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BERNHARDT FACTORY OUTLET 4916 Hickory Blvd, Granite Falls, NC 28630 828.313.0795 · Hours: Tues – Sat 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.

KINCAID FACTORY OUTLET 4930 Hickory Blvd, Granite Falls, NC 28630 828.496.2262 • Hours: Mon – Sat 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. · Sun 1 p.m. – 5 p.m.




Table of Contents Numbers of Note ........................................................................................... 5 High Country Chambers of Commerce ........................................................ 6 High Country Host ....................................................................................... 8 Our Towns .................................................................................................. 13 General Stores ............................................................................................ 20 Leaf Looking ............................................................................................... 22 Christmas Trees .......................................................................................... 24 Halloween ................................................................................................... 24 Festivals ...................................................................................................... 30 Olde Time Antiques Fair ............................................................................ 33 Blue Ridge Parkway .................................................................................... 33 Grandfather Mountain ............................................................................... 36 Motorcycling ............................................................................................... 38 Horseback Riding ...................................................................................... 40 Hunting ....................................................................................................... 44 Fishing ........................................................................................................ 49 Camping with Pets ...................................................................................... 55 Camping ...................................................................................................... 56 Indoor Climbing ......................................................................................... 57 Outdoor Climbing ...................................................................................... 60 Ghost Train ................................................................................................. 61 Tweetsie ...................................................................................................... 62 Mountain Biking ......................................................................................... 67 Cycling ........................................................................................................ 67 Zipline ......................................................................................................... 68 Hiking ......................................................................................................... 72 Water Adventures ....................................................................................... 73 Golf ............................................................................................................. 74 Disc Golf .................................................................................................... 80 Parks and Rec ............................................................................................. 81 Watauga Athletics ...................................................................................... 84 Appalachian State Athletics ....................................................................... 85 Tailgating .................................................................................................... 86 Art Galleries ............................................................................................... 88 Schaefer Center for the Performing Arts ................................................... 94 Frescoes ...................................................................................................... 96 Linville Caverns .......................................................................................... 97 Restaurants ............................................................................................... 101 Mystery Hill .............................................................................................. 109 Breweries .................................................................................................. 110 Wineries ..................................................................................................... 112 Advertisers Index ...................................................................................... 113


Changing of the Guard Leaves are changing and the cycle of life continues with the colors of autumn. The High Country is a destination for many to view these spectacular scenes.





2017 Autumn Times Staff Gene Fowler Jr. Publisher Charlie Price Advertising Director

in the Mountains

Tom Mayer Editor

Numbers of Note West Jefferson Police (336) 246-9410

Avery County

Law Enforcement Watauga County Watauga County Sheriff’s Office (828) 264-3761 Boone Police Department (828) 268-6900 Blowing Rock Police (828) 295-5210 Appalachian Regional Healthcare System Police (828) 262-4168 Appalachian State Police (828) 262-2150

Ashe County Ashe County Sheriff’s Office (336) 846-5633 Jefferson Police (336) 846-5529

Cannon Memorial Hospital (Linville) (828) 737-7000

Rob Moore Production Chief Johnny Hayes, Emily Jones, Troy Brooks and Jason Balduf Layout Artists

Avery County Sheriff’s Office (828) 733-2071

Ashe Memorial Hospital (Jefferson) (336) 846-7101

Emily Robb Production Specialist

Banner Elk Police (828) 898-4300

FastMed Urgent Care (Boone) (828) 265-7146

Elk Park Police Department (828) 733-9573

AppUrgent Care (Boone) (828) 265-5505

Andy Gainey Circulation Manager

Newland Police Department (828) 733-2023

Blowing Rock Hospital (828) 295-3136

Seven Devils Police Department (828) 963-6760

Animal Control

Sugar Mountain Police (828) 898-4349 Beech Mountain Police (828) 387-2342

Health Care Watauga Medical Center (Boone) (828) 262-4100

Watauga County Animal Control (828) 262-1672 Watauga Humane Society (Boone) (828) 264-7865 Animal Emergency & Pet Care Clinic of the High Country (Boone) (828) 268-2833

Steve Behr, Brian Miller, Jeff Eason, Anna Oakes, Jamie Shell, Matt Debnam Kayla Lasure, Troy Brooks, Thomas Sherrill and Colin Tate Writers Mark Mitchell Sales Meleah Bryan Creative Services Director Kristin Obiso and Brandon Carini Creative Services




Welcome to the High Country Your autumnal destination


elcome to autumn in the High Country. The fall season in Western North Carolina is unlike anywhere else in the Old North State. Even the term “magical” can be aptly applied — after all, where else can you plan both a walk down the yellow brick road and a visit to Oz (see Autumn in Oz, page 30)? Of course, many visitors during this time of the year make the region their destination for the simple pleasure of looking, as in leaf-looking. Nowhere are autumnal colors more vibrant than in the High Country. But, don’t take our word

for it. We have the science to back it up (see Leaf-looking, page 22). Now, couple those breath-taking views and otherworldly experiences with the down-home hospitality of our towns and townspeople (see Towns, page 13), our overnight offerings, culinary enticements and hundreds of thousands of acres of activities indoor and out (see Everything, pages 1-116), and you have the makings of a perfect fall vacation. Welcome to autumn. Welcome to the High Country. Tom Mayer, editor, Autumn Times

High Country Chambers of Commerce ASHE COUNTY CHAMBER OF COMMERCE



The Ashe County Chamber of Commerce can direct travelers through the scenic and sparsely populated area of Christmas tree farms and rugged mountain landscapes, while offering a wide selection of brochures and maps.

Located in the heart of town, the Banner Elk Chamber of Commerce promotes the area as a unique place to live in, work and visit. Information on area lodging, dining, shopping and more is available Monday through Saturday, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., and all the time by visiting

Blowing Rock is considered one of the crown jewels of the Blue Ridge. Aside from general information, lists of camping and fishing sites and brochures, the Blowing Rock Chamber of Commerce also has a generous stock of menus from the town’s many eateries.

1 N. Jefferson Ave., Suite C West Jefferson, NC 28694 (888) 343-2743

100 W. Main St. Banner Elk, NC 28604 (828) 898-8395

AVERY COUNTY CHAMBER OF COMMERCE The Avery County Chamber of Commerce Visitor Center is conveniently located in the Shoppes at Tynecastle at the intersection of N.C. 105 and N.C. 184. The center offers information on lodging, dining, attractions, shopping and other businesses in Avery County. 4501 Tynecastle Highway, No. 2 Banner Elk, NC 28604 (828) 898-5605

132 Park Ave. Blowing Rock, NC 28605 (828) 295-7851

BOONE AREA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE BEECH MOUNTAIN CHAMBER OF COMMERCE Beech Mountain, at an elevation of 5,506 feet, offers plenty of activities and attractions for the whole family to enjoy, but also plenty of peace and quiet for a relaxing and rejuvenating time. The Beech Mountain Chamber of Commerce, open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday, is here to help. 403-A Beech Mountain Parkway Beech Mountain, NC 28604 (828) 387-9283

The Boone Area Chamber of Commerce is one of the High Country’s most active, with both a dedicated membership and an overall commitment to the betterment of the area as both a vacation destination and business hub. The chamber is an ideal place to stop for information on area activities, brochures and maps of the community. 870 W. King St., Suite A Boone, NC 28607 (828) 264-2225






Offering: Durable Medical Equipment • CPap Supplies Oxygen • Respiratory Services • Flu Shots Visit One of Our Locations Today! Watauga: Boone Drug and Healthcare at Deerfield Boone Drug at Greenway • Boone Drug at King St Boone Drug at New Market • Village Pharmacy

Avery: Avery Pharmacy • Crossnore Drug

Check us out online at

Ashe: Warrensville Drug




High Country Host BY KAYLA LASURE


or those visiting the High Country for the summer and wanting to know the happenings of the area, High Country Host is your one-stop tour guide. High Country Host is open seven days a week and provides information about Alleghany, Ashe, Avery, Wilkes and Watauga counties. “We have information on all of the counties in one place,” said Candice Cook, High Country Host Marketing Director. “You don’t have to visit the area chambers in each county you go to. You can come here and get information on all of those counties.” The center provides information on hiking, outdoor parks, attractions and outdoor recreation on each of the five counties. “Most of the people that work here have hiked all of the trails in the area,” Cook said. “We’re pretty knowledgeable when it comes to outdoor activities here in the High Country.” Those looking for lodging in the area can also find information at High Country Host. Cook said Host staff will know of any lodging specials in the area and can assist visitors in finding lodging if most places seem to be booked. Each week, High Country Host produces a handout with a two-week schedule of events for each county. Visitors can additionally find official town guides and maps of each county. While visitors can find all of the information High Country Host provides on its website, Cook said it’s valuable to come in and visit the center. “Especially in the High Country, it’s important to get maps and some print materials because there’s a lot of places around here where cell services don’t work,” Cook said. “A lot of people find that out the hard way and end up having to come in and get their paper maps and books with information in them because they can’t pull it up on their phone.”

Before visiting the area, people are able to call the Host and request a regional visitors guide to be mailed to them to find out information before arriving.

The Host averages 15,000 visitors each year, Cook said. People from all over the world such as from Australia, New Zealand, England and Canada have called the

Host seeking information about the High Country. “Most everyone that comes in here are very excited and happy to be here because they’re on vacation and have always wanted to come to the mountains,” Cook said. “Every day is pretty happy here at the Host.” As of September 2016, High Country Host is located in between Boone and Blowing Rock and housed in the same building as Appalachian Ski Mountain Gift Shop. For more information on High Country Host, call (800) 438-7500 or visit







Grandfather Center NC 105 & NC 184, next to the ABC store Banner Elk, NC / 828.898.9424

Classic Surroundings, Modern Amenities

Let Us Host Your Next Special Event! Patio Dining Available 828.414.9230


Chestnut Grille

Divide Tavern

9239 Valley Blvd Blowing Rock, NC 28605


ESTD. 1882










Our towns in the High Country

elcome to your High Country autumn! Sure, there’s leaf-looking, but it’s much more than that. A trip to the Blue Ridge Mountains is a veritable getaway, an escape to nature that area residents are lucky enough to call home. The towns and communities that make up the High Country are diverse and quaint, vibrant and picturesque, offering visitors amenities aplenty, from dining, lodging and shopping to top-notch entertainment and nightlife.

Watauga County BOONE No matter what activity draws you to the High Country, it’s likely that you’ll end up in Boone at some point during your visit. Boone is the hub of Watauga County, the gathering place for people from all walks of life, whether resident or visitor, student or retiree, socialite or seeker of peace and quiet. The town is home to Appalachian State University, one of the 17 colleges and universities that makes up the University of North Carolina system and draws about 18,000 students. Interest in the school boomed after the Mountaineers’ football team won three consecutive NCAA Division I national championships in 2005, 2006 and 2007. The university’s presence helps create a young and friendly vibe throughout the town. Just make sure not to cross anyone by mispronouncing the name: It’s “App-uh-latch-un.” Adjacent to the university is King Street and the surrounding area, one of the town’s best shopping destinations. One-of-a-kind stores and eclectic boutiques dot the landscape, interspersed with legal offices and a diversity


PHOTO BY ROB MOORE The town of Boone dates back to about 1800, when Jordan Councill opened a store on what is now King Street. This typical small town, as seen from Howard Knob, has grown over the years and is a great destination for shoppers and tourists.

of restaurants to suit almost any taste. Departing from downtown, retail chains, big-box stores and other shopping areas ensure that residents and visitors lack nothing in the way of modern conveniences. But, Boone has an eye on its past, too. Named for legendary pioneer and explorer Daniel Boone, the town dates back to about 1800, when Jordan Councill opened a store on what is now King Street. In 1820, he opened a post office, and other homes and stores began to spring up nearby. When Watauga County was created in 1849, Boone was picked as the county seat. It remained a typical small town until the university began to grow in the 1960s. A relic of Boone’s storied past, the historic Jones House Community Center is located right on King Street. The house was built in 1908 and was given to the town in the early 1980s.

Today, the home is a go-to source for art and community functions. Boone is a town where old and new mix, and visitors are made to feel like part of the family. For more information, visit

BLOWING ROCK Blowing Rock manages to cram a ton of beauty and fun into just three square miles. The town’s name comes from an immense cliff overlooking Johns River Gorge, where the winds whip in such a way that light objects thrown over the rock float back to their owners. Anyone wishing to experience the phenomenon firsthand can visit The Blowing Rock attraction, which showcases the town’s namesake and the Native American legend that surrounds it. For another dose of history, visit the renovated and restored Green Park Inn, a site on the National Register of Historic

Places that has been a hotel since 1882. After closing due to age and the recession in May 2009, the building was purchased a year later and immediately underwent a complete overhaul. While clinging to the small-town charm and Southern graciousness of its past, Blowing Rock also includes nearly 20 hotels and inns and more than 100 shops. Find a place to park early in the morning and spend the rest of the day on foot, exploring the shops and parks of downtown. Clothing, antiques, home furnishings, mementos and delicious treats will fill your shopping bags and stomach as you examine the town’s treasures. Make sure to visit Tanger Shoppes on the Parkway on U.S. 321 to find name-brand items at outlet prices. The benches in Memorial Park at the center of Main Street make the perfect spot to settle down with a drink or snack and watch the world go by. The less-traveled Broyhill Park down Laurel Lane paints the perfect summer scene, complete with a shady gazebo and glistening pond. The trails surrounding Moses Cone Memorial Park and Bass Lake offer another scenic stroll. There’s also the Blowing Rock Art and History Museum in downtown, where you can experience art and discover history. The museum features year-round exhibits, cultural programs, art workshops, lectures and more. The picturesque town of Blowing Rock is the perfect place to have an active summer vacation — or to relax and do nothing at all. For more information, visit

VALLE CRUCIS Just off N.C. 105 south of Boone, Valle Crucis offers simplicity and serenity in a pastoral riverside community. The valley contains the site of the only known Native American village in the SEE TOWNS ON PAGE 14




the attractions at Hawksnest (www. is year-round ziplining. For more information and events at Seven Devils, visit


immediate area. The first European settler of Watauga County, Samuel Hicks, also built a fort in the area during the American Revolution. Today, the community offers several historic inns, restaurants, art galleries, farms and churches that provide service and comfort to all who enter. The Episcopal Church has played a role throughout the community’s history. An Episcopal bishop entered the community in 1842 and provided its name, which is Latin for the “Vale of the Cross.” The Valle Crucis Conference Center, on the National Register of Historic Places, stays busy with retreats for numerous groups, and Crab Orchard Falls is a short hike from the conference center. The original Mast General Store provides a central gathering space in the community, as it has since 1883. Residents appreciate the store for its post office, morning news and coffee, while visitors can also find gifts, apparel and souvenirs. Just down the road is the Mast Store Annex, which opened about 25 years later. Behind the annex is a gravel road to the Valle Crucis Park, a recreational area with walking paths, riverfront, picnic areas, sports fields and live music during the summer. Dining highlights include Simplicity at the Mast Farm Inn, Over Yonder, Valle Crucis Bakery and Café and The Ham Shoppe, which boasts some of the best sandwiches in the High Country. For more information, visit

TODD Todd is a town so nice it’s claimed by both Watauga and Ashe counties. The community’s main drag, Railroad Grade Road, is popular with bicyclists and walking tours, as it winds along with the New River, one of the few in the world that flows north. The Todd General Store was an old-fashioned mercantile that dated back to 1914 and was built in anticipation of the Norfolk and Western “Virginia Creeper” railroad. Todd was the last stop of the route and got much of its supplies from the train. The Todd Mercantile features the work of local artists and crafters, as well as mountain honey and other local goods, while also hosting monthly square and contra dances, with traditional mountain music by local performers. The ever-crafty


Avery County BANNER ELK

PHOTO BY ROB MOORE Valle Crucis Park, located just behind the Mast General Store Annex, offers a recreational playground, walking paths, picnic areas, fishing access, sports fields and plenty of open area to let the kids run.

