store, one of four historic structures in the community recently painted with funds raised in the community, is a living reminder of the old railroad days. The store features a Friday night traditional mountain music jam which attracts musicians from hundreds of miles around, and a newly created park across from the store hosts a summer music series at the ‘depot’ stage set up by the New River. There’s no community perhaps anywhere that has more scenic approaches than Todd. CONTINUED ON NEXT PAGE 

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No matter which way you choose to get there, you’re in for a treat. Consider these options: If you’re in Boone, there are two ways you can reach Todd. The first is to follow N.C. 194, a state-designated Scenic Byway, north from its intersection with U.S. 421 (near New Market Center, on the east end of town; watch for the sign). This route runs through farms and forests along an 11-mile run to Todd. The second choice is to turn off U.S. 421 at Brownwood Road. This is in Rutherwood, about two miles west of Deep Gap and seven miles east of Boone. Brownwood Road is located next to the office of Brady’s Roofing Co. and Pro Hardware. After crossing the construction for the new four-lane Highway 421, the route returns to beautiful rural Watauga County. First, you travel up through farms and woods to Brownwood, where a cattle farm fills a scenic valley. After crossing a large bridge, turn left on Railroad Grade Road and follow it to Todd. A word about Railroad Grade Road. This actually follows the route of the old railroad that once ran here. It runs right along one of the most beautiful parts of the New River. The scenery is gorgeous along the ride - a total of about eight miles. Because it is level, it is a premier family bicycling destination, so watch out for cyclists as you drive along.


If you’re in the Jeffersons, you can pick up N.C. 194 south of town, just off N.C. 221 - watch for the signs. 194 is a Scenic Byway in this area, and it is a very pretty ride. It is also a fairly curvy road, so watch your speed!

Mountain City

High on the Eastern Continental Divide, Johnson County, Tennessee, is the eastern-most county in the state. Mountain City is the county seat, a community rich in history and the center of commerce for the area. There are many shops and stores that serve both local residents and visitors. The town has a truly marvelous setting, as much of Johnson County remains little changed since pioneer days. Traveling there will reward the visitor with spectacular scenery – and the added bonus of Mountain City and all it offers at the end of the road. The county is also a gateway to Watauga Lake. The place to begin your visit is the beautiful Johnson County Welcome Center. Conveniently located on U.S. 421 in a lovely log building, the Center provides information on the many attractions of Mountain City and the county around it. Their hours are 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Saturday,a nd 1-5 p.m. on Sunday. The telephone number is 423-727-5800. In 1749, Peter Jefferson (Thomas’s father) stood on Pond Mountain in what is now western Ashe County and looked west towards this area. Twenty years later, Daniel Boone and a party of pioneers cut a trail through here, defining a path that settlers would follow. Some of those made their home at what would become Mountain City. Be sure to visit this special town – walk where Daniel Boone once cut a way through the wilderness.


The Mountain Times Autumn Guide

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Factory continues to churn out tasty dairy delicacies

Hunting, trapping and farming were of early significance to Ashe County citizens. Traditional crops included wheat, rye, oats, barley, buckwheat, fruits and vegetables. Cattle operations have also been historically important to the local economy. The early 1900s saw much activity in the dairy industry, with cheese making factories in Grassy Creek, Beaver Creek, Sturgills, Crumpler and Ashland. Eventually, the Kraft-Phoenix Creamery established a plant in West Jefferson in the 1930s. Having had several owners, the plant is now the Ashe County Cheese Plant and has for many years been the only such facility in North Carolina. Kraft helped consolidate several small community cheese plants in the area and provided the means and expertise to produce cheddar daisy wheels for distribution nationwide. From 1975 through 1981, Ashe County Cheese was sold a couple of times. It was after the second sale that the cheese plant and store were both remodeled and updated. A viewing room was also added, making Ashe County Cheese one of the most popular tourist attractions in North Carolina. After changing hands a couple more times, co-owners Mike Everhart and Tom Torkelson bought the cheese factory in July of 1994. Everhart and his family moved to Ashe County from Wisconsin to run the cheese plant. Everhart said that one of the main reasons he liked operating Ashe County Cheese was the location of the plant because it is such a pretty area, and in his opinion “as pretty as anywhere in the country” as far as he is concerned. Everhart has also had nothing but praise for the school system his children have attended here and the people that made his family feel right at home from the start. His personal experience has Everhart believing that West Jefferson is a place for anybody to live and raise a family. Torkelson remained in Wisconsin and has since become one of the nation’s finest cheese makers. He has won many National and International awards for his cheeses, and in the fall of 2007 was awarded the distinction of Wisconsin Master Cheesemaker. In 2004, Ashe County Cheese was split into two separate companies: Ashe County Cheese Company (the plant division), still owned and operated by Everhart and Torkelson, and Ashe County Cheese Store, now owned and operated by the Everhart family. Though two separate companies, the businesses work hand in hand to efficiently utilize both work space and personnel. Ashe County Cheese Store has remodeled and expanded several times through the years, with the most recent remodel and addition being completed in the spring of 2007. The store now offers not only all the products made here, but also a wide variety of other food and gift items. The plant has also undergone several upgrades since 1994, and though it still makes old style cheddar daisy wheels, it now produces a wide variety of cheeses and butter. It has developed a strong following for its original Sienna cheese, its many flavored cheeses and its newest variety, Juusto cheese (a mild Scandinavian cheese). “With a rich history covering more than 75 years, Ashe County Cheese is well positioned to face the many challenges of the future, and we look forward to serving your needs for many years to come,” said Everhart. The Ashe County Cheese Store is located at 106 E. Main Street in West Jefferson. For more information, call (800) 445-1378 or (336) 246-2501. — Allison Canter

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FRESCOE TIME IN ASHE COUNTY Join in the fun at the annual Fall Festival of the Frescoes on Saturday, Oct. 10, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The event takes place on the grounds of the Mission House across from Holy Trinity Episcopal Church (site of the Ben Long ‘Last Supper’ fresco) in Glendale Springs, and is sponsored by the members of the Parish of the Holy Communion. There is something for everyone at the festival, including great bargains at the Granny’s Attic sale, delicious goodies at the bake sale booth and artistic items at the silent auction booth. Many outside vendor booths are on hand with all types of crafts, and tickets are available for a drawing for a beautiful quilt decorated with hand-embroidered wildflowers crafted by the ladies of the church. The Men’s Group offers up delicious grilled chicken dinners, hot dogs, chili and pulled pork sandwiches for lunch. You can enjoy a picnic under the shade of old trees, or sit under the tent by the side porch while listening to entertainment performed by local musicians and church groups. A special area is devoted to the entertainment of young children, including face painting, games and rides in electric cars. Proceeds from this event are devoted to outreach programs in Ashe County and third-world countries. Parking areas are adjacent to the fair grounds and tour buses are welcome. For more information, click to www. or call (336) 982-3076. —Joel Frady


The Mountain Times Autumn Guide

Riverview COmmunity Center

From old school to new Ashe fun Under the shadow of Three Top Mountain, on the banks of the New River, lays Riverview Community Center, was previously an elementary school. Beside from regular activities and events, they also feature special events throughout the year, such as a farmers market, raffles, fundraisers for different organizations and even a Rubber Ducky Race at the Riverview Lions Club Family Festival. Riverview Farmers Market opened around the end of May. All inspections, certifications and water reports must be on file with the market and all meat handlers must have their license at all times. All vendors must undergo an initial inspection and are subject to random inspections to protect the integrity of the Market. For more information on the Riverview Farmer’s market, call (336) 977-9663 or email PO Box 64, Creston, NC 28615. The Riverview Café is also open for business. They boast reasonable prices and country cooking at its best. They are open on Fridays and Saturdays, from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. and on Sundays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The café offers everything from burgers and fries to popcorn shrimp and even salads. A Sunday buffet is offered from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The café offers takeouts by calling (336) 385-4444. You can view their full menu at the Riverview Community Center’s website at The Café also offers free WiFi access. A Thursday lunch is held every week at the center bringing friends and neighbors together to catch up, enjoy some food and learn about upcoming activities and events in the area. The lunch is held each Thursday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. According to the center’s website, to illustrate how good the Thursday lunches are, they reported that Doug and Debbie Anglemeyer came all the way from Tucson, Arizona to enjoy the event. Pickin’ and Jammin’ Fridays are held from 7 until 10 p.m. with free admission and refreshments are available. Free line dancing classes, taught by Linda Gee, are open to the public each Monday at 6:30 p.m. For more information, call (336) 385-6085 or (336) 385-3911. Tonya Trivette gives cuts, curls and new styles at the Magic Touch Hair Salon at Riverview. The hours are Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.; on Fridays, from 10 a.m to 5 p.m. and on Saturdays, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. For more information, call (336) 385-HAIR (4247) Not only can you get a good meal, learn line dancing and have your hair styled, the center also has an exercise and fitness room. The exercise and fitness room opens at 5:30 p.m. The fee to use the exercise room is $10 per month. Hours are Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, at 5:30 p.m. and Wednesdays, opening at 4:30 p.m. For more information, call (336) 385-1137. If you are planning a dinner, reunion, holiday party, showers or any other event, the center has space for rent. The banquet room is available for $30. The theatre room is available for $50, and the kitchen facility is available for $15. The gym can also be rented for $10 to $12 per hour. For more information, call Ruby Jones at (336) 385-7661 or call the Center Thursday and Friday between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. or on Saturdays, between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. CONTINUED ON NEXT PAGE 

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The North Fork Gallery, located at the Riverview Community Center is a wonderful place to find just the right gift for everyone on any shopping list. As one shopper put it, it is one of those rare jewels of the High Country that have yet to really be discovered by too many. Fine art and craft items can also be found at the Center in the North Fork Gallery, including items handmade by members of the community. Five local craftsman and artisans have just added their work to the gallery, including Joan DeNuncio, Faye Sutherland, Joyce Watson, Deanie Dishman and Casper Roark. “DeNuncio is a potter who does beautiful work and sells her items at unbelievable low prices,” according to the Gallery’s website. “Faye, Joyce and Deanie will dazzle you with their jewelry designs as enchanting as anything you would find at an upper scale jewelry store, but at better prices than even a big box discount mega store.” Roark is a 10-year-old who crafts handmade jewelry for the Gallery, which is situated on the riverside of the Center. The hours are Thursdays, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Fridays and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Riverview Maybe you need a different outfit, some furniture or some knick knacks. The Thrift Store at Riverview may have just what you’re looking for. They have a variety of items and Volunteers Ruby Jones and Tootsie’ Shumate “promise to always welcome you with a smile, whether you are there to volunteer, donate, snoop around or buy.” and are open Thursday and Friday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. and on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The scenery surrounding Creston is breathtaking. Once known as the “Lost Province, only a few people have found their way to this particular bend in the New River’s beginning. In the shadows of Three Top Mountain and the Peak, the drive to Riverview is one of the most scenic drives in the eastern United States. The Riverview Lions Club meets each first and third Thursday at 7 p.m. at the Riverview Community Center on N.C. 88 West, with a brief business program at 7 p.m. followed by refreshments and conversation following at 8 p.m. The Center is located at 11719 NC Highway 88 West in Creston, just past Rich Hill Road. For more information, call (336) 385-9812 or click to www.riverviewccnc. org. — Allison Canter Murals help showcase the sights in West Jefferson. Photo by Mark Mitchell