Elkland Art Center, known for its colorful parades and environmentally conscious puppet shows, offers summer workshops and programs for those with a flair for creativity. The river itself provides plenty to do, from canoeing and kayaking to excellent fishing. Several companies, including RiverGirl Fishing Company and Wahoo’s Adventures, have outposts near Todd to provide gear and instruction for anyone interested in hitting the river. For more information, visit www.

FOSCOE Nestled between Boone and Banner Elk is the unincorporated community of Foscoe. But don’t let its size fool you. The community is brimming with shopping, art, dining and outdoor fun. Shopping includes mementos and more at Bear Creek Traders, treats, snacks and other tail-wagging goodies for your furry friends at Mountain Dog & Friends and the luxurious linens of Dewoolfson Down. If you’re shopping for outdoor fun, cast a line with Foscoe Fishing Company, or pan for gold with the Greater Foscoe Mining Company. Hungry? Sample some home-cooked Southern goodness at the Foscoe Country Corner and Deli. Some of the High Country’s finest gourmet sandwiches and baked goods await at Eat Crow, while burgers, billiards and family fun are on cue at Country Retreat Family Billiards. Foscoe’s also home to one of the views that made Grandfather Mountain famous

— the ridgeline’s iconic profile of an old man reclining.

SEVEN DEVILS From elevations of some 5,200 feet, the town of Seven Devils straddles both Watauga and Avery counties. From many areas in the town, one has views of Grandfather Mountain, as well as Beech Mountain, Sugar Mountain, Rich Mountain and Mount Rogers in Virginia. Seven Devils is just a few minutes from Boone, Blowing Rock, Banner Elk and Valle Crucis and can be found off N.C. 105. One of the smaller towns in the region, Seven Devils began life in the 1960s as the Seven Devils Resort, and, in 1979, the resort became incorporated as the town. How did it get its name? According to the Seven Devils website, “The founders wanted a catchy, unique name that would bring attention to the mountain. They noticed the repeated appearance of the number seven, including the seven predominant rocky peaks surrounding Valley Creek, as well as the many coincidental references to ‘devils.’ ‘Seven Devils’ seemed to suggest a frivolous, mischievous resort where people could ‘experience the temptation of Seven Devils.” In the 1960s, the town grew with a golf course, ski slope, lake, riding ground and camping area. After the resort venture experience financial trouble, the town was incorporated. While the golf course and ski slope have been closed for a number of years, Hawksnest has become one of the town’s centerpieces. Among

The mountain valley town of Banner Elk has grown from a tiny hamlet to a town offering year-round amenities and memorable vacations for the entire family. Banner Elk is home to Lees-McRae College, a small, private, four-year coeducational liberal arts college affiliated with Presbyterian Church U.S.A., with more than 1,000 students from more than 20 states and countries. The old stone buildings nestled across campus make for a photographer’s delight. The town hosts numerous shops and restaurants and stays abuzz with activities and events. Visitors can picnic or walk in the town park, hear live music, shop, relax by the Mill Pond and stay in one of the inns after dinner in a fine restaurant. Banner Elk is in the heart of the High Country’s many attractions, and just a short drive will take you to numerous natural settings where you can relax and revel in nature’s beauty. Banner Elk also offers many cultural happenings, with a celebrated summer theater program by Lees-McRae and art festivals by some of the area’s many galleries and artisans. Visitors are encouraged to return to Banner Elk each autumn for its annual Woolly Worm Festival, which attracts close to 20,000 people annually. Cutting between the peaks of Sugar Mountain, Beech Mountain and Grandfather Mountain, the topography of the town provides natural definition and gentle undulation through the town’s boundaries. For more information or a calendar of events, call Banner Elk Chamber of Commerce at (828) 8988395, or visit

BEECH MOUNTAIN At 5,506 feet, Beech Mountain is the highest town in Eastern North America. That means even on the hottest day of the summer, it’s cool on top of Beech Mountain. Even when it’s steamy in the “lowlands” of 3,000-plus feet, the temSEE TOWNS ON PAGE 15



perature stays comfortable atop Beech. The rest of the resort seems distant when you settle down on the front porch of a rental condominium 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. Beech Mountain is a four-season resort. There are more than 5,000 beds available on top of the mountain. These range from rustic cabins to mountain chalets to luxury condominiums. When it’s time to eat, you can enjoy anything from a deli sandwich to pizza to a gourmet meal by candlelight. During the days, there are many specialty stores for shopping, horseback riding, tennis, swimming and hiking. There are nearby canoe and raft runs that are among the best offered in the Eastern United States. 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 farmland. And 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. For more information, visit

CROSSNORE Crossnore is a town steeped in educational history. The town is home to Crossnore Academy, founded by Drs. Eustace and Mary Martin Sloop. The Sloops traveled the steep dirt trails in isolated mountain valleys to bring medicine to the people and convince farmers to let their children come to school. Because of poverty and distance, the Sloop school in Crossnore eventually took in boarders and built dormitories to accommodate them. It gained a national reputation for effectiveness in changing lives and in breaking the cycle of poverty, moonshine and child marriages of mountain families. Mary Martin Sloop eventually put these tales to paper in her autobiography, “Miracle in the Hills.” The Sloops built a school, hospital, dental clinic and, eventually, a boarding school to give children the basis for an

THE MOUNTAIN TIMES AUTUMN GUIDE improved life. They brought to Avery County the first electricity, telephone, paved road and boarding school. Through the Sloops’ advocacy, public schools flourished in Avery County. Today, Crossnore Academy carries on the work of the original school and has reclaimed the educational foundation beneath its commitment to give hurting children a chance for a better life. The school’s teachers enable it to meet not only the special needs of Crossnore residents, but also the needs of area students that live at home and whose educational needs are best met at Crossnore. The school is also home to Miracle Grounds Coffee Café & Creamery, a working vocational classroom, featuring specialty coffee drinks, homemade snacks, sandwiches, milkshakes, ice cream, Wi-Fi and more. Crossnore is famous for its Independence Day parade and celebration, and the town’s Meeting House is home to the Crossnore Jam, a series of gatherings and concerts by local musicians on the first and third Friday nights through the summer months. For more information, visit www.

ELK PARK The town of Elk Park borders the state of Tennessee and offers a unique visiting experience. From the old-time feel of Brinkley’s Hardware Store to the additional Lower Street antique shops and classic barbershop, Elk Park takes visitors back to a simpler time. The town’s original thoroughfare, Lower Street, and many businesses originated when Elk Park hosted a train depot for the old East Tennessee and Western North Carolina Railroad. Elk Park thrived due to the industry and remained vibrant after the trains stopped running through town. For more information, call Elk Park Town Hall at (828) 733-9573.

LINVILLE The community of Linville is located just south of the intersection of U.S. 221 and N.C. 105 in Avery County. The community was founded in 1883, designed by Samuel T. Kelsey of Kansas and named for William and John Linville, who were reportedly killed by Cherokees in 1766. East Tennessee and Western North Carolina Railroad passed through the community from 1916 through 1940, when a major flood washed away the SEE TOWNS ON PAGE 16


PHOTO BY ROB MOORE Linville Falls is beautiful in the fall and a must-visit on the bucket list. If a visit is in the future, access the main part of the falls off the Blue Ridge Parkway at Milepost 316 or off NC 183 which runs between NC 181 and US 221.

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PHOTO BY ROB MOORE The changing of seasons in the mountains of North Carolina displays some brilliant colors, but it also signafies a migration for many raptors. Grandfather Mountain is a top viewing spot for ‘Hawk Watch’ which takes place in the months of September and October.

tracks. The old rail route later became N.C. 105 in 1956. Linville has three country clubs in the area: Eseeola, Grandfather Golf and Country Club and Linville Ridge. Eseeola Lodge is also a popular destination for golf and lodging during the summer months. A number of local tourist areas within a short drive share the Linville name, including the Linville River and majestic Linville Falls, Linville Caverns on U.S. 221 and Linville Gorge wilderness area. For visitors considering making Linville a part- or full-time home, they can visit Linville Land Harbor, where units are available for sale or rent in a cozy community featuring its own golf course and amenities. A number of residents reside at Land Harbor part time, while others stay year-round to enjoy the beauty of the area’s four seasons. During the winter months, Linville is only a short drive to nearby ski slopes such as that at Sugar Mountain and snow-tubing destinations. Perhaps the most popular tourist attraction housed in Linville is Grandfather Mountain. Among the newest of North Carolina’s state parks, Grandfather Mountain State Park offers hiking trails and picturesque views during all four seasons, while the Grandfather Mountain attraction offers all of the above, as well as animal habitats, a nature museum and the famous Mile-High Swinging Bridge.

NEWLAND With the highest county seat east of the Mississippi River at 3,589 feet, the town of Newland was incorporated in 1913 as the county seat of the newly formed Avery County. Its original name was “Old Fields of Toe” because it is located in a broad flat valley and is at the headwaters of the Toe River. Newland was a mustering place for Civil War troops. Toe is short for “Estatoe,” an Indian chief’s daughter who drowned herself in the river in despair because she could not marry a brave from another tribe. A town of more than 700 residents, Newland succeeded over three other areas for the honor of county seat. The recently renovated courthouse, originally constructed in 1913, overlooks a classic town square, bordered by shops and churches and complete with a memorial to Avery County veterans.


Adjacent to the courthouse building is the original jail, which has been converted into the Avery County Historical Museum. Exhibits in the museum, which is free to visit, include the original jail cells, numerous artifacts and information about the history of Avery County. During the summer and fall months, visitors can check out the farmers’ market that meets on Saturday mornings outside of Newland Elementary School, and visitors traveling out of town can picnic or hike at Waterfalls Park, a unique recreation spot sponsored by Newland Volunteer Fire Department. Heritage Park hosts events during the summer and is the permanent home for the county’s annual Agriculture and Heritage Fair each September. With a number of restaurants and boutiques downtown, Newland is a prime destination for dining and shopping, or just to stop in on a visit to nearby Roan Mountain or Grandfather Mountain. For more information, visit www.

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-minute roundtrip ride features a spectacular view of the High Country and typically runs from Independence Day weekend to Labor Day weekend. There’s plenty to be seen in the village on foot. With numerous trails that wind throughout, you can see both the brilliant greens of the summer and the vibrant reds and yellows of fall. The trails of Sugar Mountain are not just for those on foot. Many cyclists choose Sugar Mountain for its variety of challenging and picturesque terrain. The village also gives tennis and golf lovers an opportunity to enjoy their favorite sports in a 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 SEE TOWNS ON PAGE 17




one of the many comfortable lodgings the village has to offer, Sugar Mountain will soon become your destination for great outdoor fun. For more information, visit www. PHOTO BY ROB MOORE Ashe County is the place to go for selecting the perfect Christmas tree.

Ashe County

fir Christmas trees. Check out the sights around the nationally renowned New River, where you will also find the River House Country Inn and Restaurant for delectable dinners.

CRESTON Located in the northwestern corner of Ashe County, Creston lies on the border of Tennessee. The curvy winding roads can offer travelers some of the most beautiful scenic byways in the area. The Riverview Community Center is located off of N.C. 88 West in Creston and is home to festivals and other events all year long. Worth’s Chapel at Creston United Methodist Church is located in Creston and was listed as a National Historic Building in 2005. The chapel was built about 1902. The interior of the chapel is finished, in part, with American chestnut wood, harvested before the blight reached the northwestern mountains of North Carolina.

FLEETWOOD Located just off of U.S. 221 between West Jefferson and Deep Gap, Fleetwood is home of great community gatherings at the Fleetwood Community Center and the local volunteer fire department. On your way to and from the busy towns of Boone and West Jefferson, stop by to look at local crafts, antiques and civic pride in Fleetwood.

GLENDALE SPRINGS Home of the breath-taking and awe-aspiring fresco painting by Ben Long at Holy Trinity Episcopalian Church, Glendale Springs has become revered for its budding arts scene. The community has become a must for anyone visiting Ashe County this summer. Proximity to the Blue Ridge Parkway is an added bonus as summer sets in.

GRASSY CREEK Just south of the North Carolina-Virginia border, Grassy Creek is a tightly knit community that is dotted with smiling faces and countless rows of Fraser

JEFFERSON A rich history, dating from 1799, lies in the picturesque town of Jefferson. Jefferson was founded prior to its counterpart, West Jefferson, and stood at the base of Mount Jefferson. The town was first known as Jeffersonton, but then became Jefferson, and was one of the first towns in the nation to bear the name of U.S. founding father Thomas Jefferson. The town is the county seat of Ashe and is home to the new courthouse, as well as the historic 1904 Courthouse. The Museum of Ashe County History is located in Jefferson and can be found in the 1904 Courthouse. The museum, through items collected and on display, offers a look at who the citizens of the county are, where they came from, how they got to the town, what they did on the way and where they will go next. Ashe County Park and Foster Tyson Park are also located in Jefferson, the former of which hosts a nationally celebrated disc golf course.