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Check Out Watauga Lake

Watauga Lake offers miles of shoreline minutes from the High Country With the summer coming to a close, there is still a chance to get out and enjoy the warm sunny days. It’s never too late to get out to Watauga Lake and enjoy the water and the sun. Watauga Lake is located in northeast corner Tennessee, east of Elizabethton and southwest of Mountain City, about a 45 minute drive from Boone. It’s the perfect place to set out a picnic or a cookout, relax in the sun, and just escape for the day. The lake itself is nestled in between the Cherokee National Forest and the Appalachian Mountains of northeastern Tennessee, making for some of the most beautiful scenery anywhere. Canoeing, swimming, and fishing are all available for a relaxing day. Sail boating, water skiing, jet skiing and wake boarding are available for those looking for something a little more exciting. The lake was created in 1942 by the Tennessee Valley Authority. The 6,430-acre lake rests 2,000 ft. above sea level. It has been rated the third cleanest lake in the nation, with over 100 miles of shoreline, the majority of it managed by the USDA. The mixture of long, winding mountain roads and lack of shore-side development (due to some steep shorelines) make the lake is less crowded by tourists and more scenic than some places. There are many facilities on Hwy. 321, two - nine miles from Hampton, which are maintained by the Cherokee Nation Forest service. These facilities

are the Rat Branch Boat Ramp, Carden’s Bluff Campground, Pond Mountain Shooting Range, Y’s Men Picnic Ground, Watauga Point Recreation Area, Little Milligan Boat Ramp, and Shook Branch Recreation Area. Swimming, boat ramps and picnicking are all offered here as well. Many of the sites include bathrooms and water fountains, and cost as little as $2 per vehicle for the entire day. Carden’s Bluff is the only facility run by the CNF that offers campgrounds. It has 43 single-unit campsites that cost $12 a night, and are given out on a first-come, first serve basis. A few sites have room for small- to mediumsized trailers, but these are limited. Each campsite includes a picnic table, a place for camp fires with fire rings, and a lantern ring. There are three flush toilets but no showers. Water faucets and trash containers are throughout the campsite, but there is no trailer dump station. The front gate is locked from 10 p.m. to 7 a.m. For more information about Watauga Lake’s public facilities, contact the Cherokee National Forest at (423) 735-1500, or on the web at www. A privately run web site of Watauga Lake is www. There are many other options to camping and boating at Watauga Lake. There are many fine resorts, marinas and restaurants on or near Watauga Lake to be found.

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UMC presents Fall Bazaar The Boone United Methodist Church will hold its 25th annual Fall Bazaar on Sept. 18 and 19 at the church on New Market Boulevard. The bazaar began in 1984 as a turkey dinner fundraiser to buy furniture for the parsonage. As the event grew, church members began donating and making items to sell in addition to the meal. This year’s event will be two days long, including a silent auction, three meals, chicken pie sales, a church-wide yard sale, pumpkin patch with photo opportunities and pumpkin purchase, live music and a scarecrow competition. The bazaar will kick off at 7:30 a.m. Friday with a breakfast of sausage or country ham biscuits or a sweet roll. Lunch will begin at 11 a.m. with quiche, vegetable soup, garden salad, roll and drink. A Carolina barbecue dinner will be served beginning at 4:30 p.m. Menu prices will vary for each meal. The silent auction will be open until 6 p.m. Friday. Items include gift certificates for local businesses, furniture, artwork, jewelry, Appalachian State University gear, box tickets for the ASU versus Western Carolina games, and a third row parking space for the ASU versus Georgia Southern game, and more. The Boone Police Department will be at the bazaar from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. Friday to provide free child identification cards. Live entertainment will be provided the UMC Praise Band, joined by minister John Fitzgerald, Friday evening. The bazaar picks back up at 7:30 a.m. Saturday with a large, country-style breakfast. The yard sale, pumpkin patch and scarecrow competition will continue throughout the day. The scarecrows will be placed along the road in front of the church, facing New Market Boulevard. The competition is themed “Finding the heart of Jesus.” Members of the church, numbering more than 1,300, donate all of the items in the yard sale. Prior to the beginning of the sale, local service organizations are asked to generate lists of needs. Throughout the weekend, the requested items are set aside to be delivered to the organizations at the end of the bazaar. Bazaar organizer, Rosie Bentley, said as of August members had already donated enough items to fill two tractor-trailers for the yard sale. Approximately 125 volunteers per day work the week before to sort items and put them out in different areas throughout the church. UMC is assisted by the Delta Tau Delta fraternity and volunteers from the Wesleyn Foundation in setting up the event. Proceeds of the event go toward local service agencies and to reduce church debt. For more information, visit or call (828) 264-6090. —Melanie Marshall


Numbers of Note The following numbers are non-emergency business numbers for law enforcement, hospitals, fire and animal control agencies throughout the high country.

ASHE Law Enforcement: Sheriff’s Department: (336) 219-2600 Jefferson Police: (910) 246-9368 West Jefferson Police: (336) 246-9410 Hospital: Ashe Memorial Hospital: (336) 246-7101; 200 Hospital Ave, Jefferson Fire & Rescue: Creston Volunteer Fire Department: (336) 385-6500 Fleetwood Volunteer Fire Department: (336) 877-5100 Glendale Springs Volunteer Fire Department: (336) 982-3539 Helton Township, Inc. Volunteer Fire Department : (336) 384-2420 Jefferson Volunteer Fire Department: (336) 246-9149 Lansing Volunteer Fire Department: (336) 384-4545 New River Volunteer Fire Department: (336) 982-4700 Todd Volunteer Fire Department: (336) 877-1234 Warrensville Volunteer Fire Department: (336) 384-3700 West Jefferson Volunteer Fire Department: (336) 246-3551 Animal Control: (336) 982-4060

AVERY Law Enforcement: Sheriff’s Department: (828) 733-2071 Banner Elk Police Department: (828) 898-4300 Elk Park Police Department: (828) 733-9573 Newland Police: (828) 733-2023 Seven Devils Police Department: (828) 963-6760 Sugar Mountain Police Department: (828) 898-4349 Hospital: Cannon Memorial Hospital: (828) 737-7000; 434 Hospital Dr, Linville

Photo by Rob Moore

Fire & Rescue: Avery County Rescue Squad: (828) 733-2607 Linville Central Rescue Squad: (828) 733-2346 Banner Elk Fire Deptartment: (828) 898-4623

Crossnore Volunteer Fire Department: (828) 733-4304 Elk Park Volunteer Fire Department:

WATAUGA Law Enforcement: Watauga County Sheriff’s Office: (828) 264-3761 Boone Police Department: (828) 262-4500 Beech Mountain Police Department: (828) 387-2342 Blowing Rock Police Department: (828) 295-5210 Appalachian Regional Healthcare System Police: (828) 262-4168 Appalachian State University Police Department: (828) 262-2150 Hospitals: Watauga Medical Center: (828) 262-4100; 336 Deerfield Rd, Boone Blowing Rock Hospital: (828) 295-3136; 416 Chestnut Dr, Blowing Rock Fire and Rescue: Beaver Dam Volunteer Fire Department: (828) 297-4393 Beech Mountain Fire Department: (828) 387-4612 Blowing Rock Fire Department: (828) 295-5221 Blowing Rock Rescue: (828) 295-3504 Boone Fire Department: (828) 262-4520 Cove Creek Volunteer Fire Department: (828) 297-1375 Deep Gap Volunteer Fire Department: (828) 262-0635 Foscoe Volunteer Fire Department: (828) 963-6305 Meat Camp Volunteer Fire Department: (828) 264-3668 Seven Devils Fire Department: (828) 963-5343 Watauga Rescue Squad: (828) 264-2426 Zionville Volunteer Fire Department: (828) 297-4812 Watauga County Animal Control: (828) 2621672

High Country After Hours Emergency Veterinary Clinic: (828) 268-2833; 1126 Blowing Rock Rd., Boone

The Mountain Times Autumn Guide


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A Host of Answers Visitors Center Can Answer Just About Any Question

ant to know where you can eat and sleep in the High Country and what there is to do and see here? Then stop by or call High Country Host in Boone. It’s the host with the most – the most information on area hotels, restaurants, parks, shopping, recreation, businesses, activities, events and more. High Country Host is a regional visitor information center and marketing organization designed to promote travel and tourism in Watauga, Ashe, Avery, Alleghany and Wilkes counties, the mountainous area known as North Carolina’s High Country. The center attracts visitors to the area and helps guide them once they arrive. To entice potential visitors, High Country Host places ads in several magazines ranging from “Southern Living” to “National Geographic Traveler.” The center also uses television and newspapers. Once people are interested, they can obtain


information about the area 24 hours a day through High Country Host’s phone system and web site. For those with Internet access, the center sports a new and improved web site that includes information about area lodging, real estate, maps, golf, parks, skiing, group tours, weather and much more. It also includes a direct link to all members with individual web sites. There’s even a link with the Blue Ridge Parkway web site, which provides a milepost-by-milepost itinerary for the parkway. Once visitors arrive in the mountains, they can stop by the center seven days a week for some High Country hospitality and personalized help from hosts and hostesses. The center’s staff can answer just

about any question about what the High Country has to offer and how to get there. There are also hundreds of brochures and pamphlets about High Country Host member organizations available at the center along with a 66page High Country mountain guidebook. The guidebook is also available at North Carolina welcome and visitor centers. Brochures available at the center range from attractions such as Grandfather Mountain, the Mast Store and the Blue Ridge Parkway to events such as ASU’s An Appalachian Autumn Festival and Banner Elk’s Woolly Worm Festival. There are also several pamphlets about area outdoor activities such as fishing, camping and hiking.

Contact Information Days & Hours Of Operation: Monday-Saturday 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Sunday 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Location: 1700 Blowing Rock Road (Highway 321 near K-Mart and beside Kentucky Fried Chicken.) Mailing Address: 1700 Blowing Rock Road, Boone, N.C. 28607 Phone: (828) 264-1299 & (800) 438-7500 FAX: (828) 265-0550 E-MAIL:

Chambers of Commerce


he High Country of Northwestern North Carolina is the h o m e o f n u m e r o u s communities, many represented by Chambers of commerce and visitor centers. Stop by one of the establishments listed below for maps of the area, brochures of attractions and places to visit, stay, or dine, and information on just about any conceivable topic relating to the High Country, its legends and lore, and its people.

Boone The Boone Area Chamber of Commerce is one of the High Country’s most active, with both a very dedicated membership and an overall commitment to the betterment of the area as both a vacation destination and business hub. Located in downtown Boone on Howard Street, the Chamber of Commerce is the ideal place to stop for information on area activities and brochures and maps of the community. Days & Hours Of Operation: Monday-Friday, 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. Location & Mailing Address: 208 Howard Street, Boone, NC 28607 Phone: (828) 264-2225 & (800 )852-9506 FAX: (828) 264-6644 E-MAIL: WEB SITE:

Blowing Rock

Blowing Rock is one of the crown jewels of the

Blue Ridge Mountains. The Chamber of Commerce knows this tight-knit-but-friendly community as no one else, and its representatives are always happy to share this knowledge with visitors. Aside from general information, lists of camping and fishing sites, and brochures, the Chamber of Commerce also

has a good stock of menus from the town’s many fine restaurants. Hours Of Operation: Monday-Saturday, 9:00 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Location: 7738 Valley Blvd., Blowing Rock, NC 28605 Mailing Address: P.O. Box 406, Blowing Rock, NC 28605 Phone: (828) 295-7851 & (800) 295-7851 FAX: (828) 295-4643 E-MAIL:

Beech Mountain

The highest town east of the Rocky Mountains, Beech Mountain is the wintertime hub of skiing, but it’s also a fine place to visit in the spring, Autumn, and autumn months, when activities abound in this “coolest town in the High Country.” Days & Hours Of Operation: Monday-Saturday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Location: 403-A, Beech Mountain Parkway, Beech Mountain (Located next to Beech Mountain Town Hall.) Mailing Address: 403-A Beech Mountain Parkway, Beech Mountain, NC 28604 Phone: (828) 387-9283 & (800) 468-5506 FAX: (828) 387-3572 E-MAIL: WEB SITE:

Avery-Banner Elk

The Avery-Banner Elk Chamber of Commerce, located just east of Banner Elk’s one and only stoplight, assists visitors with information concerning all of the county’s activity offerings and special events. It’s also a great place to visit for brochures and special publications on such annual happenings as the Grandfather Mountain Highland