LANSING Whether you’re looking for a town reminiscent of the past or a town that offers whispers of tomorrow, the small, friendly town of Lansing beckons to travelers from near and far to visit and relax, while browsing its shops, trying some home cooking and tasting some locally made wine. The town, in the northwestern section of Ashe County, is 20 minutes from Jefferson and West Jefferson and only 45 minutes from Boone. Travelers can arrive in the town in less than an hour from Abingdon, Va., or Mountain City, Tenn. The town has one red light, and several businesses line the street. The first post office in the town was established in 1882 and served a rural

community, made up of a village and outlying farms until the railroad made its appearance, according to The economy and population begin to take off by 1914 as the Norfolk and Western Railroad, better known as the Virginia Creeper, came to town. A big commodity for area residents was iron ore mined from the mountains. The railroad served as an avenue to transport the ore to markets in Richmond, Va., and Pittsburgh, Pa. During its history, Lansing had a cheese plant, clothing store, coffin shop, doctor’s office, bank and a restaurant, according to the town’s website. The cheese plant allowed area farmers to bring their goods to sale instead of having to travel into West Jefferson. The town was chartered and incorporated in 1928. Lansing faced two devastating fires in the 1930s and ‘40s and faced Hurricane Hugo later that century. Despite these setbacks, the town continued to flourish and expand. The Works Progress Administration built the Lansing High School in 1941, using local granite stone. The school still stands today. The scenic Virginia Creeper biking trail is available to visitors, as is the town’s park. For more information about Lansing, visit

LAUREL SPRINGS Another border community, Laurel Springs prides itself with small town charm and beauty that entices motorists from the Blue Ridge Parkway for a quick bite to eat before continue their adventure on the scenic byway. Although it is located at the top mountain and touches Wilkes, Alleghany and Ashe counties, Laurel Springs is never more than a 30-minute drive from the listed county seats.

WEST JEFFERSON With a thriving arts district and Christmas trees galore, West Jefferson makes its mark on the High Country as a


destination for locals, as well as visitors. The town was built around the Virginia-Carolina Railroad depot during the early 1900s. According to the town’s history, the first ownership of the valley now known as West Jefferson began in 1779 when N.C. Gov. Richard Caswell granted 320 acres to Col. Ben Cleveland, who battled the British at King’s Mountain. More than a century later, the West Jefferson Land Company surveyed the new town and fixed its limits as a square one-half mile north, south, east and west of the Virginia-Carolina Depot. The town was chartered in 1915. The town’s initial growth came through the railroad, but early development was also spurred by the opening of the First National Bank of West Jefferson in 1915. The bank’s branch office, built in 1962, is now home to West Jefferson Town Hall. The town continues to thrive today and has a little something for everyone. Those visiting the town can browse one of the many art galleries, gift shops and retail stores. West Jefferson is home to many varieties of artwork, from paintings and photographs to sculptures and quilted items. More information about the area’s art district can be found at the Ashe Arts Center, located at 303 School Ave., just off of East Main Street. The center is home to the Ashe County Arts Council, which sponsors a variety of community programming and exhibits throughout the year. A popular spot in the town is Ashe County Cheese Inc., where visitors can see cheese made and then go across the street to the Ashe County Cheese store to purchase a variety of cheeses, from cheddar to pepper jack and the celebrated cheese curds, better known as “squeaky cheese.” Old-fashioned snacks and candies and locally made wines can also be purchased at the store. The cheese plant is open year round and located at 106 E. Main St. in West Jefferson. Just outside West Jefferson, in the Beaver Creek community, St. Mary’s Episcopal Church can be found. The church is the location for a fresco of Jesus on the cross by renowned artist Ben Long. A painting of Madonna with child also hangs on the sanctuary wall. Local eateries and cafés offer all sorts of tasty treats, coffee, spirits and more, from one end of the town to the other. For more information, visit




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From general to specific High Country general stores have much to offer BY JAMIE SHELL


he place of the general store is an iconic stalwart of smalltown communities. Prior to the advent of the “big-box” stores so prevalent today, the general store was a cornerstone to the local consumer. Carrying a wide range of merchandise, the small structures served as a community hangout and primary location to shop, where local residents, business owners, and visitors alike would swing by for staple items such as milk, eggs or bread, as well as any of a number of additional goods for construction or numerous other projects around the house. At the same time, customers would spend time in conversation with their neighbors on the porch of the general store or at its counter, discussing the local topics of the day. Although the neighborhood general store is less prevalent than in prior decades and generations, the High Country area still possesses several such stores that thrive with activity and preserves the age-old practice of meeting the basic needs of neighbors.


PHOTO BY CHAMIAN CRUZ The original Mast General Store and Annex in Valle Crucis, about eight miles away from downtown Boone. The Mast General Store and Annex opened in 1883 and has remained the community’s one-stop destination for all types of shopping.

One such place that continues to meet community needs is the Mast General Store. The original Mast store opened its doors to customers way back in 1883, opened by Henry Taylor and eventually co-owned by W.W. Mast. The store features a veritable plethora of products to meet the needs of its local residents, “from cradles to caskets” as the old family business slogan goes. The original Mast Store served as not just a community gathering place, but also a post office, wood stove, a porch that was fit for playing checkers or talking politics and/or religion, or sometimes a combination of each of them. Today, the store houses the local post office and offers a five-cent cup of coffee, as well as contains a variety of clothing, footwear, food, outdoor gear, maps, hats,

gloves, home decor and more. The store today is one of a family of general stores owned by John and Faye Cooper, including the old Boone Mercantile downtown location and the Annex in Valle Crucis, famous and beloved by kids and adults alike for its “candy barrel.” The original Mast Store features the Mast Store Knife Shop which opened just last year, which boasts more than 500 different varieties of knives — fixed blade and folders to culinary and tactical. The original Mast General Store in Valle Crucis is located on Hwy. 194 at Broadstone Road in Valle Crucis, and is open from 7 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and from noon to 6 p.m. on Sunday. For more information,

call (828) 963-6511. The Mast Downtown Boone store hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and noon to 6 p.m. on Sunday. For more information, call (828) 262-0000. For more on Mast General Store and its many offerings, click to

FRED’S GENERAL MERCANTILE ”If we don’t have it, you don’t need it.” That phrase has been a mantra of owners Fred and Margie Pfohl since opening their general store high atop Beech Mountain in 1979, living above the retail space for many years and, in doing so, maintaining the atmosphere of the store as a “family” business.

The primary store consists of not only a grocery store, but a place where customers can find an array of clothing items and hardware needs. Fred’s is a full grocery store that stocks everything from fresh fruits and vegetables and canned products to gourmet foods, and Fred keeps prices reasonable, he jokes, because he originally opened the store as a protest over a high-priced can of tuna fish. Customers can find everything from meat and poultry to homemade breads and a variety of beer and wine products, not to mention the snacks and goodies to satisfy the sweet tooth. SEE STORES ON PAGE 21





Fred’s General Mercantile is open from 7:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily, and also offers tools, supplies, home improvement products, tire chains, nuts and bolts, as well as fix-it supplies. The store also sells a wide choice of clothing ranging from T-shirts to sweatshirts and brand-name items. In addition, Fred’s offers The Backside Deli, featuring sandwiches, soups, desserts, salads, pizza, ice cream, cookies, alcoholic beverage choices and a spectrum of items to fill the stomach and gratify the taste buds throughout the year. The Backside Deli is open from 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily. For the outdoor enthusiast, Fred’s also offers a ski and snowboard shop where shredders can pick up the latest and best in ski and snowboard gear, ranging from skis, boards and bindings to goggles and gloves, and is open from 7:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.

THE OLD HAMPTON STORE The Old Hampton Store in Linville was built in 1921 as a stop on the Tweetsie Railroad. The store features cornmeal ground from an on-site grist mill, has an adjacent art gallery, a tavern, as well as features a number of concerts and events from guest musicians. The store also features food and antiques. The Old Hampton Store is located at 77 Ruffin Street in Linville. The Old Hampton Store is open daily from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m., with its restaurant open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and tavern open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. For more information, call (828) 733-5213 or click to

TODD GENERAL STORE Todd General Store is open through Christmas in the historic Ashe County community of Todd. Opening originally in 1914 as the end of the railroad line, it was the last of 13 stops for the train which traveled from Abingdon, Va. to Todd’s Elkland station twice a day. Today, Todd is a destination for all outdoor enthusiasts who love community, offering lunch and dinner opportunities, storytelling and old-time entertainment, as well as bluegrass music on Friday nights from the end of May through Thanksgiving. On Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Todd General Store features local and regional authors for book signings.

PHOTO BY THOMAS SHERRILL The Candy Barrel at Mast General Store is a popular stop for children and grown-ups alike to find those hard-to-locate candies of days gone by.

GENERAL (STORE) INFORMATION Mast General Store The original Mast General Store in Valle Crucis is located on Hwy. 194 at Broadstone Road in Valle Crucis, and is open from 7 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and from noon to 6 p.m. on Sunday. For more information, call (828) 963-6511. Mast, downtown Boone The Mast Downtown Boone store hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and noon to 6 p.m. on Sunday. For more information, call (828) 262-0000. For more on Mast General Store and its many offerings, click to Fred’s General Mercantile Fred’s General Mercantile is located at 501 Beech Mountain Parkway on Beech Mountain. For more information, call (828) 387-4838, or click to The Old Hampton Store The Old Hampton Store is located at 77 Ruffin Street in Linville. Check the store website often for entertainment options, as wellknown local acts and outside musicians frequent the venue on a weekly basis. For information, click to or call (828) 733-5213. Todd General Store Todd General Store is located 10 miles south of West Jefferson, or 11 miles north of Boone off Hwy. 194, on 3866 Railroad Grade Road, overlooking the South Fork of the New River, one of the most scenic bike routes in North Carolina. The store is closed from Jan. 1 to March 15, and it is recommended to call ahead, as hours may vary. For more information, call (336) 877-1067, or click to www.

PHOTO BY THOMAS SHERRILL Mast General Store offers everything ‘from cradles to caskets,’ to clothing and all items in between.




Clothed in splendor Leaf looking in the High Country BY JAMIE SHELL


his time of year, especially around the High Country, the questions invariably arise: “When will the colors of fall cover the High Country?” and “When will they be at their peak?” Throughout the High Country, the greenery of the region’s deciduous trees transform into nature’s kaleidoscope of color, as reds, yellows and orange begin by dotting the landscape before evolving into a tapestry of hues that attract thousands to see its wonders. The answer lies in varying factors from year-to-year. Throughout the warmer growing seasons, the leaves of the High Country’s maples, oaks, sourwoods, birch, sumacs and mountain ash species boast of varying shades of greens. But, come the first hint of Old Man Winter’s imminent return, the green begins to rapidly fade. Underneath the green leaves which blanket the region in the spring and summer lie the multicolored hues of autumn in a “you can’t see the trees for the forest” sort of way, the reds, yellows, oranges and purples are hidden by the intensity of the all-powerful green. Come the increasingly cooler days and frosts of late September, however, the trees heed Mother Nature’s admonition that “it’s time for a change,” as leaves stiffen block out increasing amounts of chlorophyll to slowly reveal the underlying colors which have, in actuality, been there all along. The so-called “peak” of fall foliage is reliant on many factors, not the least of which includes prevailing weather patterns, which, according to “The Fall Color Guy,” Appalachian State University biology professor Dr. Howie Neufeld, prominently plays a role in the overall variety, strength and depth of color present in the region. Neufeld explains that the amount of moisture and temperature are determining components in what the eye will see this year across the area’s forest landscape.

PHOTO BY HUGH MORTON | GRANDFATHER MOUNTAIN STEWARDSHIP FOUNDATION Looking up at Grandfather’s Attic Window Peak from the Blue Ridge Parkway is especially colorful because of the profusion of maple trees in that area. The bright foliage of the hardwoods stands out against the gray cliffs and is punctuated by the deep greens of the Spruce Firs.

“It has been a relatively cool and wet summer in the High Country, even as the Piedmont suffers through a dry and hot one. On the other hand, too much rain can dull the colors, especially the reds,” Neufeld said. According to Neufeld, the early autumn is a prime player in whether a given autumn color season is a memorable one. “The prime period for determining the quality of the fall colors is really the month of September. If it is cool and clear with good sun, that leads to brighter red colors, and most people think that when the reds jump out at them that it is a good fall color year. Too much rain could also lead to some foliar diseases,” Neufeld explained. “If the weather begins to cool, especially in the latter half of September, then we should be on to some good colors this year. If we get SEE LOOKING ON PAGE 23

ILLUSTRATION COURTESY HOWIE NEUFELD Howie Neufeld and Michael Denslow designed this map to give an estimation of the timing of fall color peaks for the various regions of North Carolina. This map differs from most other such maps because it combines the effects of both elevation and latitude on fall color, whereas most other maps simply use elevation alone. However, these dates may vary from year to year.



a heat wave, it will delay the colors by a few days, and could dull the reds also. Even so, the color peak doesn’t change that much due to the weather.” Neufeld also elaborated on how elevation plays a role in when trees tend to shed its green and shine in the splendor of fall colors. “At the elevation of Boone, which is about 3,300 feet, the peak ranges from about Oct. 12 to 18, give or take two to three days on either side. If it’s cooler, it could move up to Oct. 10, and if warmer, be delayed to the 14th or 16th,” Neufeld added. “Colors will start a little earlier at the higher elevations, and then move downslope about 1,000 feet every 10 days or so. Asheville, which is 1,000-feet lower than Boone, and farther south, often doesn’t peak until the last week of October. Of course, the peaks surrounding it peak sooner. Highlands, way down

THE MOUNTAIN TIMES AUTUMN GUIDE on the southern end of the mountains, is slightly higher than Boone, nearer to 4,000 feet, but the elevation compensates for their more southerly location, so they often peak around the same time as Boone does.” Wind is a key factor in how long leaves stay around for viewing. According to Neufeld, a severe storm or gusty breeze, as can tend to present itself in sections of the High Country, is an enemy to color, as leaves that change colors lose the strength of its connection to the branch of the tree, making it susceptible to being blown off the tree altogether or knocked off the tree by heavy rain. Autumn is, as anyone who lives in or visits the High Country can readily attest, one spectacular season filled to overflowing with breathtaking scenery and tints that catch the eye, energizing with its cobalt blue skies and brisk temperatures, and an awesomely beautiful landscape from the highland peaks of Grandfather Mountain to the valleys of Ashe County.

PHOTO BY JIM MORTON | GRANDFATHER MOUNTAIN STEWARDSHIP FOUNDATION Leaves turn to hues of red, orange and yellow, providing a painted canvas as drivers traverse the Blue Ridge Parkway and across the High Country.