Games & Gathering of the Scottish Clans and the Woolly Worm Festival. Days & Hours Of Operation: Monday-Friday, 9:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m., Saturday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Sunday, noon-4 p.m. Location: #2 Shoppes of Tyne Castle at the corner of Hwy 105 and 184. Mailing Address: 4501 Tynecastle Highway, Suite 2, Banner Elk, NC 28604 Phone: (828) 898-5605 & (800) 972-2183 FAX: (828) 898-8287 E-MAIL: WEB SITE:

Banner Elk The Banner Elk Chamber of Commerce is located in the heart of Banner Elk (at the one and only traffic light where Highway 184 intersects with Highway 194). Our mission is to “concentrate our resources in serving the membership and promoting Banner Elk as a unique village to visit, to live in, to work in, and to enjoy.” The Banner Elk Chamber of Commerce has volunteer committees that put together events and activities to promote the area, and it is staffed entirely by volunteers that are dedicated to serving the members and the Banner Elk community. Days & Hours Of Operation: Monday-Sunday 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Location: 100 West Main Street, Banner Elk, NC, 28604 Mailing Address: P. O. Box 1872, Banner Elk, NC, 28604 Phone: (828) 898-8395 FAX:(828) 898-8395 (call ahead) E-Mail: Web Site:

Ashe County

Ashe County, with its dual communities of Jefferson and West Jefferson, is just about as far as you can go in the High Country before entering Southwestern Virginia. The county is, in many respects, “a step back in time” to the way the Appalachian Mountains use to be. The Chamber can direct travelers through this sparsely populated area of Christmas tree farms and rugged mountain landscapes and offers a good selection of brochures and maps. Days & Hours Of Operation: Monday-Saturday, 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. Location: 303 E. 2nd St., West Jefferson Mailing Address: P.O. Box 31, West Jefferson, NC 28694 Phone: (336) 846-9550 & (888) 343-2743 FAX: (336) 846-8671 E-MAIL: WEB SITE:

Elizabethton, TN

Nearby Elizabethton, Tennessee is often referred to as “A Place For All Seasons”. The Elizabethton/Carter County Chamber of Commerce is the one-stop-shop for information on all activities and events taking place at Roan Mountain State Park, Watauga Lake, along the NC - Tennessee state line, and in all of Eastern Tennessee. Days & Hours Of Operation: Monday-Friday, 8:00 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Location: 500 19E Bypass, Elizabethton Mailing Address: P.O. Box 190, 500 19E Bypass, Elizabethton, TN 37644 Phone: (423) 547-3850 FAX: (423) 547-3854 E-MAIL: WEB SITE:

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in Blowing Rock

Blowing Rock’s quaint village atmosphere gets an extra boost of quaintness when the fall foliage arrives and visitors are forced to put on long pants for the first time in six months. A visit to the famed Blowing Rock tourist attraction takes on a whole new dimension when the wind is a little bit chilly and the whole vista is ablaze in red, orange and gold leaves. In addition to the regular attractions of downtown Blowing Rock and the Blue Ridge Parkway, there are plenty of special events scheduled for this corner of heaven in the fall.

Sept. 12 and Oct. 3—Art in the Park Are you currently making a list and checking it twice? Well, you can get a jump on marking names off your Christmas list by taking a trip to Blowing Rock. Blowing Rock’s famousArt in the Park features 100 talented artists and craftspeople setting up shop next to the American Legion Hall behind Blowing Rock Memorial Park. The most exquisite jewelry, paintings, pottery, furniture and knick-knacks can be found at Art in the Park. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, call the Blowing Rock Chamber of Commerce at (828) 295-7851.

Sept. 13—Concert in the Park The Watauga Community Band will perform a free concert at the gazebo in Blowing Rock Memorial Park on Sunday, Sept. 13 at 4 p.m. The band, made up of community members of all ages, will perform brass band and patriotic favorites. Bring a lawn chair or blanket for some good old fashioned musical fun.

Oct. 3—Mountainhome Music Enjoy a trip back in time when The Sheets Family presents the Mountainhome Music concert “Mountain Voices and Strings” at the Blowing Rock Elementary School Auditorium on Saturday, Oct. 3. For more information, visit

Oct. 4—Concert in the Park The Blowing Rock Chamber of Commerce presents Die Rhinelanders Oktoberfest Band at the Blowing Rock Memorial Park on Sunday, Oct. 4 at 4 p.m. The show is free and will be held at the gazebo.

Oct. 10—Classical and Celtic Concert Mountainhome Music will present a concert featuring some of the area’s finest classical and Celtic musicians on Saturday, Oct. 10 at 8 p.m. at the Blowing Rock School Auditorium. For more information, visit

Oct. 11—Blowing Rock Jazz Show The Blowing Rock Jazz Society will present the group Armen Boyajian’s Air Apparent at the Meadowbrook Inn on Sunday, Oct. 11 from 7 to 9 p.m. This group features amazing intricate interplay between piano and violin.Admission is $15 for adults and $5 for students. For more information, call (828) 295-4300.

Oct. 17—Bluegrass Generations Show Mountainhome Music will present the special concert “Bluegrass Generations” at the Blowing Rock School Auditorium on Saturday, Oct. 17 at 8 p.m. The show will prove that mountain music, particularly bluegrass, is often a family affair. For more information, visit

Oct. 31— Halloween Festival There’s just something extra special about a Halloween that falls on a Saturday! This year, Blowing Rock will host its annual Halloween Festival on Oct. 31 from 3 to 6 p.m. The event will feature a funhouse and games in the Recreation Center, the Monster March, bonfires in the park, trick-or-treating with the downtown merchants and a costume contest. After 6 p.m. everyone will go down to Broyhill Lake for the annual scavenger hunt. For more information, call (828) 295-5222.

Nov. 8—John Metzger Concert The Blowing Rock Jazz Society presents vibraphonist John Metzger and his

band for a special Second Sunday concert at the Meadowbrook Inn on Nov. 8 from 7 to 9 p.m. Tickets are $15 for adults and $5 for students. For more information, call (828) 295-4300.

card photograph. For more information, call (828) 295-5500.

Nov. 27—Lighting of the Town

One of the great Thanksgiving weekend traditions in Blowing Rock is for folks to gather at Bolick Pottery and Traditions Pottery for the annual wood kiln opening on Saturday morning. This year’s event takes place on Nov. 28 at 9 a.m. The kiln opening will feature hundreds of newly made mountain ceramics including Rebekah pitchers, face jugs, mugs, bowls and candlesticks. Many of the items will feature the special red Christmas glaze. For more information, call (828) 295-5099.

Blowing Rock’s tradition of lighting its downtown Christmas lights the day after Thanksgiving gets the holiday season started off with a bang. Join Mayor J.B. Lawrence as he flips the switch in Blowing Rock Memorial Park on Friday, Nov. 27 at dusk. Christmas in the Park also includes caroling, bonfires, hot chocolate and a chance for kids to tell Santa Claus what they want this year. For more information, call (828) 295-5222.

Nov. 27 & 28—Chetola’s Festival of Lights Chetola Resort’s breathtaking Festival of Lights begins on Friday, Nov. 27 with thousands and thousands of Christmas decorations. On Friday and Saturday, Nov. 27-28, Chetola will kick off the event with horse and carriage rides around Chetola Lake, Santa Claus at the Manor House Restaurant, and cookie decorating for the kids. The event takes place from 5-9 p.m. each evening and has become an annual tradition for folks looking to take that perfect Christmas

Nov. 28—Traditions Kiln Opening

Nov. 28—Blowing Rock Christmas Parade Blowing Rock’s Christmas Parade sets the tone for the rest of the holiday season and puts everybody in the mood to hang some stockings and spread some cheer. The event features music, classic cars, dignitaries, horses and, of course, a visit from St. Nick. This year’s parade takes place on Main St. on Saturday, Nov. 28 starting at 2 p.m. —Jeff Eason


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Youth is like spring, an over praised season more remarkable for biting winds than genial breezes. Autumn is the mellower season, and what we lose in flowers we more than gain in fruits. -- Samuel Butler

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Winter is an etching, spring a watercolor, summer an oil painting and autumn a mosaic of them all. -- Stanley Horowitz


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The best way to find Wilson’s Creek is to go to Boone Bike and Touring or Magic Cycles and pick up a map and some directions. Remember, Wilson’s Creek is also open to hikers and equestrian use, share the trail! Dark Mountain Trails North Wilkesboro The Brushy Mountain Cyclist Club has worked very hard to develop a network of trails at the dam on Kerr Scott Reservoir. The BMCC has worked with the Army Core of Engineers to make the trails accessible to hikers and mountain bikers. The trails are well labeled and maps of the entire trail network are available at Magic Cycles and Boone Bike as well as the BMCC’s Web site The Dark Mountain Trails are easily accessible from Boone and only about 45 minutes away. To get there, take Highway 421 South toward Wilkesboro, take a right on Highway 268 to its end, take a right and go over the dam to park.

Road Riding Boone Bike and Touring Tuesday Night Ride The Boone Bike Tuesday night ride meets at Boone Bike (across from McDonald’s on 321) at 6 p.m. The ride is 40 miles long and maintains a relatively fast pace. Anyone looking for a great leg-pumping workout should make this ride a priority. For more info call Boone Bike at (828) 262-5750. Magic Cycles Wednesday Night Ride A Wednesday night ride leaves from Magic Cycles on Depot St. at 6 p.m. The ride is for road cyclists of all abilities; the 30-mile loop leaves from downtown and makes its way to Blowing Rock and the Blue Ridge Parkway. A few miles into the ride the pack will break apart into smaller groups riding at a variety of paces. Everyone is out to have a good time and there is always a post ride gathering at the Mellow Mushroom on Rivers St. for pizza and beer. For more info call Magic Cycles at (828) 265-2211. Road Cycling the Blue Ridge High Country This guidebook to road cycling in the High Country, written by cyclist Tim Murphy, contains detailed directions and instructions on the fabulous road riding available in the High Country. The author, Tim Murphy, is the promotions coordinator for the Brushy Mountain Cyclists Club and writes a cycling column for the Wilkes County Journal-Patriot newspaper. Copies of the book are available at Boone Bike and Touring and online.

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September Through Sept. 18 —One hundred years of combined photographic experience — Bob and Sharon Caldwell, Mary Beth Hege and Debbie DeVita have offered the High Country photographic art through portraiture and wedding photography since 1978. These photographic artists will have their studios efforts displayed at Boone Mall on Blowing Rock Road through Friday, Sept. 18. On display will be photographs of local families, brides, children and other fun portraits. Their studios are: Debbie DeVita Photography-828-264-1466; Mary Beth Hege Photography-828-264-0813; and Bob and Sharon at Bob Caldwell Photography-828-264-9026. Sept. 1 — Bernadette Cahill talk — On Tuesday, Sept. 1, at 6:30 p.m., local author Bernadette Cahill will give a talk in the meeting room of theWatauga County Library. Cahill is author of “Women in the High Country,” a compilation of her articles in 2007-2008, plus never-before-published material. The title of the talk will be “What I learned by writing about Women in the High Country.” Call the reference desk of the library at (828) 264-8784 for further information. Sept. 1 — Beginner shag lessons — The Boone Shag Club is offering a series of four beginner shag lessons beginning on Tuesday, Sept. 1, at 7 p.m. at The Meadowbrook Inn in Blowing Rock. Lessons continue on Tuesdays Sept. 8, 22 and 29 (no class on Sept. 15). An opportunity to practice follows from 8 to 10 p.m., with open dancing to the music of local DJ George Brown. Total cost of the four lessons is $25 per person, and includes membership in the club. No advance registration or partner is required. For more details, call (828) 265-0445. Sept. 1-6 — Scenic summer ski lift rides at Sugar Mountain, Tuesday through Sunday, Sept. 1-6, weekends, 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Bring the whole family, a picnic lunch, your mountain bike, or just a friend and enjoy a breathtaking 45-minute round-trip lift-ride to Sugar’s 5,300 foot peak. For bike riders, specially made hooks on the backs of the chairs carry your bike to the top. Just hand your bike to the lift attendants at the bottom of the Gray lift, jump on the chair and enjoy the ride. The attendants will hang your bikes on the hook, and when you get off the lift another attendant will get your bike down for you, either at the 3/4 station, or at the top. The Village of Sugar Mountain town ordinance requires helmets to be worn by all bikers. Lift ticket prices are $10 for a one-time ride, and $22 for an all-day ticket. Kids 4 and under ride free with an adult. Groups of 20 or more can buy onetime ride tickets for only $5. Advanced reservations are required. Call 828-898-4521, extension 261. Sept. 2 — Hiking — The Chargers & Rechargers Hiking Club on Wednesday, Sept. 2, will hike the Tanawa Trail — the complete 13.5 miles with some climbing. Meet at the Price Lake boat ramp on the Blue Ridge Parkway to car pool to Beacon Heights. This is a long hike, so bring plenty of water and food. Estimated hiking/car pooling/ eating time will total 8 hours more or less. No dogs. Hike leader: Dave Johnson, 828-260-6146. Sept. 4 — Arts & Crafts Show — Several local artists will be participating in the Arts & Crafts Show presented by Dolly Rice Promotions


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on Friday, Saturday and Sunday of the Labor Day weekend, Sept. 4-6, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day. The juried show features 30 exhibitors from North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, South Carolina and Alabama. Jewelry, quilts, stained glass, wood carvings, rugs, furniture, carved stones, baskets, acrylic paintings, candles, purses, birdhouses, brooms, soaps, baby items and cango musical instruments are just a few of the hand-crafted items being offered. The show is being held in front of the Boone Kmart on Blowing Rock Road, U.S. 321, with free admission and ample free parking. For more information, contact 931-935-8610. Sept. 4-6 — Happy Valley Fiddlers Convention — The Happy Valley Fiddlers Convention will be held Labor Day Weekend (Sept. 4-6) off N.C. 268 in Lenoir. There will be competition in bluegrass, old time, individual instruments and flatfoot. Sunday’s program features the Kruger Brothers. For more information, visit the Web at www. or call 828-758-9448. Sept. 4 — 5-6:30 p.m. — Concert on the Lawn – Music at the Jones House, downtown Boone. Free concert but bring a chair. Music this week will be downtown Boone Bluegrass Bonanza with Southern Accent, Sigmon Stingers, Bluegrass 1101 and Sarvis Ridge and Leftover Bluegrass. Sept. 4 — 5 -7 p.m. – Cross country, ASU men’s and women’s – ASU men’s and women’s Cross Country Covered Bridge Open. Sept. 4 – 6-7:30 p.m. — Music in the Park – Valle Crucis – Music in the Valle Crucis Park. This week’s performers is Upright and Breathing. Sept. 4 – 2:30 p.m. — Lees-McRae College women’s volleyball, home. Sept. 4 — 7 p.m. — Lees-McRae College men’s soccer, home. Sept. 4 — 7 p.m. — Lees-McRae College women’s volleyball, home. Sept. 4-5 — Daniel Boone Days — Downtown Boone, involving various locations. A festival that bears the name of the famous pioneer who once hunted in the area. Local and national bands, educational symposium with authors and historians, Fess Parker Wine dinners, fiddlers’ competition and lots of fun and games. E-mail Sept. 4 — 5 p.m. until 2 a.m., Downtown Boone Art Crawl. Hosted every first Friday of the month, Boone’s Art Crawl is an opportunity to enjoy a celebration of art and community, along with refreshments. Later in the evening, Art Crawl Presents a music series showcasing a different band each month. The nightlife continues through 2 a.m. The Downtown Boone Art Crawl lasts from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m., though shops typically close at 7:30 p.m. The monthly event is sponsored by the Downtown Boone Development Association Public Art Program. For more information, call (828) 262-4532 or visit Sept. 5 — Leslie Brunetsky book signing — Local author Leslie Brunetsky will sign copies of her humorous memoir, “Real Country: From the Fast Track to Appalachia,” at the Todd General Store on Saturday, Sept. 5, from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Former city slicker turned storyteller, Brunetsky compares life on the fast track of our nation’s capitol with her new, relaxed existence in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Ashe County. Come chat with her about local language, food, customs and

culture, and see how she’s learning to love the mountain life. Contact the author at

Sept. 5 — 12:30 p.m. — Lees-McRae College women’s volleyball, home.

Sept. 5-26 — 7 a.m. to noon, Watauga County Farmers’ Market, Horn in the West Drive, boone. Fresh vegetables, fruits, flowers, crafts, canned goods. Local vendors. Come early for best selection. Open every Saturday through October, also open Wednesday afternoons, 4-7 p.m, through Sept. 9. Sept. 5 — 2 p.m., Todd Music Series, Cook Park in Todd. Featuring Wayne Henderson and Helen White. Admission is $5; children under 12 free. Call 336-846-2787 for details.

Sept. 5 — Second annual Daniel Boone Days Music and Culture Festival, 1-11 p.m. at the Horn in the West amphitheater. The festival is jam-packed with activities for all ages and tastes, including children’s music and games, living history, arts and crafts, food and drink, dancing, poetry, storytelling and live performances from national acts such as Donna the Buffalo and Larry Keel & Natural Bridge. Sept. 5 — 7:30-9 p.m. — Summer Reading author Greg Mortenson will be at the Linville Falls Room at Appalachian State University.

Sept. 5-6 —Cherokee Archery competition at Mountain City Chamber of Commerce, Mountain City, Tenn.

Sept. 5 — 4:30 p.m. — Lees-McRae College women’s volleyball, home.

Sept. 5 —Hiking — The Chargers & Rechargers Hiking Club on Saturday, Sept. 5, will hike the Mountain to Sea Trail from Old Johns River Road to Rich Mountain Trail. Approximately 4 miles, moderately strenuous (steady ascent most of the way). No dogs. Hike leader: Lois Evans, 828-265-1960.

Sept. 5 — Second annual High Country Beer Fest at Broyhill Inn, Boone; phone 828-262-2204. Come sample a “Mash Bash” of craft and club beers.

Sept. 6 — Shane Pruitt Band at Beech — The Shane Pruitt Band will be in concert at the Beech Alpen Pavilion from 5-9 p.m. Concert is free. Sept. 6 — 4 p.m. — Viola Quartet at Appalachian State University.

Sept. 6 — 4-8 p.m. — The 2009 High Country Praise Festival at the Holmes Convocation Center featuring John and Meredith Wilson, 7 Miles, Pastor Reggie Hunt, ASU All-American Cortez Gilbert and more, Tickets are $5. Call 828-262-6603 for more details.

Sept. 6 — Annual Mountain Home Music concert “A Salute to Those Who Labor,” 8 p.m. at First Baptist Church of Boone. Through story and song, MHM annually salutes those who helped to build the community: farmers, factory workers, homemakers, artisans, entrepreneurs, railroaders, coal miners, truck drivers and many others. Led by Joe Shannon and the MHM Bluegrass Boys, this celebration caps off the summer season and is perennially one of MHM’s most popular shows. Call 828-964-3392.


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CALENDAR Sept. 6 —Blues Festival returns to High Country — On Sunday, Sept. 6, you can get your dose of blues at the seventh annual New River Blues Festival at Jefferson Landing in Ashe County. This event has become a destination for those looking for a relaxing day of listening to great blues music surrounded by the beauty of the mountains. Located at the Riverside Park at Jefferson Landing, you can hear the tunes, enjoy the food, drink, friends and scenery as one of the world’s oldest rivers moves slowly past, adding its own rhythm to the sounds of the day. Another great lineup of blues musicians will highlight the afternoon’s activities as they are backed up by locally grown and internationally known The King Bees. The music will start at 1 p.m. and go until 6 p.m. The tickets will be $10 in advance and $12 at the gate for adults, children 12 and under are free. Advanced sale tickets can be purchased through Celtic Force Enterprises at www.thecelticforce. com. It is suggested that you bring a chair or blanket for seating and it is also requested that you not bring coolers or pets. This event is being produced by Celtic Force Enterprises and Mellowdown Productions and is being sponsored by Jefferson Landing, Mountain Times and Jefferson Rent All. The West Jefferson Lions Club will handle ticketing at the gate and parking. For additional information visit www.myspace. com/newriverbluesfestival Sept. 5-6 — Labor Day/Award Show Week – Fine Art and Craft Show, Saturday, Sept. 5, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Great Train Robbery on N.C. 184 near Banner Elk. Call 898-8645 for details. Sept. 5 — Beech Mountain Dancing in the Streets at Town Hall, 7-9 p.m., Town Hall at Beech Mountain. DJ Mac Mast is a master at reading the crowd and playing music that will get your heart pumping and your feet moving. Music starts at 7 p.m. weather permitting. This is a free event, brought to you by the Beech Mountain Chamber of Commerce. For additional information, call the Beech Mountain Chamber of Commerce at (898) 387-9283. Sept. 6 — Mile High Kite Festival at Beech Mountain, 10 a.m., across from Beech Mountain Town Hall. A great tradition with lots of color and fun activities for kids of all ages. This is a free event sponsored by the members of the Beech Mountain Chamber of Commerce. Kites can be purchased at the event, or bring your own. Be sure to bring your kite making supplies. Free kites Saturday and Sunday for the first 100 children. Kite building and decorating clinics are presented for the children, as well. Two kite clubs are available to demonstrate flying techniques and also display their kites. The festival begins at 10 a.m. Free parking. Call (828) 387-9283. Sept. 6 — 5 p.m. — Music at St. John’s: The Degas Quartet, Historic St. John Episcopal Church, Valle Crucis. Violinists James Dickerson and Tamaki Higashi, violist Simon Ertz and cellist Phillip Von Maltzahn are celebrated for vibrant performances of classical and contemporary music. The Music at St. John’s events are “family friendly” with opportunities for member of the audience to meet and interact with artists. Consider bringing a picnic to enjoy on the church grounds following the concert. Please note that pets are not allowed on the property during these events. A minimum donation of $15 is requested for each adult; children under 12 year may attend free of charge. Call 828-406-1332 for more information. Sept. 7 — Hiking — The Chargers & Rechargers Hiking Club on Monday, Sept. 7, will hike The Maze and Apple barn at Cone Manor on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Meet at Bass Lake lower parking area on the parkway at 9:30 a.m. Sept. 8 — Bingo at Land Harbor — Cannon Memorial Hospital is sponsoring two nights of Bingo at the community building at Land Harbor. The dates are Sept. 8 and Sept. 29. The purpose of the event is to raise money for the construction of a Habitat house in Avery County. Sept. 8 — 8 p.m. — Joby Bell, organ concert at Appalachian State University. Sept. 9 — Hiking — The Chargers & Rechargers Hiking Club on Wednesday, Sept. 9, will hike the Tanawa Trail from Linn Cove Viaduct to Rough Ridge. Hike under the world famous Linn Cove Viaduct, enjoy waterfalls, walk over lovely wooden foot bridges and enjoy spectacular views of the Piedmont, Grandfather, Grandmother, Hawksbill and Table Rock Mountains. No dogs. Hike leader: Lois Evans, 828-265-1960.