PRIME LEAF-LOOKING LOCATIONS Anyone set on visiting the High Country in the fall to view the area’s beautiful colors wants to get the inside scoop on where the best spots are to see the most glorious of the bright shades that spell the arrival of autumn. Look no further as, with the help of Appalachian State biology professor and resident “Fall Color Guy,” Dr. Howie Neufeld, we have a listing of the best locations in the High Country where, according to Neufeld, the colors will splash and entertain. Elk Knob State Park, just north of Boone. A two-mile hike to the top provides some of the best fall color in the area off the north-facing overlook. You can also drive past the entrance around to the north side and see the colors up close from the road. Roan Mountain, at Carver’s Gap, west of Avery County on the Tennessee/North Carolina border. It’s on the Appalachian Trail, and has balds at the top, as well as good views of color below the peaks. Doughton Park (Traphill, N.C.). Many people don’t head that direction on the Blue Ridge Parkway, so it won’t be as crowded. The park has nice hiking trails also. You can also stop at Laurel Falls along the way. Many of the backroads in Ashe, Watauga and Avery counties. Along your path, you can see good colors and be away from the crowds. It’s recommended to check a map first, though, as it can be easy to get lost or end up on a dead-end road. Chestoa Overlook, south of Linville Falls. It’s located on the Blue Ridge Parkway, and could be crowded, but it’s still worth the traffic and a nice stop.





Halloween in the High Country BY BRIAN MILLER


hether you’re in it for the candy or in it for the spooks, the High Country celebrates Halloween with a variety of events including festivals, corn mazes, haunted attractions and more. Put your best costume on and check out what’s happening in the area this Halloween.


FILE PHOTO Coco Tucker, 5, shows off her decorated pumpkin at the New River Corn Maze and Pumpkin Patch in Boone.

Tweetsie Railroad in Blowing Rock completely transforms when the sun goes down and the Ghost Train lights up. Celebrating its 28th year, the festival begins Sept. 22-23 and continues on Friday and Saturday nights through October 27-28. Attractions include a ride on the Ghost Train, a haunted house, Halloween shows on Main Street, a 3-D maze, the Black Hole, trick-or-treating, the Freaky

Forest, the warp tunnel and the Tweetsie Palace Spooktacular Black Light Show. Gates open at 7:30 p.m. each night. Advanced tickets are required. For more information, visit www.

ASHE COUNTY CORN MAZE AND PUMPKIN FESTIVAL The Ashe County Corn Maze and Pumpkin Festival has become a “family tradition” in the High Country. The maze itself is around five acres, and can take from as little as 30 minutes up to an hour to complete. The maze opens Sept. 22 and runs through Oct. 29, every Friday through Sunday. There is a pumpkin lot at the entrance of the festival, where guests can pick and choose from a variety of decorative pumpkins, gourds and sunflowers. The pumpkin lot is open everyday. SEE HALLOWEEN ON PAGE 29

High Country Christmas trees



o matter what time of year it is, get in the Christmas spirit when you come to Ashe County. Christmas tree farms are all over the mountainside and beautiful landscapes. All year businesses and families prepare for the season where they will make their living for the entire year. “Our family is working all year for other families to get the tree and spend time with their family,” said Robin Sexton of Sexton Christmas Tree Farms. “The best part of it is that you are cultivating and helping create a centerpiece for the family home, which, when the family gets together at Christmas, is where people gather.” A number of farms offer games for children and additional items for purchase. Some even have apple cider. Christmas trees are also beneficial to the High Country’s community. According to the N.C. Christmas Tree Association, one acre of Christmas trees provides the daily oxygen required for 18 people. Considering

the nation has over 500,000 acres of Christmas trees, the trees provide oxygen for more than 9 million people per day. Sexton said it take eight years for trees to become a marketable product, so they are long-term investments. However, she reiterated that it was joyous occasion when people pick out their trees in the winter. “They’re in the tree patches,” Sexton said. “Each of the trees have different personalities. So you look for the right one, and then you see families getting their picture made with their tree. It’s truly family-oriented.” Traditionally, the season where people choose and cut their own trees starts the Friday after Thanksgiving. In many mountain towns, local shops decorate for the holiday season, offer sales for visitors and host special events to get everyone in the Christmas spirit. Information about local choose-andcut farms can be found on the following websites:, and

PHOTO BY COLIN TATE The North Carolina High Country is one of the few places in the United States that has the suitable climate, elevation and soil for Christmas trees.



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BEARY SCARY HALLOWEEN Join Grandfather Mountain from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 28 for a “Beary Scary Halloween. Included with regular admission, guests can enjoy a full day of nature programs about animals considered creepy and crawly. The day also includes opportunities to create animal enrichments, as well as trick-or-treat through the animal habitats. Children in costumes are admitted at half price. For more information, visit www.


For more information, visit www.

HARVEST FARM CORN MAZE AND PUMPKIN PATCH Harvest Farm Corn Maze and Pumpkin Patch in Valle Crucis opens in September, showcasing locally grown pumpkins through the end of October. Along with the maze and pumpkin patch is a hayride suitable for the entire family. For those looking for more of a challenge, a flashlight maze opens at dusk. Participants must bring their own flashlights. Discounts for seniors and military are available. For more information, visit www.


FILE PHOTO One of Grandfather Mountain’s resident river otters plays with a festive Halloween enrichment.

NEW RIVER CORN MAZE Located on the historic Brown Family Farm beside the scenic New River, this giant corn maze offers more than just a challenge. There is a hayride, a pickyour-own-pumpkin patch, games and more. The corn maze is open on weekends in October from 10 a.m. until dark on Fridays and Saturdays, and from 1 p.m. until dark on Sundays. For more information, visit www.

FILE PHOTO From left, Jace, Penelope and Lexi Sheets, dressed as Ironman, Scooby Doo and a bee, trick-or-treat in downtown West Jefferson on Halloween.

settlers as you live out their nightmare. Journey back in time and choose your path as you wander down dark, desolate

ADDRESSES AND CONTACT INFORMATION TWEETSIE RAILROAD 300 Tweetsie Railroad Lane, Blowing Rock (828) 264-9061

ASHE COUNTY CORN MAZE AND PUMPKIN FESTIVAL 2152 Beaver Creek School Road, West Jefferson (800) 238-8733

Blowing Rock Parks and Recreation will present its annual Halloween Festival on Saturday, Oct. 28. Activities include: spooky stories and creepy crafts at the Blowing Rock Art and History Museum, air walks in Memorial Park, games and a fun house in the Recreation Center, hay rides, the monster march parade, trick-or-treating in downtown, a costume contest and a moonlight scavenger hunt at Broyhill Lake. All events are free and prizes are awarded for the costume contest and scavenger hunt. For more information, visit www.


HAUNTED HORN: CURSE OF THE WENDIGO The We Can So You Can Foundation presents “Curse of the Wendigo,” a brand new immersive haunt, every Friday and Saturday in October at the Daniel Boone Amphitheater. Become part of the action as you follow Joshua, a Colonial Captain, after he makes a horrible mistake that brings a curse upon a small settlement deep in the Appalachian Mountains. Unlock the mysteries behind the curse and find out the fate of Joshua and the


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HARVEST FARM CORN MAZE AND PUMPKIN PATCH 3287 NC-194, Valle Crucis (828) 297-1462

NEW RIVER CORN MAZE 660 Laurel Gap Ridge Road, Boone (828) 264-2986

HAUNTED HORN 591 Horn in the West Drive, Boone (828) 264-2120

Every Halloween, Oct. 31, the Watauga County Public Library and the Downtown Boone Development Association host this family-friendly event. Festivities begin at 4 p.m. at the library with games and arts and crafts, followed by a costume parade to the Jones House Cultural and Community Center. At the Jones House, children can enjoy a “silly and spooky tour with tricks and treats around every corner.” Trick-or-treating with downtown Boone merchants begins at 5 p.m. and concludes at 6 p.m. For more information, visit www.

BEARY SCARY HALLOWEEN 2050 Blowing Rock Highway, Linville (828) 733-4337

BLOWING ROCK HALLOWEEN FESTIVAL Downtown Blowing Rock (828) 295-5222

BOONE BOO! Downtown Boone (828) 268-6280




A fall full of festivals



f you want to enjoy a piece of the Appalachian culture while the leaves fall, you’re in luck. The High Country autumn sees festivals of all different sorts. From one centered on books and reading in Ashe County, and from numerous events celebrating local craft, music and culture, to stepping into the land of the Wicked Witch of the West, there’s a different type of festival for everyone. Most events benefit different charitable causes, so whatever decision you make, chances are you’ll have a good time while helping those less fortunate.

THE MUSIC FEST AT BLUE BEAR MOUNTAIN SEPT. 8 TO 10 Covering 155 acres on mountaintop heaven, the Music Fest at Blue Bear Mountain will have a private and inclusive event for 300 lucky guests that will have

a number of bands over three days right near Boone. Bands and singers scheduled for the festival include the Darrell Scott Bluegrass Band, The Steel Wheels, Larry Keel Experience, Acoustic Syndicate, Sol Driven Train, Tim Carter, South Hill Banks, Sally & George, The Josh Daniel/Mark Schimick Project, Handlebar Betty, Wil Maring & Robert Bowlin and more. The all-inclusive $300 ticket includes four nights camping from Wednesday through Saturday, three days and nights of music, five meals (three dinners and two brunches with vegetarian options), late night snacks of grilled cheese and pizza, a festival T-shirt, custom beverage cup with festival logo, beverages included for the entire event and coffee and tea in the mornings. The two night Friday and Saturday pack-

age is $225 and single day passes with no perks are $75. For tickets, call 828-4064226. Event is rain or shine. For more information, visit

AUTUMN AT OZ SEPT. 8 TO 10 Join Dorothy, the Scarecrow, the TinMan, and the Cowardly Lion at the Land of Oz on Beech Mountain for the annual Autumn at Oz Festival. Guests are invited to visit, re-live, and celebrate one of North Carolina’s hidden gems nestled among the Appalachian Mountains for this three-day event. Based on the novel by L. Frank Baum, Oz is complete with the Gale’s Kansas farm, twister, and an actual Yellow Brick Road. Along the way the Munchkins, Flying Monkeys and even Toto. The young and young at heart will surely be delighted when they travel over the

rainbow and down the yellow brick road at the world’s largest Wizard of Oz event. Tours are $40 per person, limit 12 per order, and take place every hour from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on all three days. Children younger than 2 are free with a paying adult. Parking is located in the meadow next to Brick Oven Pizza at 402 Beech Mountain Parkway, Beech Mountain, N.C., 28604. For more information and the link for tickets, visit

ON THE SAME PAGE FESTIVAL SEPT. 12 TO 16 Ashe County’s celebration of reading and writing returns for a week of events, the On The Same Page Festival gives authors and writers a chance to share their work and themselves with readers. Featuring authors Joseph Bathanti, Mark De Castrique, Georgann Eubanks, SEE FESTIVALS ON PAGE 31

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PHOTO SUBMITTED The Valle Country Fair takes place in a large hay field across NC Hwy. 194 from the Valle Crucis Conference Center. The setting is made all the more quaint by the fact that the tents are set up between an old red barn and a field of sorghum.




Tim Gautreaux, Philip Gerard, John Hart, Robert Inman, D.G. Martin, Jill MoCorkle and Edward Kelsey Moore, the festival will have readings, workshops and various other events throughout the week. This year’s community read book is The Underground Railroad” by Colson Whitehead. All festival events are free and open to the public, except for the Literary Trails Luncheon and Author Smorgasbord Luncheon, which require reservations and/or tickets due to limited seating. Please call (336) 846-2787 for tickets and for more information on the festival, times and locations of the various events, visit

THE BLOWING ROCK MUSIC FESTIVAL SEPT. 16 At the historic Blowing Rock, the one-day music festival with a little bit for everyone will take place Saturday, Sept. 16. The event will feature The Harris Brothers, Shelby Rae Moore, Soul Benefactor, Wayne Euliss as Elvis as the main performers. Also on hand will be the Fly by Night Rounders with Abby the Spoon Lady, The Neighbors, Carolina Ray with Cecil Palmer, Carolina Gator Gumbo, Charlie Carpenter, Carolina Blue, Mitch and Masten and The Midnight Plowboys. Tickets are $30 until Sept. 10, then $45 the week of the festival. Children 12 and under are $10. Tickets can be purchased at The Blowing Rock at 432 The Rock Road, Blowing Rock, N.C., 28605, by phone at (828) 295-4812 and (828) 295-7111, or at the Blowing Rock Chamber of Commerce at (828) 295-7851.

MOUNTAIN HERITAGE FESTIVAL SEPT. 16 The annual Mountain Heritage Festival in downtown Sparta will take place Saturday, Sept. 16 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. A celebration of craft and music, the festival will feature entertainment from the Jubilee Dancers, the Craig Vaughn Experience, Changing Lanes, Good Fellers, the Rise and Shine Band and conclude with the Possum Queen Contest. More than a dozen food vendors, 22 restaurants and 50 craft vendors will line N. Main Street in Sparta for the day. For more information, contact the Alleghany Chamber of Commerce at (336) 372-5473 or visit www.sparta-nc. com/mountain_heritage_festival.php.

ART ON THE MOUNTAIN SEPT. 23 Ashe County Arts Council will sponsor Art on the Mountain on Saturday, Sept. 23 from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. More than 30 artists and craft persons will set up their creative wares on the grounds of the Ashe Arts Center in West Jefferson. Holiday gift ideas, fall theme items, unique art pieces, crafts and more will be for sale. Several artists will be demonstrating their artwork including basket weaving,


quilting and wood-working. For more information, call (336) 846-ARTS.

BRUSHY MOUNTAIN APPLE FESTIVAL OCT. 7 One of the largest one-day arts and crafts festivals in the southeast, the 22nd annual Brushy Mountain Apple Festival takes places in the streets of North Wilkesboro on Saturday, Oct. 7, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Paying tribute to the fruit grown and harvested each fall in the apple orchards of Northwestern North Carolina, the event will have over 400 arts and crafts exhibits, 100 food concessions and four different music stages consisting of blue grass, country, folk, gospel, and Appalachian heritage, as well as cloggers, folk dancers, rope skippers, and square dancers. Appalachian Heritage crafts are highlighted such as woodcarving, chair making, soap making, pottery throwing, and quilting. Local apple growers set up throughout the festival selling their apples, apple cider, and dried apples. Pre-festival activities begin with an “Apple Jam” on Friday, Oct. 6 at 6 p.m. with live entertainment at the Brushy Mountain Club’s Apple Festival Park at the corner of 10th Street and Main Street. The festival is free to attend. For more information, visit

TODD NEW RIVER FESTIVAL OCT. 14 The 23rd annual Todd New River Festival will take place Saturday, Oct. 8 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Walter and Annie Cook Park in beautiful downtown Todd. The event will have crafts, food, music and fun all day. Eight different bans will perform for the duration of the event and over 30 craft and food vendors will be on hand. The event is free with parking costing $5 per vehicle. The event is hosted by the Todd Ruritan Club, which provides community services for the town of Todd. For more information, visit or cal the Todd Ruritan Club at (828) 964-1362.