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Sept. 9 — 6 p.m. — Lees-McRae College men’s soccer, away. Sept. 11-12 — Blue Ridge Relay — 6:45 a.m., mountains of Virginia and North Carolina. This will be the fifth running of this 208-mile team running relay and event has grown from 10 teams the first year to over 80 last year. Call 336-877-8888 for details. Sept. 11 — Concert on the Lawn – 5-6:30 p.m. – Music at the Jones House, Downtown Boone – Free concert but bring a chair. This week music is old-time duet and bluegrass with Whitetop Mountaineers and the Lost Ridge Band. Sept. 11-12 — Pro rodeo, Johnson County (Tenn.) Chamber Park, Doe Valley, Tenn. Sept. 11-12 —Greater L.A. Festival, Lansing. Times varying. Location: Lansing. A local festival with crafts, food and much more. Phone 336-977-0944. Sept. 12 — Kidfest at Grandfather Mountain — 9 a.m.- 4 p.m. Guided woods walk, the Thicket Game, face painting, Appalachian storytelling and music, and a Gamelan, and Indonesian-style music ensemble. Other activities include a book reading by representatives from the Watauga County Library, followed by a craft-making session. Read more at Call 800-468-7325 for details. Sept. 12-13 — Railfan Weekend. Location: Tweetsie Railroad. Phone 800-526-5740. Take a journey back in time behind Tweetsie’s historical coal-fired steam locomotives. Sept. 12 — Versatile acrylics workshop — On Saturday, Sept. 12, at 1 p.m., a workshop on painting with acrylics will be held in the meeting room of the Watauga County Public Library. Join Cher Cosper for a hands-on workshop on painting with acrylics. The workshop is for the beginner adult to the advanced painter who wants to learn new techniques. Registration and materials are required. Call the reference desk of the library at (828) 264-8784 for further information. Sept. 12 — Applebee’s Flapjack Fundraiser Breakfast — Applebee’s Flapjack Fundraiser breakfast to support Tim McDonald will be held Sept. 12 from 7 a.m.-10 a.m. at Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill & Bar, 2036 Blowing Rock Road, Boone. Tickets are $6. Tickets may be purchased at the door. “Enjoy a short stack for a tall cause.” Contact Polly Richards at 828-733-0750, or Jeanette combs at 828-268-0724 for more information. Sept. 12 — Blowing Rock Art in the Park, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Location: American Legion Grounds in downtown Blowing Rock. Phone 828-295-7851. A juried art and craft show featuring 100 artists. Free admission. Shuttles available. Sept. 12 — Grandfather Mountain Kidfest, 10 a.m.-4 Grandfather Mountain. Guided hikes, games, storytellers, music and fun. Included with park admission. Call 800-468-7325. Sept. 12 — 1 p.m., Lees-McRae College women’s soccer, home. Sept. 12 — 1 p.m., Lees-McRae College women’s volleyball, home. Sept. 12 — 3:30 p.m., Lees-McRae College men’s soccer, home. Sept. 13 — Blowing Rock Concert in the Park, 4 p.m. Location: Memorial Park, downtown Blowing Rock. Phone 828-295-7851. Featured: The Watauga Community Band. Free. Sept. 13 — Harris Brothers at Beech — The Harris Brothers will be in concert at the Beech Alpen Pavilion from 5-9 p.m. Concert is free. Sept. 14-18 — Cheap Joe’s Art Stuff weekly workshops — Mark Menendez — open studio (any media). Want to take an art vacation? Sign up for one of Cheap Joe’s weeklong art instruction workshops in the beautiful North Carolina High Country. Call 800-227-2788 for details. Sept. 15 — Financial success workshop — WAMY Community Action Inc. and New York Life are partnering to present a financial planning and budgeting workshop called “Blueprint for Financial Suc-

cess.” The workshop includes information on budget preparation, the importance of emergency savings, goal setting, debt management, determining your net worth and even a discussion of some basic legal documents that individuals might want to consider. Two sessions will be offered. Both are on Tuesday, Sept. 15, at the Family Resource Center in the WAMY Community Action office, 225 Birch St. in Boone (across the street from the Watauga Medical Center). The afternoon session will be held from 3 to 5 p.m. and refreshments will be served. The evening session from 5:30 to 7:30 will include a light supper. All participants will receive “LifeFolio” – a lifetime financial organizer that provides steps to organizing your important records and documents, a financial checklist and materials to help you and your family get organized. For more information or to register, call 828 265-8483 and ask about the financial success workshop. Sept. 15 — Faculty Recital Series: An Evening of Encores! at Appalachian State University. Sept. 16 — Beroth Golf Tournament at Appalachian State University. Sept. 16 — 5 p.m., Lees-McRae College women’s soccer, home. Sept. 16 — 7:30 p.m., Lees-McRae College men’s soccer, home.

Sept. 18-19 — Seventh annual Ashe County Quilt Fair. Location: Jefferson Station. The hours are Friday from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. They will have about 100 quilts on display, some for sale, and a special exhibit of antique quilts. Phone 336-2463230.

Sept. 19 — Rough Ridge Bluegrass Festival — The Rough Ridge Bluegrass Festival will be held Sept. 19 at 3 p.m. at the Grandfather Foscoe Community Center. Tickets are $12 (10 and under free). Gates open at 1 p.m. Advanced ticket locations are App Music Shoppe, Rydell Music and Mast General Store. Directions: (Follow N.C. 105 south – out of Boone to Foscoe), turn into Grandfather Campground entrance, beside of Watauga Baptist Church, 233 Park Road. The festival will benefit the Hospitality House of Boone “WeCan.” Music will feature Jonathan Maness & Roots Music Revue, Sarvis Ridge, Southern Accent, The Far City Boys and CreekSide Grass. There will be food and craft vendors. Bring your own lawn chairs. It will be held rain or shine. Please no pets. For more information, call B.J. Taylor at 828-963-8112; Amber Stanley at 828-719-9223; Charlie Taylor at 828-406-5241; or Corbit Bryan at 828-964-2966.

Sept. 19 — High Country Hospice Fall Ball — High Country Hospice will hold its first Fall Ball on Sept. 19 at Chetola Resort in Blowing Rock. The event will include a sit-down dinner, live and silent auctions, a live band and dancing. All proceeds will go to support High Country Hospice patient care. Tickets can be purchased at www. or at the High Country Hospice office, located at 136 Furman Road (off State Farm Road). For more information call 828-265-9443.

Sept. 19 — Heritage Day — Heritage Day will be held at the Banner House Museum Saturday, Sept. 19, from 11 a.m. - 4 p.m. at 7990 Hickory Nut Gap Road, Banner Elk. Visitors are invited to display family pictures and memorabilia, visit with Banner Elk/Avery heritage authors, enjoy music and house tours, including an exhibit on “Life in Banner Elk 1860-1865” and Civil War artifacts from Steve Chandler’s collection. Barbecue lunches will be available for purchase. Anyone wishing to display quilts is required to preregister by Sept. 15. For more information, call (828) 898-3634.

Sept. 19 — Railroad Grade Run 5K Road Race — The eighth annual Railroad Grade Run 5K Road Race will held in Todd Sept. 19, beginning at 9 a.m. It is sponsored by Farm Bureau Women’s Committee and Todd General Store. The Farm Bureau Scholarship Run is a fast, flat, scenic 5km (3.1 mile) footrace. It is an event for the competitive and recreational runners, families and walkers. The race starts and finishes at the Todd General Store. All runners will receive a T-shirt, and participate in post race celebrations, including food and refreshments, entertainment and awards ceremony. All registered runners are eligible for door prizes. Top three males and females in age group divisions will receive special awards. Preregistration is $17; race day


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CALENDAR is $20. Return completed registration form and entry fee payable to: Farm Bureau Scholarship Fund, c/o Janet Moretz, 215 Len Moretz Road, Boone, N.C. 28607. Registration is nonrefundable; proceeds from the Farm Bureau Scholarship Run benefits the R. Flake Shaw Scholarship FundRegistration and packet pick up is 8:15-8:45 a.m. For information and donations, contact the N.C. Farm Bureau, www.ncib. com or Janet Moretz at 828-264-9480, Helen Moretz at 828-2647142, or Sept. 19 — Avery County Toy 4 Tots Drive — The second annual Avery County Toy 4 Tots drive will be held Saturday, Sept. 19. All proceeds will benefit less fortunate children in Avery County. Registration begins at 11 a.m. on the Riverwalk in the parking lot of the Church of Jesus Christ in Newland. The Toy Run will depart from this location at 1 p.m. Riders and passengers can join in the fun by bringing a toy (valued at $10 ) or pay a rider fee of $10 each. (Please, no stuffed animals). Participants do not have to ride a motorcycle to join in the fun, all vehicles are welcome. There will be free food, entertainment, door prizes and a 50/50 drawing, which will take place at the end of the toy run. For more information, call Jerry Calloway at (828) 7652098 or Tommy Burleson at (828)387-1400. The event is sponsored by the Avery County EMS, Reaching Avery Ministries, YMCA of Avery County, Avery County Sheriff’s Department, Volunteer Avery County and Avery County DSS. Sept. 19 — Barbershop Show — The 28th annual Barbershop Show featuring Let’s Sing!, international competitors in the July 2009 contest in Anaheim, Calif., the Finders Keepers, Sweet Adeline regional medalists 2009, and the Triad Harmony Express chorus and quartets from Winston-Salem will be held Saturday, Sept. 19, at 7:30 p.m. in the Rosen Concert Hall on the ASU campus. All seats are reserved; $15 advance and $18 at the door, students and children free at the door. Tickets are available at the Rydell Music Center on N.C. 105 south, or from the Internet through the Watauga Arts Council at Proceeds will benefit music scholarships. Sept. 19 — 1-4 p.m. – Elkland International Puppet Festival – Todd, Todd Mercantile. This family fun event, organized and hosted by Elkland Art Center, features world-class puppetry for all ages. Call 336-877-5016 for more details. Sept. 19 — Grandfather Mountain Girl Scout Day, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. at Grandfather Mountain. All Girl Scouts and troop leaders are admitted free with proof of membership. Discount admission for other family members. The staff naturalists will be offering free nature programs throughout the day. Call 800-468-7325. Sept. 19 — Bike ride — The Bridge-To-Bridge Incredible Challenge Bike Ride will take place from the Lenoir Mall to the Mile High Swinging Bridge at Grandfather Mountain. This 102-mile bike ride departs the Lenoir Mall and makes its way uphill to Grandfather. There is a registration fee. Call 828-726-0616. Sept. 19 — Hiking — The Chargers & Rechargers Hiking Club will hike on Saturday, Sept. 19, at Pond Mountain Trail on the Appalachian Trail from Watauga Lake on U.S. 321 where the AT crosses at Shook Branch Road (just before Hampton, Tenn.) to Dennis Cove parking lot on Dennis Cove Road. It’s 9-10 miles. The group will be spotting cars. The hike is moderate to strenuous. Bring water and lunch. No dogs. Leader: Gloria Marquez, 828-262-0357. Sept. 19 — Watauga Lake Triathlon — The fifth annual event in Johnson County, Tenn., will take place at 9 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 19, at the Sugar Grove Baptist Church and a local family farm perched on the banks of the lake in a scenic, pastoral setting. This will be a lowkey festive event with overall men/women cash prizes, awards and a post-race barbecue. Visit their Web site for more information www. Sept. 19 — Annual Farm Heritage Day and Country Fair — Beginning at 10 a.m. at Historic Cove Creek School in Sugar Grove. Oldfashioned family fun. Farm exhibits, live music, petting zoo, crafts, apple butter and more. Admission charged for adults. Children 15 and under are free. Call 828-297-2200 for details. Sept. 20 — 2 p.m. — Appalachian Philharmonia at Appalachian State University.




Sept. 20 — On The Corner at Beech — On The Corner will be in concert at the Beech Alpen Pavilion from 5-9 p.m. Concert is free. Sept. 21 — Hiking —The Chargers & Rechargers Hiking Club on Monday, Sept. 21, will hike the Boone Fork Trail. Meet at Price picnic grounds at milepost 296.5 on the Blue Ridge Parkway near the restrooms at 9:30 a.m. Sept. 21- 25 — Cheap Joe’s Art Stuff weekly workshops — Caroline Jasper - powercolor oil painting — Want to take an art vacation? Sign up for one of Cheap Joe’s weeklong art instruction workshops. Call 800-227-2788 for details. Sept. 22 — 8 p.m. — Doug Miller, clarinet performance, at Appalachian State University. Sept. 22 — 7 p.m., Lees-McRae College women’s soccer, home. Sept. 22 — 7 p.m., Lees-McRae College women’s volleyball, home.

Sept. 28 — Hiking — The Chargers & Rechargers Hiking Club on Monday, Sept. 28, will hike Rich Mountain. Meet in the parking area of Trout Lake on the Blue Ridge Parkway at 9:30 a.m.

Sept. 29 — 8 p.m. — Jon Beebe playing the bassoon at Appalachian State University.

Sept. 30 — 7 p.m. — “Lysistrata” (theater/drama) at Appalachian State University.

Sept. 30 — Hiking — The Chargers & Rechargers Hiking Club on Wednesday, Sept. 30, will hike the Humps on the Appalachian Trail. About 8 miles — five hours. Hike leaders: Mary Boys, 828-3870554. Sept. 30 — 5 p.m. — Lees-McRae College women’s soccer, home. Sept. 30 — 7:30 p.m. — Lees-McRae College men’s soccer home.

Sept. 23 — Hiking —The Chargers & Rechargers Hiking Club on Wednesday, Sept. 23, will hike at Roan Mountain Ramble at the Hampton Creek Nature Area. Parts of the trail include the Shell Farm, Birchfield and Overmountain Victory Trails. There will be a late lunch at Carol Ann’s house. No dogs. Hike leader: Carol Ann Mitchell, 423772-4280. Sept. 24 – 3:30-4:45 p.m. — Visiting Writer’s Series at the Craft Talk Table Room at Appalachian State University. Sept. 24 — 7:30-9 p.m. — Novelist Dorothy Allison at the Table Rock Room in the Plemmons Student Union at Appalachian State University. Sept. 25 — Steely Pan Band at Appalachian State University. Sept. 26-Oct. 3 — Cycle North Carolina “Mountains to the Coast” Fall Ride — Starts in Blowing Rock. This time the route includes overnight stops in Blowing Rock, Lenoir, Statesville, Thomasville, Sanford, Dunn, Kenansville and Surf City. Hosted by North Carolina Amateur Sports (NCAS), Cycle North Carolina is a fully supported cross-state recreational bike tour of the Tar Heel state. Formed in 1999, Cycle North Carolina is designed to promote physical fitness and health, and provide economic impact and publicity to rural communities across the state, while showcasing the state’s beauty, scenic attractions and cultural diversity. For more information, visit the Web at Sept. 26 — GNCC Yadkin Valley Stomp — The Grand National Cross Country Yadkin Valley Stomp will be held Sept. 26 with ATVs and Sept. 27 with bikes. “Come race or just camp out and watch as racers (amateur and pro) race through muddy creeks, through tight woods and up steep hills for one, two and three hours,” a spokesperson said. Go to for more information. Sept. 26 — Miss High Country Pageant — The first Miss High Country Pageant will take place Saturday, Sept. 26, at 1 p.m. at the Watauga High School auditorium. There will be beauty, talent and many other divisions in which to enter Trophies, sashes and tiaras will be awarded. Ages newborn through participants are welcome. For more information and to obtain entry forms, contact or call 828-773-0017. Sept. 26 — Hiking —The Chargers & Rechargers Hiking Club on Saturday, Sept. 26, will hike Elk Garden/Appalachian Trail to Summit Top over Whitetop Mountain, Va. The group will hike a short way on the horse trail toward Mt. Rogers (0.5 mile) from Elk Garden and then take the AT south over White Top to Summit Cut with a total hike of about 8 miles. No fogs. Hike leaders: Eloise Kaeck, 828-675-1822. Sept. 27 — 2 p.m. — Witold Kosmala, violin performance at Appalachian State University. Sept. 28-Oct. 2 — Cheap Joe’s Art Stuff weekly workshops — Jane Jones — Luminous color with underpainting and glazing. Want to take an art vacation? Sign up for one of Cheap Joe’s weeklong art instruction workshops. Call 800-227-2788 for details.

October Oct. 1— Chick Corea in concert as part of the Performing Arts Series at Appalachian State University.

Oct. 1 — 7 p.m. — “Lysistrata” performance (theater/drama) at Appalachian State University.

Oct. 1-31 — Orchard at Altapass. Varied events. Call 888-7659531.

Oct. 1-4 —Vietnam Veterans Moving Wall. Times varying. Location: Ashe County Park. This tribute to our country’s fallen heroes from that war is a smaller replica of the famous wall in Washington, D.C., and will be visiting Ashe County for the first time. Phone 336-977-1427.

Oct. 1-Nov. 19 — Best of the Blue Ridge Art Exhibit, Ashe Arts Center. Ongoing. Location: Ashe Arts Center. Juried paintings and drawings from Ashe and surrounding areas. Opening reception is 5 to 8 p.m. Oct. 9. For more information, call the Ashe County Arts Councilat 336-846-2787;e-mail

Oct. 2 — Ghost Train Halloween Festival at Tweetsie Railroad – Every Friday and Saturday, Oct. 2-31. The cost is $26 per person. Advance tickets are required. Safe, scary fun for all ages. There will be the Ghost Train Ride, Haunted House, Halloween shows, 3-D Maze, Black Hole, and trick-or-treating. Call 800-526-5740 or visit www. Oct. 2 — 7 p.m. — Lees-McRae College women’s volleyball, home.

Oct. 2 — Rotary charity garage sale — The Rotary Club of Blowing Rock will hold its second annual Charity Garage Sale Oct. 2 and 3 at the Old Blowing Rock Fire Station at the corner of Park and Wallingford roads. Residents can drop donations off on any Friday from 2 to 5 p.m. or Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon through Sept. 26. Large appliances, electronics, computers, clothes or shoes will not be accepted. All proceeds from the sale will benefit local charities. For more information or if donations need to be picked up, call 295-7622 from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. weekdays or contact any Blowing Rock Rotarian.

Oct. 2-4 —Ashe County Little Theatre presents “Twelve Angry Men” at 7:30 p.m. and 2 p.m. at the Ashe Civic Center. For more information, contact the Ashe County Arts Council at 336-846-2787; e-mail



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CALENDAR Oct. 2 — 7 p.m. — “Lysistrata” performance (theater/drama) at Appalachian State University. Oct. 3 — 1 p.m. — Lees-McRae College women’s soccer, home.



color alla prima with limited palettes. Want to take an art vacation? Sign up for one of Cheap Joe’s weeklong art instruction workshops. Call 800-227-2788. Oct. 6 — “Raft Talk,” Price Lake Room at the ASU Plemmons Student Union.

Oct. 3 — 2 p.m. — Lees-McRae College women’s volleyball, home. Oct. 3 — Appalachian vs. The Citadel, football, 1 p.m. in Charleston, S.C.

Oct. 6 — 8 p.m. — Faculty Recital Series: “The Combination Is...” at Appalachian State University. Oct. 6 — 5 p.m. — Lees-McRae College women’s soccer, home.

Oct. 3 — 3:30 p.m. — Lees-McRae College men’s soccer, home. Oct. 3 — Mayland Community College Wildlife Expo. Call 828765-7351. Oct. 3-4 —Autumn at Oz — All day at Beech Mountain. For two days each year, the public is invited to take a nostalgic stroll down the Yellow Brick Road and share memories of Oz with younger generations. Held on the first weekend in October, visitors park in a large meadow across from the Beech Mountain Town Hall on the Beech Mountain Parkway and walk or take a shuttle bus or hayride to the private garden at Oz. Guests tour Aunt Em and Uncle Henry’s farm and meet Dorothy and friends along the Yellow Brick Road. There is a concession stand featuring new and old Oz trivia, a small petting zoo, a mini-Oz museum, mountain music, square dancers and face painting to add to the festive atmosphere. In past years, guests of honor have included Munchkins from the classic movie “Wizard of Oz” and past presidents of Carolina Caribbean Corporation. Admission is charged, but they’ll gladly take original yellow bricks or other park artifacts for trade. Proceeds go to pay for the party and help with restorations. The tour takes from one and a half to two hours and Oz-esque costumes are encouraged. Strollers and wheelchairs will have to be parked. For more information, including advance ticket sales, contact the Beech Mountain Chamber of Commerce at 800-468-5506. Oct. 3 — Blowing Rock Art in the Park, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Location: American Legion Grounds, Blowing Rock. Phone 828-295-7851. It’s a juried art and craft show featuring 100 artists. Free admission. Shuttle service available. Oct. 3 — Mountain Home Music concert, 8 p.m. Location: Blowing Rock School Auditorium. Featured will be the Mountain Voices and Strings: The Sheets Family. Oct. 3 — 29th annual Hickory Ridge Homestead Apple Festival — 9 a.m.- 4 p.m. at Horn in the West in Boone. Fun crafts and activities for the entire family. Vendor spaces still available. Call 264-2120 for details. Oct. 3 — Brushy Mountain Apple Festival & Apple Jam — 8 a.m.5 p.m. in downtown North Wilkesboro. The Brushy Mountain Apple Festival is one of the largest one-day arts and crafts festivals in the Southeast. The streets of downtown North Wilkesboro are filled with more than 425 arts and crafts, 100 food concessions, four different music stages consisting of bluegrass, country, folk, gospel, and Appalachian heritage. Cloggers, folk dancers, rope skippers and square dancers provide additional entertainment venues for festival-goers. Appalachian heritage crafts are highlighted, such as woodcarving, chair making, soap making, pottery throwing and quilting. Let us not forget the apples, apples, and apples. Local apple growers set up throughout the festival selling their apples, apple cider and dried apples. After all, this festival also pays tribute to the fruit grown and harvested each fall by apple orchardists from Northwestern North Carolina. APPLE JAM is a musical event held at the corner of 10th and Main in downtown North Wilkesboro, the Friday evening preceeding the festival. The music starts at 6 p.m. Bring your lawn chair and enjoy the music. Call (336) 984-3022 for details. Oct. 4 — Blowing Rock Concert in the Park, 4 p.m. Location: Memorial Park, downtown Blowing Rock. Phone 828-295-7851. Featured will be the Die Rhinelanders Oktoberfest Band. Free admission. Oct. 4 — 7 p.m. — “Lysistrata” performance matinee (theater/drama) at Appalachian State University.

Oct. 6 — 7:30 p.m. — Lees-McRae College men’s soccer, home. Oct. 8 — 7:30-9 p.m. — Rivers-Coffey Distinguished Professor reading at the Table Rock Room at Appalachian State University. Oct. 8 — 7 p.m. — Lees-McRae College women’s volleyball, home. Oct. 8 — 6-7:15 p.m. — Public reception at Multicultural Center, PSU at Appalachian State University. Oct. 9 — 10:30 a.m.-3 p.m. — Global Opportunities Conference at Appalachian State University. Oct. 9-10 — Mayland Community College Foundation’s Fall Leaf Excursion. Call 828-765-7351. Oct. 9 — Woolly Worm Ball, 6 p.m. Dinner, dance and silent auction. Call 828-898-5605. Oct. 10 — High Country Comicon, National Guard Armory, 274 Hunting Hills Lane, Boone NC. 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Comic books, toys, cards, collectibles, manga, anime. Featuring a “Biggest Geek” contest, hourly door prizes, and a free comic with admission. Special appearance by the 501st Legion Star Wars re-enactors, featuring storm troopers and other costumers. $2 admission, 8 and under free. www. or (336) 877-2985. Oct. 10 — 3:30 p.m. — Appalachian vs. N.C. Central (homecoming game) at Appalachian State University. Oct. 10 — 1 p.m., Lees-McRae College women’s volleyball, home. Oct. 10-11 — Oktoberfest — Visit Sugar Mountain Resort for the 18th annual Oktoberfest celebration. Fall foliage, scenic lift rides, crafts, children’s fun center, oom pah band, Bavarian cuisine and Bavarian beverages. Admission is free and parking is convenient. Rain or shine, the festival will go on. For additional information, or if you are interested in volunteering, call Sugar Mountain Resort’s administrative office at (828) 898-4521 or visit Oct. 10 — Mountain Home Music concert at 8 p.m. at the Blowing Rock School auditorium. Classical and Celtic music played by one of the region’s premier groups.

mance at Appalachian State University. Oct. 16-17 — Pumpkin Festival in downtown Mountain City, Tenn.