BOONE HERITAGE FESTIVAL OCT. 14 With history demonstrations, craft vendors, music jam sessions, children’s activities, live music and storytelling, the Boone Heritage Festival at the Hickory Ridge Living History Museum will take visitors back in time to the 1700s on Saturday, Oct. 14. Visitors can try their hand at scarecrow building, pumpkin bowling, hand-sewing, basketweaving, flintlock rifle firing, campfire cooking, blacksmithing, spinning wool and much more in a village of antique wood cabins while listening to musicians from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is free. For more information, visit www. or call (828) 264-2120.

VALLE COUNTRY FAIR OCT. 21 With more than 160 top quality crafts from the southeast and a variety of food an entertainment, the 38th annual Valle Country Fair will take place on Saturday, Oct. 21 at the Valle Crucis Conference Center Grounds at 122

PHOTO BY JIM MORTON The champion woolly worm in races at the 39th Annual Woolly Worm Festival in Banner Elk was Hans Solo, who was handled by owner Reyn Beekman of Boone. Hans Solo was examined by official festival forecaster Tommy Burleson.

Skiles Way, Banner Elk, N.C., 28604 The event will feature two stages set up for mountain music from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., games, pumpkin carvings, arts and crafts and other diversions including live animals, face painting and old-time mountain storytellers. The fair is free admission, with $10 parking per personal vehicle, $25 for a small bus or van or $50 for a large bus or motor coach. For more information, visit or call (828) 963-4609.

BANNER ELK WOOLLY WORM FESTIVAL OCT. 21 AND 22 The 40th annual Woolly Worm Festival returns to the grounds of the Cultural Arts Center at the Historic Banner Elk School on Saturday, Oct. 21, and Sunday, Oct. 22. With 20,000 anticipated guests and more than 150 vendors, the Woolly Worm Festival sees arts, crafts, inflatables, rides, live music dance teams and much more. The highlight is the Woolly Worm race ($5 entry) where the worms for the honor of predicting the upcoming winter in the High Country, as well as a $1,000 cash prize. Sponsored by the Banner Elk Kiwanis Club and the Avery County Chamber of Commerce, Woolly Worm Festival is the highlight of autumn in the town of Banner Elk. Tickets can be purchased online through or on the day of the event at the gate. Adult tickets are $6 and kids aged 6 to 12 are $4. Call (828) 8985605 for more information.




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St. John’s Church ca. 1858

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Sixth Olde Time Antiques Fair coming this fall to West Jefferson BY COLIN TATE


he 2017 Olde Time Antiques Fair is held in West Jefferson. This year’s event takes place from Friday, Sept. 15 to Saturday,

Sept. 16. According Keith Woodie, there are usually 60-75 spaces available for vendors, which normally take up two to three spaces each. There will be live music with two bands on Friday night and four bands on Saturday. Woodie said the event would feature a

large variety of furniture, as well as local food and specials from local restaurants. Admission to the fair is free. Each year the event has grown and local antiques shop owners like Renae Bumgarner look forward to the event every September. “It is one of our biggest community efforts,” Bumgarner said. “It really helps everyone involved. We all plan for it. People ask about it throughout the year. Downtown West Jefferson is alive. That’s the place to be.” For more information, visit http://

FILE PHOTO This will be the sixth year of the Olde Time Antiques Fair. Each year the event has grown and attracts more people from outside of the High Country.

The Blue Ridge Parkway: The High Country’s great natural road BY THOMAS SHERRILL


f you’re looking to get from one place to another in a hurry this autumn, the Blue Ridge Parkway won’t help you out. The road will become a beacon of activity in September and October as visitors will go much slower than the posted speed limits of 35 and 45 miles-per-hour to view the leaves. At more than 12 million travelers annually, the Parkway is one of the most-visited units of the National Park System. A marvel to behold no matter the month, the Blue Ridge Parkway is at its most scenic in the autumn months. As the cool temperatures hit the High Country, the luscious green trees will be green no more, as the leaves wither and fall, they will turn orange, yellow, red and a variety in between. The Blue Ridge Parkway, which moves with the mountains, is a must for any leaf watcher in September and October. The Parkway alternates between

BLUE RIDGE PARKWAY STOPS IN THE HIGH COUNTRY The following are a list of noteable stops along the Blue Ridge Parkway in the High Country from The numbers listed are the mile-post markers that are places alongside the road. 268: Benge Gap 272: E.B. Jeffress Park 291: Thunder Hill Overlook 292.7: Moses H. Cone Memorial Park and the Historic Flat Top Manor House 295: Julian Price Memorial Park 304.4: Linn Cove Viaduct Information Center 308.2: Flat Rock Parking Area 316.3: Linville Falls Visitor Center 320.7: Chestoa View valleys of tree cover where light rarely shines through to gaps and passes where the road rises above the landscape, offering spectacular views for miles.

PHOTO BY THOMAS SHERRILL The Linn Cove Viaduct in the autumn is one of the crown jewels of the High Country.

Milepost markers, no more than a couple feet high, dot the roadsides of the Parkway, noting progress and how close travelers are to certain stops and sights. From Benge’s Gap in Ashe County to Thunder Hill in Watauga County to the

iconic Linn Cove Viaduct in Avery County to the Linville Falls natural area along the Avery and Burke border, there’s a full day of activities to behold along a windy two-lane road through the Appalachian Mountains.







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Great Grandfather Historic landmark appeals to all ages BY JAMIE SHELL


ften in families, the grandfather is the patriarch, offering great wisdom and insight from decades of life experiences and interactions. The High Country lays claim to its own patriarch of sorts ... Grandfather Mountain. Serving as the backdrop of most vistas, attracting local and international visitors alike to its peaks, Grandfather is the force of our nature, and the old fellow looks quite dapper in his fall colors. Grandfather Mountain has ideal conditions for autumn leaf looking, due to its wide range in elevation, which allows visitors to see the changing leaves over a greater number of weeks. Guests can view myriad vistas from from the mountain’s extensive system of backcountry trails, winding country roads or Mile-High Swinging Bridge. Grandfather is a target destination for leaf looking, not only because its high peaks offer a prime vantage point for look out across the kaleidoscope of color on the hillsides below, but because the mountain hosts such a tremendous variety of plant life. “One of the best times to come to the mountain is in the autumn. You can see the leaves changing on the mountain, but you can also see them gradually changing into the valleys below,” said Frank Ruggiero, director of Marketing and Communications with Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation. “Even though they may have fallen on top, you can see the whole autumn splendor for an amazing view, getting the entirety of the season. You have the lush greenery of the summer and all the different programs, but in the fall, there’s the foliage and crisp air, and the viewshed of being able on a clear day to see as far as Charlotte, almost 80 miles away.” Among that plant life, guests can likely spot a variety of wildlife, such as squirrels, songbirds or other forest animals. Visitors can also check out the more elusive wildlife, as Grandfather features numerous environmental habitats inside its

PHOTO COURTESY GRANDFATHER MOUNTAIN STEWARDSHIP FOUNDATION The Mile High Swinging Bridge, a 228-foot suspension bridge, spans an 80-foot chasm at more than one mile in elevation. Surveys show that the journey to the other side is always considered the highlight of a trip to Grandfather Mountain.


PHOTO BY SKIP SICKLER | GRANDFATHER MOUNTAIN STEWARDSHIP FOUNDATION Kodiak, one of Grandfather Mountain’s resident black bears, cools off — and shakes off —in a pond. Unlike enclosures at many zoos, the mountain’s environmental wildlife habitats are built around the animals’ native environments, allowing them ample room to roam as they please.

hundreds-of-acres attraction, where guests can come face-to-face with cougars, otters, black bears, eagles and other animals. For those interested in an “inside look” at how SEE GRANDFATHER ON PAGE 37

Watch a nature program on TV with the sound turned down, and you will enjoy the beauty and drama. Turn the sound up, and you’ll also be enlightened with lots of interesting details that bring extra meaning and interest to the images you see unfolding on the screen. So it is when you visit Grandfather Mountain in the company of one of its staff naturalists. Any time you visit, you will enjoy the breathtaking scenery and entertaining animals, but tag along with a staff naturalist, and you’ll take away a much greater understanding of what you have seen and a much deeper appreciation of how rare and wonderful this Mountain truly is. Grandfather Mountain naturalists and interpretive rangers offer an array of programs that allows them to share their love and enthusiasm for all things natural with Grandfather Mountain’s guests. From slide programs on otters and bears to a hands-on show-and-tell with animal skins and deer antlers, from a close-range interaction with a barred owl to guided hikes across Grandfather’s rugged peaks, Grandfather’s naturalists will be happy to tailor any sort of interpretive activity that will make a visitor’s experience of Grandfather Mountain fun and meaningful. Many programs are offered on a regular schedule and are included in the cost of admission. Other programs are available upon request and will require an additional activity fee. Call (828) 733-4326 for details, or email Amy Renfranz, education specialist with Grandfather Mountain’s Department of Education and Natural Resources, at amy@




the habitats, animals and attraction staff interact, the mountain offers Behind-theScenes Tours. Autumn at Grandfather offers an extraordinary opportunity to view the migrations of some incredible birds. Visitors have an ideal vantage point to catch a glimpse of everything from hawks, falcons and other birds of prey to Monarch butterflies and more than 11 different species of warblers. Naturalist programs on the mountain focus on hawk migration and Monarch watching, and are ideal for avid ornithologists, hobbyist bird watchers and families alike. Participants learn about the winged animals and their facinating migratory habits.



hecking out the veritable plethora of fall colors around Grandfather Mountain in autumn is truly a sight to behold. The popular attraction brings high volumes of visitors and traffic to the High Country and popular landmark. With this in mind, here are some helpful hints for those planning a visit to Grandfather during peak color season, courtesy of the Grandfather Mountain staff: 1. Travel on weekdays in mid-October if you can. Visit the High Country on weekdays during October if you can. Attractions, restaurants and hotels will be busy on peak October weekends, so visiting during the week is more relaxed. 2. Arrive at Grandfather Mountain before 10 a.m. or after 3 p.m. on peak weekends. Most guests arrive between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. The payoffs for visiting early are many. Cool mornings clear the air, making the view across the surrounding mountains its most spectacular. In fact, in October, early-morning visitors are sometimes able to see the skyline of Charlotte, some 80 miles away, as the crow flies. The animals are energized by the brisk mornings, too, and are alert and playful in the early hours.

PHOTO BY SKIP SICKLER | GRANDFATHER MOUNTAIN STEWARDSHIP FOUNDATION The artist-like hues of autumn paint the landscape of Grandfather Mountain during the fall leaf-changing season.

The mountain’s higher overlooks afford the perfect perspective for visitors keeping an eye to the sky. “Linville Peak is a great bird-watching location this time of year,” Jesse Pope,

3. Show patience if you find yourself in a line of traffic before you arrive at the Grandfather Mountain ticket gate. U.S. 221, on which the Grandfather Mountain ticket gate is located, is a twolane highway. There is no option that will allow drivers to “go around” Grandfather Mountain, so folks often find themselves in a line of traffic waiting to get to one of the two ticket booths. Patience truly is a virtue, and the attraction staff promises that they are trying to move cars through as quickly as possible. On a sunny, fall color weekend, if you desire to drive past Grandfather Mountain without stopping for a visit, drivers are encouraged to choose a route other than U.S. 221 to get from Linville to the Blue Ridge Parkway (or vice versa). 4. On weekend mornings, go to the Mile-High Swinging Bridge first. If there are traffic delays inside the attraction, they will be toward the top of the mountain where there are fewer places to park. These usually do not develop before 11 a.m. If you are ready for a fun excursion, park at the Trails Parking area just below the summit and take the Bridge Trail to the top. This 15-minute walk leads visitors to a viewpoint at which the bridge seems to float high above, making the experience of crossing the span minutes later all that more of an adventure. 5. If you are spending the weekend in the High Country, it is recommended to make lodging reservations. For assistance, contact area travel


exective director at Grandfather, said. “Visitors of all ages will be able to appreciate this spectacle.” All the fun of Grandfather Mountain isn’t reserved for outdoors, however. The Grandfather Mountain Nature Museum houses more than two dozen exhibits designed to enlighten guests about the natural history of Grandfather Mountain and the High Country, and is flanked by the 140-seat Mildred’s Grill, which serves up homemade burgers, unique sandwiches, salads, snakes and desserts. If guests want a sweet treat to along with their trip to Grandfather, look no further than the mountain’s own confectionary delight, The Fudge Shop, which carries hand-scooped ice cream and multiple flavors of delicious fudge. Grandfather Mountain is located at

2050 Blowing Rock Highway in Linville, one mile from the Blue Ridge Parkway, milepost 305. For fall color, the first four weekends in October often feature extended hours. Admission to Grandfather Mountain (accessed via automobile through the entrance gate) is $20 for adults (age 13 to 59), $18 for seniors (age 60 and older), $9 for children (age four to 12), with children younger than four years of age admitted free. Grandfather Mountain is open seven days a week, however hours of operation vary depending on the season, so it is best to call ahead to determine seasonal hours. For a full list of events taking place this season at Grandfather Mountain, or for more information, click to or call (828) 733-4337 or (800) 468-7325.

information services, such as North Carolina High Country Host, at (800) 4387500 or click to www.highcountryhost. com. Direct links to the lodging members of area Chambers of Commerce are also available at the Grandfather Mountain website by clicking to www.grandfather. com. 6. If you arrive at midday on a

peak color weekend, staff always want you to feel welcome. Attraction staff will be out in full force to assist you. Grandfather’s mission is to help you have a good time. It is important to them that you get to see and do everything while you are at the attraction, but your patience and cooperation will help them help you.





Hitting the roads of the High Country



ne of the most popular recreational activities in the High Country, nothing beats enjoying a cool day riding on the roads of the Appalachian Mountains while embracing the beautiful sites of the changing leaves of autumn. The High Country is home to several rugged yet breathtaking routes for motorcyclists that explore the gorgeous mountain views and scenery while winding through our mountains and valleys. One of the best routes for riders during the fall season is the Blue Ridge Parkway. With the crisp temperatures and changing leaves, the Parkway provides a plethora of scenic views, vistas and sites in the High Country, from woodlands of colorful trees to views that stretch for miles around. Overlooks provide great places for riders to stop and take a break while enjoying the breathtaking views of the lands below. For those riders looking to stretch their legs, riders can park their bikes and take a hike on one of the parkway’s many trails along the route. For more information on motorcycling in the High Country and the routes that are offered around here, visit www.

PHOTO BY TROY BROOKS Jeff Winebarger prepares to take his bike out for a High Country ride.

POPULAR ROUTES IN THE HIGH COUNTRY Popular routes in the High Country Asides from the Blue Ridge Parkway, the High County has several popular motorcycle routes to offer to those looking to spend a scenic day on the road. The following routes can be found at

U.S. 221: Boone to Independence, Va. Speed Limit: 35 to 55 mph Length: 55 miles From state to state, this route on U.S. 221 takes you through rolling mountain valleys and farmlands as well as views of the state’s rich Frasier Fir tree farms that dot the High Country. After all, the High Country is one of the largest tree producers along the east coast of the country. The route also runs by the New River, which is known as one of the oldest rivers in the world. For those looking for lunch and shops along the route, major towns include Boone and West Jefferson, NC and Independence, VA. West Jefferson, located halfway along the route, offers several eateries and shops in the downtown district.

NC Hwy. 194: Boone to West Jefferson Length: 26 miles

Speed limit: 35 to 55 mph Enjoy views of farmlands and rolling mountains, hills and valleys on Hwy. 194 between Boone and West Jefferson, as well as sites of the New River. For lunch, stop at one of the many restaurants in Boone and West Jefferson and take some time off the road to browse the local shops and stores. The route also offers a chance for a break in Todd, where you can stop by Todd General Store to explore crafts, dry goods, foods and free live music in the park on Saturdays at 6 p.m.

U.S. Hwy. 321: Boone to Hampton, Tenn. Length: 39 miles Speed Limit: 35 to 55 mph Traverse the mountain curves and climbs through the Watauga River Gorge. This route features many ups and downs along the way. The route also merges with Tennessee SR 67 West where you pass through Cherokee National Forest and ride along the Watauga River and Watauga Lake for views of the water. A few restaurants and a marina can be found along the way, as well as three gas stations for refueling. Shirley’s Restaurant in Hampton is a highlight stop for family meals on the weekend. For those looking for a longer ride, the detour from Sugar Grove to Bethel can be accessed from Hwy. 321.

N.C. 1213 George’s Gap Sugar Grove — Bethel Length — 10 miles A curvy road that offers scenes and vistas of the surrounding

countryside on an up and down route. Cove Creek Store, located on 321 at the start of the route and the Stone Mountain Store in Bethel, offer gas and food along the route for those needing to rest their wheels.

U.S. 221: Linville to Blowing Rock Length: 19 miles Speed Limit 35 to 45 mph For those looking for the woodland drive, this is the trip for you, as the winding roads built on the route of the historical Yonaholssee Turnpike passes through the forests of North Carolina. This route was originally created for stagecoaches that traveled between Green Park Inn in Blowing Rock and the Eseeola Lodge in Linville No gas stations or restaurants are along this route, but they can be found in Linville and Blowing rock, along with numerous jam, honey and fruit stands along the route.

N.C. 194: Valle Crucis to Cranberry Length: 15 miles Speed Limit: 35 to 55 mph The winding road of this route offers many stunning views of valleys, farms and mountain scenes. Along the way, stop by the historic Mast General Store and grab a lunch at Simplicity at Mast Farm Inn or the 1861 Farmhouse. N.C. 195 passes through the town of Banner Elk with its restaurants, shops and a gas station.






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Horseback riding in the High Country BY BEN SESSOMS


here are many things to do in the great outdoors during the autumn season in the High Country. Among those is riding on horseback in the crisp autumn air over the beautiful landscape. “There’s just something about riding in the fall that is magical,” Abbie Hanchey, marketing director at Leatherwood Mountains, said. Visitors, local, beginners and advanced riders are welcome to ride on horses across the High Country as there are trails, stables and other horseback experiences suitable for everyone. One spot in particular that is popular among locals in the area are the carriage trails at Moses Cone Memorial Park. At Moses Cone there are 25 miles of trails sprawled across fields and forests on the 3,500-acre estate ready to be ridden on





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horseback. Other trails and stables in the area include Appalachians by Horseback, Banner Elk Stables, Burnthill Stables, Dutch Creek Trails, Grandfather Stables, Leatherwood Stables, Valle Crucis Farms and VX3 Trail Rides. VX3 Trail Rides offers custom 2.5hour guided rides in Moses Cone Park with experienced trail guide Tim Vines. VX3 provides trustworthy horses on easy trails in all seasons — summer, fall, winter and spring — seven days a week. Rides depart at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. only. Appalachians by Horseback is a guided trail service that takes customers on adventures on horseback in the Appalachian Mountains in the Boone and Blowing Rock area. To book a reservation or to inquire about pricing, call (828) 297-1289 between 7 a.m. and 9 p.m. Banner Elk Stables takes customers on a family-friendly horseback adventure on Beech Mountain. To book a reservation or to inquire about pricing, call (828) 898-5424. Burnthill Stables offers trail rides for either one or two hours for up to 10 people at a rate of $25 per hour per horse. To book a reservation, call (336) 982-2008 or email at Dutch Creek Trails offers guided

PHOTO BY TOMMY WHITE PHOTOGRAPHY A group of horseback riders traversing a trail near Leatherwood Mountains.

tours across various landscapes for $50 per person. To book a reservation, call (828) 297-7117. Children under 6 years old are not allowed on these trails. Grandfather Stables offers pony rides for children, beginner rides and intermediate rides. Pony rides are available for four guests at a time and priced at $20 for 10 minutes and $30 for 25 min-

utes. Beginner rides are available for up to seven guests at a time for $50 per person. Intermediate rides are available for up to eight guests at a time for $60 per person. To book a reservation, click to http://grandfatherstables. com/trailrides/trailride.html. Leatherwood Mountains is a premier, equine destination that is 18 miles from

Boone and has close to 100 miles of horseback trails. The two-mile trails take about one hour to finish and cost $50. The four-mile trails take about two hours to finish and cost $90. There are also horse rides for children 2 years and older that cost $20 every 15 minutes. To inquire about times for horseback rides, call (800) 462-6867.

WHERE TO RIDE Appalachians by Horseback

Grandfather Stables

1095 E. King St. Boone, NC Hours: 7 a.m. — 7 p.m. (828) 297-1289

534 Church Hollow Road Boone, NC (828) 260-7938

Leatherwood Stables Banner Elk Stables 796 Shomaker Road Banner Elk, NC (828) 898-5424

512 Meadow Road Ferguson, NC (336) 973-5044

Valle Crucis Farms Burnthill Stables 1102 Burt Hill Road Laurel Springs, NC (336) 982-2008

4365 N.C. 194 South Valle Crucis, NC (828) 963-5399

VX3 Trail Rides Dutch Creek Trails 793 Rubin Walker Road Vilas, NC (828) 297-7117

PO Box 1154 Blowing Rock, NC 28605 (828) 963-0260

PHOTO BY TOMMY WHITE PHOTOGRAPHY A group departing from the stables at Leatherwood Mountains to go on a horseback ride.




Hunting An Appalachian Tradition BY MATT DEBNAM


mong the earliest Europeans to come to the High Country were bands of hardy men who came to these hills seeking meat and furs from the area’s plentiful wildlife. Here in 2017, centuries later, the tradition of hunting remains strong in the High Country. With portions of Avery, Watauga, Caldwell, Burke, McDowell and Mitchell counties falling within the Grandfather District of the the Pisgah National Forest, there are tens of thousands of acres of public game lands in the region, making the Greater High Country a sportsman’s paradise. While those who lack game land privileges on their license will find themselves restricted to hunting with permission on private land, those who spring the extra $15 for the privilege will be able to enjoy hunting in some of the most pristine and beautiful forests in the state.

PISGAH NATIONAL FOREST GAME LANDS Within the Grandfather and Appalachian Districts of the Pisgah National Forest, outdoorsmen will find a wide variety of wildlife. Maintained by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, these forests are some of the area’s greatest natural treasures. Aside from developed recreation areas, these government-owned lands are fair game for those with the proper licenses. Important: While these great tracts of public land are a bountiful resource, hunters should pay close attention to maps and signage when hunting near the Blue Ridge Parkway to avoid straying onto land that is maintained by the National Park Service, where hunting is not permitted.

WRC GAME LANDS In addition to the huge tracts of land open to the public within the Pisgah, the High Country is also home to six easily accessible, state-owned game lands which are maintained by the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission. These include the scenic Pond Mountain Game Land in Northwest Ashe County,

HUNTER SAFETY Take time to review hunter education training and equipment instructions. Be aware of your surroundings for the safety of yourself and others. Wear articles of blaze orange to stand out to other hunters. Always keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction. Treat your firearm as if it is loaded at all times. Be certain of your target and what is beyond. Keep your finger off the trigger until ready to shoot. Take care not to trespass on private property. In addition to signs, property owners may mark their land with a purple line at least eight inches long to indicate posted property. Beginning at age 16, individuals are required to successfully complete a hunter education course prior to obtaining a hunting license in North Carolina. For information on where to take a course, or how to access the course online, click to the Elk Knob Game Land in Watauga, Lutz Tract in Caldwell County’s Wilson Creek Wilderness Area, the Little Table Rock Mountain tract, which straddles the boarders of Avery, Mitchell and McDowell counties, the Rose Creek Tract in eastern Mitchell County and the Roaring Creek Tract in western Avery.

ELK KNOB GAME LANDS Located adjacent to Elk Knob State Park, The Elk Knob Gamelands can be accessed by Rich Mountain Road in Watauga County. Situated on on the headwaters of Meat Camp Creek, this 721-acre game land is home to deer, turkey, raccoon and grouse. Elk Knob Game Lands are a 20-minute drive from Boone. From Hwy. 194, turn onto Meat Camp Road, traveling until Rich Mountain Road forks to the left. The game lands are less than a mile from there.

POND MOUNTAIN GAME LANDS Located in the extreme northwestern corner of Ashe County, the pristine Pond Mountain Game Lands offer gorgeous

MAP COURTESY N.C. WILDLIFE RESOURCES COMMISSION With tens of thousands of acres of public game lands within the Grandfather District of the Pisgah National Forest, the greater High Country area has much to offer the avid sportsman.

LICENSE INFORMATION Annual Sportsman — Combination hunting/fishing license. Allows hunting of all game, access to public game lands and public mountain trout waters. ($50) Senior Sportsman — Same as above, but for senior citizens ($15) Annual State Hunting — Allows hunting of small game, does not allow access to game lands. ($20) Annual Comprehensive Hunting — Allows hunting of all game, as well as access to game lands ($36) Combination Hunting and Inland Fishing — Offers statewide small game hunting and inland fishing for residents during a license term. Does not include big game (deer, bear or turkey), access to public game lands or public mountain trout waters ($25) Additional Hunting Privileges (Can be added to any of the above) Big game — Allows hunting of deer, bear and turkey. ($13) Game lands — Allows access to North Carolina game lands. ($15) Bear Management E-Stamp — Required to hunt bear. ($10) Hunters 16 and older must purchase a license. Licenses can be purchased online or at authorized retail stores. For a full listing of licenses available, and purchasing information, click to All rates listed are for North Carolina residents. Different rates may apply for out-of-state visitors. views of North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains to the south, Tennessee’s Cherokee National Forest to the west and Virginia’s Grayson Highlands to the North. At 2,900 acres, Pond Mountain is one of the largest public-access game lands in the state, and can be accessed via Rock Fence Road, approximately a 45-minute drive from West Jefferson. In addition to parking areas, there are a also campsites on the property. Deer, bear, rabbit, raccoons, squirrel and grouse can be found here. Important: It should be noted that there is also a Christmas Tree farm on part of this game land. Hunters should avoid hunting in areas where farming operations

are taking place.

LUTZ TRACT Located along the pristine waters of the Wilson Creek, the Lutz Tract is most easily accessible by N.C. Hwy. 90, which can be reached by following Globe Road out of Blowing Rock, or via Roseboro Road from Linville. The 422-acre tract of land has multiple parking areas along N.C. 90 and Brown Mountain Beach Road. The area is also known for its fly fishing and camping. Hunters should exercise caution in the area. SEE HUNTING ON PAGE 48







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Important: Those hunting bear in the area should be aware that the area on the west side of N.C. 90 and Brown Mountain Beach Road is part of the Daniel Boone Bear Sanctuary, where hunting is only allowed by permit.

LITTLE TABLE ROCK MOUNTAIN AND ROSE CREEK TRACTS The Little Table Rock Mountain Tract is composed of 544 acres in Avery, Mitchell and McDowell Counties. Snaking alongside the Blue Ridge Parkway, this land is accessible from the Parkway via Jacksontown Road, which turns into Humpback Mountain Road. Humpback Mountain Road can also be accessed via Altapass Highway from Spruce Pine. Approximately one mile south of the Little Table Rock Tract, The Rose Creek Tract is accessible via Jacksontown Road and the Altapass Highway. Important: Hikers may be encountered in these areas. Exercise caution.

ROARING CREEK TRACT The Roaring Creek Tract, named for the loud stream that gives the area its name, is located less than a mile from the


FILE PHOTO White-tailed deer are among the most commonly hunted animals in Western North Carolina. During the 2016-17 hunting seasons, a total of 4,950 whitetailed deer were harvested in the High Country.

Tennessee state line in Avery County. The 136-acre tract is accessible via Roaring Creek Road, off of U.S. Hwy. 19-E in Avery County between the communities of Frank and Plumtree.

MORE INFORMATION For outdoorsmen hoping to enjoy hunting in the High Country this fall, the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission has a wealth of information available on its website, From information and regulations regarding hunting and fishing to educational tools and wildlife facts, this is the best place to start for any aspiring hunter.

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Watauga, Ashe, Wilkes, Alleghany Archery — Sept. 9 to Nov. 3 Blackpowder — Nov. 4 to Nov. 17 Gun — Nov. 18, 2017 to Jan. 1, 2018 Avery, Mitchell, Caldwell, Burke, McDowell, Yancey Archery — Sept. 9 to Oct. 10 (Either sex), Oct. 15 to Nov. 19 (Either sex), Dec. 10 to Jan. 1 (antlered deer only) Black powder — Oct. 2 to Oct. 13 (Antlered deer only), Oct. 14 (Either-sex) Gun — Nov. 20 to Dec. 9 Either-sex harvest is allowed the last six open days of the regular gun season, from Dec. 4 to 9. Limits — No daily limit, six per season. Limit of two antlered deer per season. All six deer can be antlerless for all areas of the state. Restrictions — Deer hunting with dogs is prohibited. It is illegal to intentionally shine a light between the hours of 30 minutes after sunset and 30 minutes before sunrise.


Oct. 16 to Nov.18 and Dec. 11 to Jan. 1, 2018 Limits — One per day, one per season Restrictions — It is unlawful to take a cub (less than 75 pounds) or a female bear with cub(s). It is also illegal to hunt bear on a designated bear sanctuary. (See the information below on bear sanctuaries.) Bear Sanctuaries — Bear may not be taken in those parts of counties included in the following sanctuaries, except by permit: Daniel Boone Bear Sanctuary in Avery, Burke and Caldwell Mt. Mitchell Bear Sanctuary in McDowell and Yancey For information on hunting dates and permit information within the sanctuaries, click to


Not in season until spring.