Oct. 17 — Cinderella Preliminary Pageant — The fourth Western North Carolina Cinderella Preliminary Pageant will be held at Harris Middle School in Spruce Pine on Saturday, Oct. 17. The pageant is a preliminary to the North Carolina Cinderella Scholarship Pageant in June. Girls from infant to age 26 are invited to participate. Girls from anywhere in North Carolina are eligible to enter. No previous pageant experience is necessary. Boys ages infant to 6 years old can enter the Prince Charming division. Applications can be received by e-mailing or by calling pageant directors Patti Jensen at 828-467-0173 or Ciji Boone Dellinger at 828-284-2541. Contestants can enter and receive a discount if application is received by Aug. 31. Final deadline for applications is Sept. 30. Visit the North Carolina Cinderella State Web site at for more information. Oct. 17 — 3 p.m. — Appalachian vs. Wofford in Spartanburg, S.C.

Oct. 17 — 31st annual Valle Country Fair, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Location: Valle Crucis Conference Center in Valle Crucis. Phone 828-936-4609. Juried craft booths, freshly pressed apple cider, hot-out-of-the-kettle apple butter, homemade jams and jellies, Brunswick stew, chili, barbecue and more. Started by a small church as a small fundraiser, it has grown into an annual happening that attracts thousands and raised more than $45,000 for local charities in 2006. Free admission, $5 onsite parking.

Oct. 17-18 — 32nd annual Woolly Worm Festival, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Banner Elk Elementary School. Named one of the top 10 fall festivals in North America by the Society of American Travel Writers. Crafts, food, mountain music and the world famous caterpillar races to determine which one woolly worm will have the honor of predicting the winter weather forecast. Cost is $5 for adults and $2 for kids 6-12. Children 5 and under are fee. No pets. Call 828-898-5605.

Oct. 17 —Woolly Worm Woad Wace, 10 a.m, begins at Avery High School. The Woolly Worm Woad Wace is a 10-mile foot race that takes place on the Saturday morning of the Woolly Worm Festival (always the third weekend in October). The course takes runners through through Newland (the highest county seat in the eastern U.S.) and across Hickory Nut Gap at the peak of the autumn foliage season in Banner Elk. Traveling across both paved and graveled roads, the route includes a short mountain trail. All participants receive the official race T-shirt, and access to post race refreshment area. Prizes are awarded to top male and female runner and to the top three finishers in each division. The entry fee is $25 in advance and $30 on the day of the race. (Entry fees are non-transferable and non-refundable.) The Woolly Worm Woad Wace is sponsored by the Avery Banner Elk Chamber of Commerce and the YMCA of Avery County. For more information, call 828-898-5605.

Oct. 17 — Mountain Home Music concert at 8 p.m. at Blowing Rock School auditorium. Featured will be “Bluegrass Generations.”

Oct. 10 — Annual Todd New River Festival. Varying times. Location: Todd. It features local crafts, mountain music, food and fun for all. For more information, visit

Oct. 18 — 3 p.m. — Community Band performance at Appalachian State University.

Oct. 10 — Festival of the Frescoes from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. at Glendale Springs Holy Trinity Church in Ashe County. Phone 336-982-3076.

Oct. 18 — 8 p.m. — Trumpet Quartet performance at Appalachian State University.

Oct. 10 — Running of the Knob, Howard’s Knob in Boone that is, 8 a.m. Route starts at Watauga Library. The route will start at Watauga Library and run the first mile in beautiful downtown Boone before heading up The Knob. Call 828-355-5821 for more information.

Oct. 20 — 7 p.m. — Lees-McRae College women’s volleyball, home.

Oct. 11 — 2 p.m. — Wind Ensemble performance at Appalachian State University. Oct. 12-16 — Cheap Joe’s Art Studio workshop — John Salminen - From abstraction to realism through design. Want to take an art vacation? Sign up for one of Cheap Joe’s weeklong art instruction workshops. Workshops available through October. Call 800-227-2788 for more information.

Oct. 5 — 7:30 p.m. — Lees-McRae College men’s basketball, home. Oct. 5-9 —Cheap Joe’s Art Studio workshop —Pat Weaver - water-


Oct. 21 — 8 p.m. — Appalachian Concert Band performance at Appalachian State University. Oct 22 — Martha Graham Dance Company performance at Appalachian State University as part of its Performing Arts Series.

Oct. 22-24 — Haunted Horn Ghost Trail at Horn in the West in Boone. (Dates subject to change with any ASU football playoff schedule - please call to confirm). Call 828-264-2120 for more information. Oct. 23 — 3 p.m. — Appalachian vs. Georgia Southern (Black Satur-

Oct. 13 — 1 p.m., Lees-McRae College women’s soccer, home. Oct. 13 — 8 p.m. — Appalachian Symphony Orchestra perfor-


The Mountain Times Autumn Guide


CALENDAR day) at Appalachian State University.



Nov. 3 — 8 p.m. — Faculty recital series “Songs of Travel” at Appalachian State University.

Oct. 24 — 6:30 p.m. — Lees-McRae College men’s soccer, home. Oct. 24 — Valle Crucis Punkin Festival — 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. A kidfriendly festival featuring no-mess punkin carving, old-fashioned games, crafts, and music. Held on the grounds of the Mast Store Annex, the Punkin Festival is in its fourth year and is a fundraiser for the Western Youth Network. Punkin, you may ask. Well, of course, because it’s more fun than pumpkin. For more information, call 828963-6511. Oct. 26 — 8 p.m. — Woodwind Chamber Ensembles performances at Appalachian State University. Oct. 26-30 — Cheap Joe’s Art Studio workshop — Catherine “Bonnie” Jones — Easy approach to creative watercolor. Want to take an art vacation? Sign up for one of Cheap Joe’s weeklong art instruction. Call 800-227-2788 for details. Oct. 27 — 8 p.m. — Flute Ensemble performance at Appalachian State University. Oct. 27-29 — Boone Mall Christmas Show — Thanksgiving weekend. Call 828-264-7286 for details.

Nov. 4 — 7:30- 9 p.m. — Poet Paula Meehan at Belk Library, room 114, at Appalachian State University. Nov. 4-7 — Freshman Showcase at Appalachian State University. Nov. 5 — 8 p.m. — Percussion Ensemble performance at Appalachian State University. Nov. 6 — 8:30 a.m.-1 p.m. — Carole Moore McLeod Entrepreneur Summit at ASU College of Business. Nov. 6 — 8 p.m. — Chamber and University Singers performance at Appalachian State University. Nov. 6 — Downtown Boone Art Crawl — 5 p.m. until 2 a.m., downtown Boone. Hosted every first Friday of the month, Boone’s Art Crawl is an opportunity to enjoy a celebration of art and community, along with refreshments. Later in the evening, Art Crawl presents a music series showcasing a different band each month. The nightlife continues through 2 a.m. The Downtown Boone Art Crawl lasts from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m., though shops typically close at 7:30 p.m. The monthly event is sponsored by the Downtown Boone Development Association Public Art Program. Call 828-262-4532 for details.

Oct. 27 — 5 p.m. — Lees-McRae College men’s soccer, home. Oct. 28-31 — Haunted Horn Ghost Trail at Horn in the West in Boone. (Dates subject to change with any ASU football playoff schedule - please call to confirm). Call 828-264-2120 for more information. Oct. 28 — 7 p.m. — “Still Life with Iris” presentation at Appalachian State University; at 8 p.m., a Collegium Musicum.

Nov. 7 — 3:30 p.m. —Appalachian vs. Chattanooga, football, (Education Day) at Appalachian State University. Nov. 8 — 4 p.m. — Blazing Bassoons peformance at Appalachian State University. Nov. 12 — 8 p.m. — Jazz Ensemble II performance at Appalachian State University.

Oct. 28 — 7 p.m. — Lees-McRae College women’s soccer, home. Oct. 29- Nov. 1 — 7 p.m. — “Still Life with Iris” presentation at Appalachian State University. Oct. 30 — 7 p.m. — Lees-McRae College women’s volleyball, home. Oct. 31 —Appalachian vs. Furman, football, in Greenville, S.C. Oct. 31 — 8 p.m. — Halloween Monster Concert at Appalachian State University. Oct. 31 — 2 p.m. — Lees-McRae College women’s volleyball, home. Oct. 31 — Blowing Rock Halloween Festival in downtown Blowing Rock. Phone 828-295-5222. Fun and games, plus the Monster March.

November Starting in November — Choose & Cut Festival begins at various farms — Hike through rows of perfect Fraser firs to find your favorite holiday specimen. Package deals with select hotels. There are also holiday events at local restaurants and shops. Call 828-264-3061 for details. Nov. 3 — Lees-McRae College women’s volleyball, home.

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Nov. 12-14 — 7 p.m. — N.C. Dance Festival at Appalachian State University. Nov. 13 — 3 p.m. — Appalachian State vs. Elon, football in Elon, N.C. Nov. 13 — 8 p.m. — Men’s Glee Club performance at Appalachian State University. Nov. 15 —Beech Mountain Sledding Hill opens and continues through the winter season at the Beech Mountain Town Hall. Weather permitting, the sledding hill is open, with machine-made snow always available. Reserved for younger children please. Call to confirm dates and conditions. Call 898-387-9283. Nov. 19 — 7:30-9 p.m. — Poet Frank Walker appearance at Table Rock Room in the Plemmons Student Union at Appalachian State University. Nov. 19 — MOMIX presentation as part of the Appalachian State University’s Performing Arts Series. Nov. 20-22 — 8 p.m. — Opera Scenes at Appalachian State University. Nov. 21 — 3:30 p.m. — Appalachian State vs. Western Carolina, football, at Appalachian State University. Nov. 21 — Holiday parade in downtown West Jefferson at 2 p.m. It’s an annual event featuring Santa Claus and plenty of hometown and homemade floats. Phone the Ashe County Chamber of Commerce, 336-846-9550. Nov. 21 — Tellabration Storytelling Celebration, Watauga County Library, Queen St., Boone. An international weekend celebration of storytelling called Tellabration will take place in communities all over the world this weekend, including the Watauga County Library in Boone. Local storytellers of national acclaim will tell stories suitable for people of all ages in the library meeting room midafternoon. There will also be an evening Liars’ Competition, location TBD. The event is sponsored by the Watauga Arts Council. Call 828-264-1789

for details.

Nov. 21 and Nov. 28 — Holiday markets from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Ashe County Farmers Market on the Back Street. The Ashe County Farmers Market re-opens just in time for the holidays. Local produce, greenery plants and arts and crafts, plus homemade treats.For more information, visit the Web at

Nov. 21-22 — Christmas on Apple Hill Farm, 9 a.m.- 5p.m. (in the case of snow or ice, call to confirm times at 828-963-1662), located off N.C. 194, between Valle Crucis and Banner Elk. “Join us this Christmas season as we celebrate Christmas on Apple Hill Farm. Come tour the farm, choose a Christmas tree, purchase a custom designed wreath, and shop for unique gifts at the Apple Hill Farm Store,” a spokesperson said. What Fir! Tree Farm (2005 Small Farm of the Year) will be bringing fresh cut Frasier fir trees and their wreath makers to the farm. Have your wreath(s) decorated to order while you tour the farm. Every barn on the farm will be decorated with wreaths, and the animals will showcase their own stockings. Tour fee is $5 for adults and $3 for children under 10 (under 3, free). Open by appointment on other days. Call 828-963-1662 for details.