Raccoon and Opossum Oct. 16 to Feb. 28 Three raccoons per day, no season limit Restrictions — Axes and saws may not be carried while hunting these animals It is unlawful to shoot a raccoon during the daytime west of U.S. 1


Gray and Red — Oct. 16 to Feb. 28 Eight per day, no season limit. Fox squirrel (Ashe, Alleghany, Watauga, Wilkes) — Oct. 16 to Dec. 31. One per day, two in possession, ten per season


Nov. 18 to Feb. 28. Five per day, no season limit


Nov. 18 to Feb. 28. Six per day, 12 possession, no season limit


Oct. 16 to Feb. 28. Three per day, six possession, 30 per season


Oct. 16 to Feb. 28, No limits

Groundhog, Coyote, Skunk, Feral Swine Open Season, No limits. Feral Swine may be hunted at night with lights. Coyotes may be hunted at night.


Nov. 18 to Feb 1 (Males only), three per day, six possession, 30 per season.


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May be taken with dogs year round, no limits. For detailed information on fox hunting in each county, click to

Migratory Game Birds

The Regulations for hunting migratory game birds and waterfowl are extensive and vary throughout the state. For more information, click to

Further Details

For complete listings of all regulations regarding licenses, hunting, fishing and trapping, see the 2017-18 North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission Regluations Digest, available online by clicking to, or attached to the online version of this article at




Fishing Bountiful waters await BY MATT DEBNAM


hey are the arteries and veins of our mountains. From gentle, lazy rivers to rushing torrents and waterfalls, the waterways of the High Country provide unparalleled recreation opportunities for residents and visitors alike. Yet for those with the patience, these rich waters hide a bounty just beneath the surface. From the hardcore angler to the little one looking to catch his or her first fish, the High Country is blessed with plenty of places to fish. From the region’s easily accessible ponds, lakes and rivers to the miles of public mountain trout waters, there are copious opportunities for fishing in the area.

PUBLIC ACCESS AREAS Through partnerships with federal and local governments, along with private landowners in the area, the North Carolina Wildlife Resource commission maintains a database of areas accessible to the public for fishing. While some are as simple as access to a riverbank, others have handicap-accessible fishing piers and canoe access points. For a full map of these access points, visit www. In addition to fishing access, this site can also assist anglers in determining which waters are designated as Public

Mountain Trout Waters, which have additional regulations in place and require trout privileges on a fishing license.

FAMILY OUTINGS For a family-friendly fishing outing, there are many easily accessible public ponds in Avery, Ashe and Watauga. Some of the more popular destinations for families include Trout Lake, Lansing Park and Ashe Park Pond in Ashe County, Blowing Rock’s Broyhill Park, Price Lake, Coffey Lake in Watauga, and Wildcat Lake and Newland’s Shoemaker Park in Avery.

signage in the area to ensure they are in compliance with regulations.



The Pisgah National Forest is a well known haven for fish and anglers, and miles upon miles of creeks and rivers await the adventurous fisherman. One of the most easily accessible, and most popular, destination for trout fishing in the forest is the Wilson Creek area, which boasts brook trout, brown trout, rainbow trout, redbrest sunfish and small mouth bass. While deep in the backcountry, this area offers those willing to travel access to fishing along the bank, canoe access, and a handicap-accessible fishing pier. It should be noted that all Pisgah National Forest waters are designated as Public Mountain Trout Waters. Wilson Creek in particular is a Delayed Harvest Trout Water, and additional restrictions apply. Anglers should pay attention to

Those seeking a rustic trout fishing experience in a scenic locale can look no further than the Linville Gorge Wilderness Area. With multiple access points

LICENSE INFORMATION Annual Sportsman — Combination hunting/fishing license. Allows hunting of all game, access to public game lands and public mountain trout waters. ($50) Senior Sportsman — Same as above, but for senior citizens ($15) 10 day Inland Fishing (basic) — Does not allow access to Public Mountain Trout Waters. ($10) Annual State Inland Fishing (basic) — Does not allow access to Public Mountain Trout Waters. ($36) Trout fishing privileges — May be added on to any basic license. ($13) Mountain Heritage Trout Communities — The towns of Lansing, Todd, Beech Mountain and Newland are designated as Mountain Heritage Trout Communities. Residents and non-residents can purchase a 3-day pass to fish in trout waters flowing through these communities for $5. These licenses can be purchased by phone at (888) 248-6834, or online at Anglers age 16 and older must purchase a fishing license. Licenses can be purchased online or at authorized retail stores. For a full listing of licenses available, and purchasing information, click to All rates listed are for North Carolina residents. Different rates may apply for out-of-state visitors.

FILE PHOTO The waters of the High Country are teeming with trout, and the autumn season is the perfect time to try your luck.

along Old N.C. 105, the Hatchery Supported Trout Waters of the Linville River require Public Mountain Trout Waters privileges. Because of the remote and rugged nature of the terrain in the gorge, hikers SEE FISHING ON PAGE 50

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are encouraged to contact the U.S. Forest Service before embarking on a trip into the area. The Linville Gorge is also accessible from U.S. 221, N.C. 181, and N.C. 183. Call the U.S. Forest Service at (828) 6524841 for more information.

REGULATIONS For complete listings of all regulations regarding licenses, hunting, fishing and trapping, see the 2017-18 North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission Regulations Digest, available online by clicking to Laws-Safety, or attached to the online version of this article at

GETTING THE GEAR Before setting out, the first step is ensuring that you and your party have the proper equipment. Throughout the high country, a number of outfitters will be able to help you determine the best tools for the job. For those hoping to test the waters of trout fishing for the first time, or who simply want to let someone else handle the logistics of their fishing expedition, a number of companies offer guided trips to locations throughout the area. Watauga River Fly Shop 5712 N.C. 105 South, Boone (828) 963-5463

THE MOUNTAIN TIMES AUTUMN GUIDE Elk Creek Outfitters 1560 N.C. 105, Boone (828) 264-6497 Due South Outfitters 1082 East King St Suite 6, Boone (828) 355-9109 Wildlife Unlimited 1864 Old Hwy. 421 South, Boone (828) 386-4241 Mountains to Coast Fishing and Hunting Guide Service (828) 355-3474 Appalachian Angler Fly Shop 174 Old Shulls Mill Rd., Boone (828) 963-5050 Foscoe Fishing Company and Outfitters 8857 N.C. 105, Foscoe (828) 963-6556 Hikemore Adventures 9245 N.C. 181, Jonas Ridge (828) 595-4453 Highland Outfitters 4210 Mitchell Ave, Linville (828) 733-2181 RiverGirl Fishing Company 4041 Todd Railroad Grade Rd, Todd 336-877-3099

HIGH COUNTRY FISHING ACCESS ASHE COUNTY Ashe Park Pond (2 acres) 527 Ashe Park Rd, Jefferson Bluegill, Brook trout (stocked), Brown trout (stocked), Channel catfish (stocked), Largemouth bass, Rainbow trout (stocked) Bank access, fishing pier, handicap accessible Lansing Park/Lansing Greenway 114 S Big Horse Creek Rd, Lansing Brook trout (stocked), Brown trout (stocked), Rainbow trout (stocked) Fishing Pier, handicap accessible Delayed Harvest Trout Waters Crumpler Public Fishing Area 7966 N.C. 16, Crumpler Brook trout (stocked), Brown trout (stocked), Rainbow trout (stocked), Redbreast sunfish, Rock bass, Smallmouth bass Bank access, canoe access Riverview Community Center 11719 N.C. 88 West, Creston Rainbow trout (stocked), Brown trout (stocked, wild), Brook trout (stocked) Bank Access, canoe access Hatchery Supported Trout Waters Highway 16/88


IMAGES COURTESY N.C. WILDLIFE RESOURCES COMMISSION When fishing in the High Country, you may encounter signs such as these posted along waterways, designating the area as Public Mountain Trout Waters. Additional regulations apply in these areas, and one must possess trout privileges on his or her fishing license to fish in these waters.

PUBLIC MOUNTAIN TROUT WATERS Those wishing to try their hand at trout fishing may encounter streams, creeks and rivers designated as Public Mountain Trout Waters. In order to fish in these areas, one must have Public Mountain Trout Water privileges on their fishing license. Regulations for each of these Wild Trout Waters — Open Year round. Daily creel limit of four fish, must be 7 inches long. Restricted to artificial lures with a single hook. Hachery Supported Trout Waters — Open Aug. 1, 2017 – Feb. 28, 2018. Daily creel limit of 7, no size limit or bait and lure restrictions. No Closed season in Linville River and Linville Gorge Wilderness Area. Delayed Harvest Trout Waters — Different regulations based on time of year. Through Sept. 30 — Daily creel limit of seven, no restrictions on size or lures. Oct. 1 to Sept. to June 1, 2018 — No trout may be possessed. Restricted to artificial lures with a single hook. Natural bait may not be possessed. Catch and Release/Artificial Lures Only Trout Waters — No closed season, no trout or natural bait may be possessed. Restricted to artificial lures with a single hook. Catch and Release/Artificial Flies Only Trout Waters — No closed season, no trout or natural bait may be possessed. Restricted to artificial flies with a single hook.

166 Bill Bledsoe Rd, Jefferson Redbreast sunfish, Rock bass, Smallmouth bass Bank access, canoe access Wagoner Access 1477 Wagoner Access Rd, Jefferson Redbreast sunfish, Rock bass, Smallmouth bass Bank access, canoe access Trout Lake (2 acres) Brook trout (stocked), Brown trout (stocked), Rainbow trout (stocked) Bank access, fishing pier, handicap accessible Delayed Harvest Trout Waters 221 Access New River State Park Road, Laurel Springs Redbreast sunfish, Rock bass, Smallmouth bass Bank access, canoe access Todd Public Fishing Access 3499 Todd Railroad Grade Road, Todd Brook trout (stocked), Brown trout (stocked), Rainbow trout (stocked), Redbreast sunfish, Rock bass, Smallmouth bass Canoe access Todd Island Public Access 1273 Railroad Grade Road, Todd Brook trout (stocked), Brown trout (stocked), Rainbow trout (stocked), Redbreast sunfish, Rock bass, Smallmouth bass Bank access, canoe access





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Camping with your canine W


hat makes a good camping trip even better? Bringing along man’s (or woman’s) best friend. But before you travel to the campground with your dog, make sure you keep a few things in mind. First, make sure you bring the necessities. Food, supplies, a leash and doggie bags are a must, plus any medicines or other materials specific to your pet. Also, know the rules of the campground. Some campgrounds are more pet-friendly than others. By reading the rules and regulations of your planned destination, you can ensure that you, your dog and others have a good time. Vaccinations are critical before taking your dog into mother nature. Keeping your pet healthy is a high priority, and being up-to-date medically is a strong start. Also, remember to continually check pets for ticks. Next, make sure your dog stays near you. Keep them close. Be careful not to let them drink from any body of water that could be harmful to them. Also, keeping them on a leash is a nice courtesy to others on the property. Weather conditions could turn bad, so be prepared with alternatives to keep your pet warm, dry, clean, cool and more. Remember that the weather can always change in the High Country, so pack for it. A dog that is trained and obedient is a big plus on the campground. By practicing with your dog beforehand, you can make sure that they do not stray or bother other campers. And lastly, enjoy being with your companion. Bring your pup’s favorite ball or toy and spend some quality time with your furry friend!


Delayed Harvest Trout Waters WATAUGA COUNTY Green Valley Community Park 3896 Big Hill Rd, Todd Brown trout, Redbreast sunfish, Rock bass, Smallmouth bass Bank access, canoe access Pine Run Access 1806 Pine Run Rd, Boone Brown trout, Redbreast sunfish, Rock bass, Smallmouth bass Bank access, canoe access Powder Horn Mountain Access Near intersection Elk Creek Rd. and Powder Horn Mountain Road Brown trout, Redbreast sunfish, Smallmouth bass Bank Access Catch and release, artificial lures only Brookshire Park 250 Brookshire Rd, Boone Brook trout (stocked), Brown trout (stocked), Rainbow trout (stocked), Redbreast sunfish, Rock bass Bank access Hatchery Supported Trout Waters Hwy. 421 Canoe Access 166 New River Hills, Boone Brook trout (stocked), Brown trout (stocked), Rainbow trout (stocked), Redbreast sunfish, Rock bass

PHOTO BY COLIN TATE Be prepared when taking your pup into the great outdoors.

Bank Access, Canoe Access Hatchery Supported Trout Waters Boone Greenway 200 Casey Lane, 607 Deerfield Rd, Boone Brown trout, Rainbow trout, Redbreast sunfish, Rock bass Bank Access Mountain Trout Waters regulations apply along certain portions of the Greenway Bass Lake (21 acres) 1 Bass Lake Drive, Blowing Rock Bluegill, Largemouth bass, Redbreast sunfish Bank access Price Lake (45 acres) Blue Ridge Parkway mile marker 296 Brook trout (stocked), Brown trout (stocked), Bullhead sp., Rainbow trout (stocked), Redbreast sunfish Trout Lake (15 acres) 4777 Shulls Mill Rd, Blowing Rock Bluegill, Largemouth bass, Redbreast sunfish Bank access Broyhill Park (3 acres) 243 Laurel Ln, Blowing Rock Bluegill, Largemouth bass, Redbreast sunfish Bank Access, fishing pier Buckeye Creek Reservoir (7 acres) 1330 Pine Ridge Rd, Beech Mountain Bluegill, Brook trout (stocked), Brown trout (stocked), Channel catfish (stocked), Rainbow trout (stocked) Bank Access, rental boats Hachery Supported Trout Waters Coffey Lake (2 Acres) 111 Lakeledge Rd, Beech Mountain

Brook trout (stocked), Brown trout (stocked), Rainbow trout (stocked), Redbreast sunfish Bank access, fishing pier, handicap accessible Pond Creek Trail 117 Lakeledge Rd, Beech Mountain Brook trout Bank access Catch and release, artificial lures only Valle Crucis Park 2892 Broadstone Rd, Valle Crucis Brook trout (stocked), Brown trout (stocked), Rainbow trout (stocked) Bank access Delayed Harvest Trout Waters Watauga Gorge 2531 Old Watauga River Rd, Sugar Grove Brook trout (stocked), Brown trout (stocked), Rainbow trout (stocked), Redbreast sunfish, Rock bass, Smallmouth bass Bank access

AVERY COUNTY Roby Shomaker Park 419 Pharmacy Street, Newland Brook trout (stocked), Brown trout (stocked), Rainbow trout (stocked) Bank access, fishing pier, handicap accessible Hatchery Supported Trout Waters Wildcat Lake (13 acres) 4588 Hickory Nut Gap Rd, Banner Elk Bluegill, Brook trout (stocked), Brown trout (stocked), Largemouth bass, Rainbow trout (stocked) Hatchery Supported Trout Waters




Outdoor adventures in the High Country attractions such as the New River, Virginia Creeper Trail and Downtown West Jefferson at Helton Creek Campground. The site is nestled on the banks of a creek and offers tent camping, as well as full RV hookups.



raving the outdoors? The High Country has the perfect getaway just for you. Listed below are 14 options for you and your friends and family to enjoy through the area. Be careful, though. Once you’ve visited the outdoors, you may not want to go back.