Nov. 22 – 8 p.m. — Concert-Aria Finalist’s Recital at Appalachian State University.

Nov. 23 — 8 p.m. — Student Composers Recital at Appalachian State University.

Nov. 23 — TreeFest —Ongoing at the Ashe Arts Center. Beautifully decorated trees with hand-crafted ornaments, holiday crafts, gift items and miniature paintings and photography. On Dec. 6, there will be a holiday open house and reception for artists. Phone the Ashe County Arts Council at 336-846-2787; or e-mail

Nov. 27 — Christmas in the Park and Lighting of the Town. Location: Downtown Blowing Rock. Phone 828-295-5222. Join Blowing Rock for visits with Santa, caroling in the park, hot chocolate, and the ceremonial lighting of the town. Nov. 27-Dec. 13 — Choose & Cut Season — Ongoing throughout Ashe County. Local Christmas tree farms and nurseries are open for family selection of Christmas trees and wreaths, plus roping. For more information, visit the Web at

Nov. 27 — Second annual Hometown Christmas at 5 p.m. at West Jefferson’s Back Street Park. Downtown West Jefferson’s Back Street Park becomes a hub for Christmas merriment with the lighting of the official Ashe County tree, along with carols, cider and a visit from Santa Claus on an antique fire engine. For more information, visit the Ashe County Chamber of Commerce Web site at

Nov. 27-29 — Christmas Show at Boone Mall — Artists from all over the country come to the mall to showcase their handmade work. Show hours Friday and Saturday are 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday 12:30 to 5:30 p.m. For more information, call 828-864-7286 or e-mail

Nov. 28 — Annual Thanksgiving kiln opening at 9 a.m. at Traditions Pottery Studio. Phone 828-295-5099. Be present at 9 a.m. to watch studio personnel unload the wood kiln, and then make your pottery selection.

Nov. 28 — Blowing Rock Christmas parade at 2 p.m. on Main Street in Blowing Rock. Phone 828-295-5222.

Nov. 28 — West Jefferson Holiday Market, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., downtown West Jefferson. Ashe County Farmers Market re-opens just in time for the holidays. Local produce, greenery plants and arts and crafts plus homemade treats. Call 336-846-9550 for details. Nov. 28 — Mountain Home Music concert at 8 p.m. Location TBA. The concert is the “Community Christmas Tree.”

Nov. 30 — 6 p.m. — Lees-McRae College women’s basketball, home. Nov. 30 — 8 p.m. — Brass Ensembles performance at ASU.

The Mountain Times Autumn Guide

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iNDEX of ADVERTISERS 1881 General Store.......................................32 4 Seasons Vacation........................................37 87 Ruffin Street.............................................22 A Action Cycle Sports......................................98 Adams Lumber and Hardware......................69 Alpen Restaurant......................................... 117 Alta Vista Gallery.........................................31 Animal Emergency Clinic of the High Country...... 122 Animal Hospital of Boone..........................122 Antiques On Howard....................................63 Appalachian Furniture..................................30 Appalachian Regional Healthcare System......... 36 Artwalk.........................................................62 Ashe Chamber of Commerce........................59 Ashe County Arts Council............................59 Ashe Custom Framing & Gallery.................58 Ashe Valley Produce.....................................59 ASU Camp Broadstone.................................53 ASU Office of Cultural Affairs.....................93 ASU Turchin Center................................62,93 Avery Animal Hospital...............................122 B Baird House Bed and Breakfast....................53 Bandana’s Inc..................................................7 Banner Elk Cafe.......................................... 117 Banner Elk Inn..............................................98 Banner Elk Tourism......................................72 Banner Elk Winery........................................14 Bead Box/Grateful Grounds.........................62 Beladonna Full Service Hair Salon...............61 Beltone Hearing Care Centers....................106 Bennette Rowan Portraits...........................122 Benchmark 1 Realty......................................82 Blowing Rock Attraction.............................. 11 Blowing Rock Chamber of Commerce.........66 Blowing Rock Grille................................... 114 Blowing Rock Properties, Inc.......................66 Blowing Rock Realty....................................66 Blue Ridge Golf Car & Utility Vehicles Inc......... 12 Bolick & Traditions Pottery..........................66 Boone Mall....................................................43 Bouquet Florist.............................................70 Broyhill Civic Center....................................20 Broyhill Home Collections...........................67 C Canyons Restaurant.................................... 114 Cardinal Lanes..............................................58

Carlton Gallery..............................................97 Carolina Mountain Properties.......................58 Casa Rustica Restaurant of Boone.............. 116 Chai-Da Thai.................................................63 Char Restaurant.............................................63 Chillin Couture.............................................58 Christmas in Blowing Rock..........................67 Closet Design Center....................................58 CNL Real Estate..........................................125 Comeaux, Ray...............................................83 Cook’s Inc.....................................................39 Crossnore Gallery.........................................23 Cruise One....................................................99 Custom Mica and Wood Products, Inc..........88 Cycle For Life Bike Shop.............................51 D Daniel Boone Farmhouse Furniture..............82 de Provence et d’ailleurs...............................66 Dereka’s Sugar Mountain Accomodations Center & Realty, Inc.....................................71 Dewoolfson Down......................................132 Doe Ridge Pottery....................................44,62 Dos Amigos.................................................120 Dutch Creek Trail..........................................53

H Hampton Inn...............................................130 Hawksnest.....................................................17 Headwaters at Banner Elk.............................54 Heartwood Properties....................................83 Heritage Hall.................................................82 Hickory Fireplace and Patio..........................48 Hickory Furniture Mart.................................94 Hidden Valley Antiques................................99 High Country Realty.......................................3 High Country Stone......................................42 High South Realty of NC.......................58,107 Hilltop Drive In........................................... 116 Home Theatre Design Group........................91 Honey Bear Campground.............................18 Honeycutt, Kitty............................................58 Hunan Chinese Restaurant.......................... 116 Hunter’s Tree Service...................................98 I Incredible Toy Company...............................22 Inn at Crestwood...........................................95 Inn at Little Pond Farm.................................53 Invisible Fence of the High Country...........122 Iron Mountain Inn.........................................83



Erick’s Cheese and Wine............................ 117

J.W. Tweeds.............................................44,88 Jackalope’s View Restaurant....................... 117 Jake’s at the Rock.....................................18,67 Jim’s Corner Furniture..................................15 Joe’s Italian Kitchen.................................... 115 Joines, Greene, and James, P.L.L.C..............60

F Fish Tales......................................................83 Fishel’s Pies..................................................37 Footsloggers..................................................13 Fortner Insurance Agency, Inc......................74 Foscoe Fishing Company..............................13 Foscoe Motor Sports.....................................97 Framing by Lori............................................70 Frasers Restaurant and Pub...........................59 Fred’s General Mercantile.............................87 Frog and Butterfly.........................................61 G Gadabouts/ Valle Cafe...................................53 Gem Valley......................................................7 Gems by Gemini......................................35,66 Gladiola Girls................................................62 Golden Corral.............................................. 115 Goldenrod Gardens.......................................28 Green Mother Goods.....................................62 Gregory Alan’s..............................................28

K Kincaid Furniture........................................ 119 Kojay’s Cafe..................................................67 L Lacey Realty.................................................74 Lakeshore Marina.........................................38 Laura’s Yarn Tastic........................................31 Lazy Bear Lodge...........................................53 Libby’s..........................................................59 Linville Caverns............................................16 Logs America, LLC......................................48 Lucky Penny.................................................62

The Mountain Times Autumn Guide


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iNDEX of ADVERTISERS M Magic Cycles................................................62 Main Street Discount....................................51 Makoto’s..................................................... 115 Maple’s Leather Fine Furniture....................99 Marathon Chiropractic..................................63 Mast General Store...............................2,53,62 Matthew’s 102 North....................................59 McDonald’s of Boone................................. 115 McNeil Furniture..........................................59 Mellow Mushroom in Blowing Rock...........66 Modern Toyota — Scion...............................21 Mountain Bagels.........................................101 Mountain Aire Golf Club..............................10 Mountain City Antiques and Collectibles.....82 Mountain City Mercantile.............................82 Mountain Home and Hearth.....................22,47 Mountain Jewelers........................................74 Mountain Outfitters.......................................12 Mountain Sotheby’s International Realty.......131 Mountainside Lodge.....................................53 Mountaintop Golf Cars Inc...........................16 My Mountain Dream House.........................60 Mystery Hill..................................................45 N NCSAA.........................................................17 Neaco............................................................66 New Image Weight Loss.............................101 New River Winery......................................120 O Old Hampton Store.......................................37 P Pamper Me Too...........................................122 Parker Tie Co................................................58 Parkway Craft Center....................................55 Peak Mountain Properties.............................59 Pepper’s Restaurant......................................70 Pet Heaven..................................................122 Petstyle Salon..............................................122 Piedmont Craftsmen Fair..............................97 Play It Again Sports......................................63 Pleasant Papers..............................................35 Primo’s Pizza and Pasta..............................120 Prospect Hill..................................................83 Pssghetti’s Restaurant................................. 114

R RAM’s Rack Thrift Shop..............................63 River and Earth Adventures..........................53 Rock Dimensions..........................................63 S Sage Sport.....................................................10 Sassy Kats.....................................................83 Sears of Boone..............................................23 Sears of West Jefferson.................................59 Serenity Day Spa...........................................71 Seven Devils.....................................................88 Shatley Springs Jewelry and Gifts Uptown......59 Shirley’s Home Cooking...............................83 Shoppes at Tynecastle...................................79 Sister Act.......................................................66 Six Pence Pub............................................. 113 Skyline Telephone.........................................42 Sledgehammer Charlie’s Smokehouse and Grill......66 Strawberry Camp at Sunalei Preserve.............9 Stone Mountain Log Homes.........................82 Stonewall’s..................................................106 Suba’s Restaurant..........................................82 Sugar Mountain Resort.................................36 Sugar Mountain Resort Accomodations.......71 Sugar Mountain Lodging..............................71 Sugar Top Resort Sales.................................71 T Tanner Outlet................................................70 Tatum Galleries.............................................92 Taylor House Inn......................................29,53 The Barn........................................................87 The Blowing Rocket.....................................67 The Cabin Store............................................26 The Dancing Moon.......................................62 The Fabric Shoppe........................................70 The Gamekeeper Restaurant.......................120 The Harkins Agency.....................................70 The Impecable Pooch..................................122 The Jean Pool................................................63 The Kind Grind.............................................23 The Knoll Interior.........................................29 The Linville Gallery......................................91 The Looking Glass........................................62 The Lucky Strikes.........................................92 The Mast Farm Inn...................................27,53 The Mustard Seed.........................................18 The Pet Place..........................................70,122 The UPS Store No. 58...................................58

The Vistas at Banner Elk...............................78 The Woodlands BBQ.................................. 114 Tommy White Photo.....................................97 Tri-State Growers..........................................82 Tributary Restaurant.....................................83 Tucker’s Cafe.............................................. 116 Turtle Old Man..............................................55 Tweetsie Railroad..........................................89 U Unwound Yarn..............................................29 V Valle Crucis Bed and Breakfast....................53 Valle Crucis Conference Center....................53 Valle Crucis Farm.........................................53 Valle Crucis Log Cabin Rental and Sales...... 33,53 Vilas Village Trading Post............................47 Village Real Estate........................................66 W Watauga Lake Real Estate.............................83 Western Jefferson..........................................58 Westglow Spa..............................................100 Wounded Warrior..........................................43 Y Z

Sugarloaf View. Photo by Rob Moore

PAGE 130

The Mountain Times Autumn Guide


Autumn Times 2009  

The 2009 Edition of Mountain Times Publications' Autumn Times

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