HONEY BEAR CAMPGROUND 229 Honey Bear Campground Road Boone (828) 963-4586 Travelers on the Blue Ridge Parkway or N.C. Highway 105 can easily access Honey Bear Campground in Boone. The campground offers tent and RV camping, as well as recreation, including fishing and hiking.

NEW RIVER STATE PARK CAMPGROUND Named a National Wild and Scenic Rive in 1976, the New River travels through gorgeous scenery. If you want to camp and be on the water in the same weekend, this campground is your best bet. Kayaks and canoes can be rented from Zaloo’s canoes and by-boat travelers can access three different campgrounds. The main campground is located at 358 New River State Park Road in Laurel Springs. Call (336) 982-2587.

PHOTO SUBMITTED Camping with family and friends is a great way to spend your time in the High Country.




Located in the Pisgah National Forest, the Linville Gorge has been called the “Grand Canyon of North Carolina.” With a gorge that drops 2,000 feet providing unimaginable views coupled with endless opportunities for outdoor adventure, Linville Gorge is for the inner thrill-seeker in you. Permits are required weekends and holidays May 1 to Oct. 31 and can be obtained at the District Ranger’s Office in Marion from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on weekdays. Walk-in permits for the current week must be obtained at the Linville Gorge Information Cabin on Kistler Memorial Highway, open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day.

196 Blue Bear Mountain Road Todd (828) 406-4226 Just eight miles from Boone, this facility offers primitive tent camping, as well as less remote RV and cabin sites on over 150 acres of natural land. If camping is just a way for you to live a lacish life outdoors, the campground also offers “glamping,” the unique experience of tepee camping, fully furnished with a queen-size bed and fine linens.

171 Flintlock Campground Drive, N.C. 105 Boone (828) 963-5325 Conveniently located in the town of Boone, Flintlock Campground offers quaint camping cabins, tent sites and full RV hookups to suit every kind of camper. The campground is also located beside a mountain stream. However, if you need to check some e-mails or catch up on the latest season of your favorite show, the site offers free Wi-Fi and cable TV.

GRANDFATHER MOUNTAIN STATE PARK The Grandfather Mountain trail system offers 13 no-cost camping sites, provided the campers register. Vehicles must be left at either Profile Trail or Blue Ridge Parkway trailheads. However, it is recommended that campers bring water and gas-powered cooking stoves, because amenities are not available. The only site along the trail that is available for advanced reservations is the Daniel Boone campsite, for groups of seven to 12 campers. To make reservations, visit or call (828) 963-9522.



BUCK HILL CAMPGROUND 6401 U.S. 19-E South Plumtree (828) 766-6162 Buck Hill Campground is family-friendly and offers RV sites equipped with picnic tables, fire pits and full hookups along 1,600 feet of the North Toe River. The campground also provides 144 acres of hiking trails, a lazy river and trout-filled waters.

DOWN BY THE RIVER CAMPGROUND 292 River Campground Road Pineola (828) 733-5057 Stay high up in the mountains at Down by the River Campground, at an elevation of 3,350 feet. RV and tent sites are framed by beautiful landscaping and the scenic Linville River.

Blue Ridge Parkway, milepost 297 (828) 963-5911 For a beautiful view by the water, this campsite is located on the Blue Ridge Parkway beside Price Lake. It offers non-electric RV sites and tent sites with access to hiking, fishing, boat rentals and picnic facilities.

KOA 123 Harmony Mountain Lane Boone (828) 264-7250 Located just outside of the Boone town limits off of N.C. 194, the Boone KOA Campground has tent sites, cabins and full RV hookups.

RACCOON HOLLER CAMPGROUND GRANDFATHER CAMPGROUND 125 Profile View Road Banner Elk (828) 355-4535 Grandfather Campground is conveniently located near the towns of Boone, Blowing Rock, Banner Elk and Beech Mountain. The campground also has tent sites and cabins available for rental. The campground also includes a playground, deluxe bathhouses, picnic tables and fishing. Fisherman can enjoy a stocked trout pond next door or try their luck in the Watauga River.

HELTON CREEK CAMPGROUND 2145 Helton Road Grassy Creek (336) 384-2320 Stay in Ashe County just minutes from

493 Raccoon Holler Road Jefferson (336) 982-2706 Just outside of Glendale Springs and adjacent to the Blue Ridge Parkway, Raccoon Holler Campground is perfect for RV and tent campers who can enjoy swimming, hiking, canoeing, fishing and community events at an elevation of more than 3,200 feet.

VANDERPOOL CAMPGROUND 120 Campground Road Vilas (828) 297-3486 Just seven miles outside of Boone, this family oriented campground is a site for RV and tent campers. Amidst beautiful scenery, it offers Wi-Fi, outdoor games, horseshoes, a beanbag toss and volleyball.




Unique, indoor climbing experience



he High Country has a long history of unpredictable and sometimes severe weather. Sometimes, it’s nice when you get surprised by a light shower on a hot day, but it can ruin plans to go climbing. Rock climbing outdoors in inclement weather is not only a bad time, but can also be dangerous. Luckily, the High Country features Center 45, an indoor climbing facility with 2,000 square feet of bouldering space. Center 45 started in 2015, the brainchild of three Appalachian State students who wanted to fill the need of a high-quality indoor climbing facility, which the local climbing community lacked at that point. The climbing facility is open seven days per week from noon-9 p.m. Sunday-Friday, and noon-8 p.m. on Saturday. Every week, the route setters at Center 45 re-work the 14-foot climbing walls, making every experience a new and fun SEE CLIMBING ON PAGE 60

PHOTO SUBMITTED The climbing wall at Center 45 has become a popular destination for those interested in improving their bouldering skills.

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Outdoor climbing in the High Country BY IAN TAYLOR


ock climbing is a great way to get outside and enjoy the fresh air in the High Country. Despite the picturesque views and natural beauty of climbing in the High Country, climbing itself can be a very intimidating endeavor for newcomers to the activity. Luckily, Boone is home to Rock Dimensions, a climbing and guide company that excels at introducing people to rock climbing. Anyone who has spent time in downtown Boone has noticed the large climbing wall next to Footsloggers. That would be Rock Dimension’s 40foot climbing tower, which is the focal point of its “Tower to Rock” instructional program. The “Tower to Rock” program is a great introduction to the world of climbing, combining a two to two-and-a-half-hour course on the tower the first day and a half-day climb on real rock the next day. All required equipment is provided, and the course is designed to be a full dive into the world of climbing. The cost varies

based on how many people are in the group, ranging from $85 to $125 per person. Something special about climbing is that there is no wrong age to start. Climbing is something that young people can be introduced to in a safe environment. Rock Dimensions also holds camps for children ages 8-16 to begin their life in the climbing world, with a five-day camp that takes participants through the ins and outs of climbing. A related activity to climbing is caving, which is the exploration of some of the High Country’s beautiful natural caves. Rock Dimensions offers caving experiences, but those are mainly for larger groups and can be more expensive than their climbing counterparts. Another company offering a caving experience is River & Earth Adventures. River & Earth Adventures features access to one of the largest caves in the region, Worley’s Cave. The cave has more than seven miles of passages and open areas to explore. Caving allows you to search through natural caves, narrow corridors and

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GREAT PLACES TO CLIMB IN THE AREA Boulders at Grandmother Mountain – To get there, park at the Grandfather Mountain parking overlook and walk south for about 100 yards and follow the trail into the woods. Beacon Heights – Great place for beginners or children. From Boone, take N.C. 105 South, turn left on US 221. Once you arrive to the Blue Ridge Parkway intersection, take a left until you hit Mile Post 305.2. Park your car and you will notice the trail. Linville Gorge – The entire are of Linville gorge is spotted with great spots for climbing. Each is unique, so there’s a style and difficulty for anyone who visits.

shallow ceilings lit only by the light you bring in there. It can be pretty claustrophobic at certain times, but if that’s not a problem then it can be a fascinating trip into a new world. Rock Dimensions can be found at, and contacted at (828) 265-3544 or (888) 595-6009.

FILE PHOTO The Rock Dimensions climbing tower in downtown Boone allows climbers of all ages and skill levels to challenge themselves before taking on the real thing.


adventure for visitors. Center 45 also offers a workout area that includes all kinds of free weights, aerobic machines and core exercise spaces. Aerial fitness classes are also available, where highly-trained instructors teach the acrobatics of aerial silks. A day pass costs $14 for adults and $12 for kids 12 and younger, veterans, police, firefighters and teachers. Center 45 also offers memberships, with the standard packages at $69 per month and $529 per year. For those without the proper shoes and people who would like a little extra grip, the climbing center has shoe and climbing chalk rentals for $4 and $2 a day respectively, and a $5 deal for both. Daily deals include $10 passes on Tuesdays, $10 passes on Fridays for college students, and a Ladies Night deal for $10 passes after 5 p.m. on Wednesdays. Center 45 is located at 200 Den Mac Drive, Boone; and can be found online at, or called at (828) 386-1550.

PHOTO BY STEVE BEHR Appalachian State junior Josh Sexton of Asheville scales one of the climbing walls at Center 45 Climbing and Fitness in Boone.




Spook-tacular fun at Tweetsie’s Ghost Train Tweetsie Christmas debuts on Nov. 24 BY JEFF EASON


ctober is the spookiest month of the year and many folks in the High Country love to get their “spook on” by riding the Ghost Train at Tweetsie Railroad. The Ghost Train returns to Tweetsie on Friday and Saturday nights from Sept. 22 through Oct. 28 this year. Gates open each evening at 7:30 p.m. Tweetsie’s Ghost Train and Halloween Festival transforms the Wild West theme park into a frightfully haunted park, complete with train ride into the night, haunted house, Spice Ghouls dance troupe, Creepy Carnival, 3-D Maze, disorienting Black Hole, trick-or-treating on Main Street, and other attractions. The stars of the Ghost Train are the macabre locomotive leading passengers into scary adventures and its conductor, Casey Bones. They are joined by ringmaster Darkus Knight and his host of horrible henchmen (and henchwomen!). Ghost Train takes the spirit of Halloween and adds tons of funs, carnival rides and unique look at the High Country during our “peak season.” Ghost Train is part of Tweetsie Railroad’s 60th anniversary celebration and part of the centennial of the theme park’s No. 12 locomotive. Tickets for Tweetsie Railroad’s Ghost Train and Halloween Festival are $38 per person. To ensure guests can make the most out of their Ghost Train ride, tickets are sold in advance for a designated night with a scheduled ride time. For more information, visit tweetsie. com or call (828) 295-9061.

TWEETSIE CHRISTMAS The High Country’s newest holiday tradition will be rolling down the tracks at Tweetsie this year. Celebrate the joy of the season when Tweetsie transforms into a winter wonderland for the inaugural

PHOTO BY JOE CIARLANTE Every year, one of Tweetsie Railroad’s locomotives is transformed into a hellish engine of the night for Ghost Train.

Tweetsie Christmas. The event takes place on Friday and Saturday evenings from Friday, Nov. 24 through Saturday, Dec. 30. At Tweetsie Christmas, visitors will experience an evening full of holiday festivities for the entire family. Santa Claus will arrive on the first train of the night and head to his workshop at the Tweetsie Pavilion, where children can share their Christmas wishlists and have their photos taken. Engine No. 12, fondly known as “Tweetsie,” will take guests on a train ride through the blustery Blue Ridge Mountains, along a special route decorated with a spectacular display of twinkling lights. Tweetsie Christmas will also include carolers, a live Christmas show, s’mores by the fire pit and a chance to pick out the perfect Christmas tree. Tickets for Tweetsie Christmas are $38 per person.

PHOTO SUBMITTED Members of the Spice Ghouls dance troupe meet with fans during Tweetsie’s Ghost Train event.






or 60 years, Tweetsie Railroad has been creating memories and offering a family friendly Wild West adventure. On July 4, 1957, Tweetsie Railroad opened at her new location just a few miles away from the old East Tennessee and Western North Carolina Railroad (ET&WNC) station in Boone. People came from all over the South to take a one-mile trip behind Locomotive No. 12 to a picnic area and then back up to the station. In the following years, Tweetsie Railroad evolved from an excursion railroad into North Carolina’s first theme park. Locomotive No. 12 is the last surviving narrow-gauge steam locomotive of the East Tennessee and Western North Carolina Railroad (ET&WNC), which ran train service from Johnson City, Tennessee to Boone, North Carolina from 1919 to 1940. When Tweetsie Railroad opened in 1957, this was its sole locomotive. Locomotive No. 12 was built in 1917, and at 100-years old, is a part of the National Historic Register.

TIPS FOR VISITING TWEETSIE IN THE FALL 1. Plan ahead by visiting for hours, special events and show times. • August 21 – October 29, the Park is open for daytime operations on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, from 9:00 a.m. to 6 p.m. • September 22 – October 28, the Park is open for Ghost Train® on Friday and Saturday evenings, 7:30 p.m. – 11:30 p.m. 2. Save time and money by purchasing your tickets on line. Tickets ordered by phone carry an additional $2.00 fee. 3. Get the next day free. When you enter the

Park after 3 p.m., you can re-enter the next day for free. (Not valid for Ghost Train® or Tweetsie Christmas) 4. Check the weather. It has been known to snow in October! 5. Wear good shoes. The Park is located in the mountains and you will do lots of walking! There is a chair lift and bus up to Miner’s Mountain, but you still have to do some walking once you get there. 6. Bring some change. Admission includes all the rides, shows and entertainment throughout the park. Food and retail items are not included. You will want to purchase at least one cone for 50 cents to feed the animals in Deer Park. 7. There is more to Tweetsie Railroad than a train. While the historic trains are the center of attention, you can also enjoy the amusement rides, petting a

deer in the Deer Park, panning for gold or gem mining on Miner’s Mountain, and so much more. 8. Don’t forget the live shows. They are the perfect option for a little down time and to settle stomachs between eating and hitting the amusement rides. • Wild West Train Adventure • Diamond Lil’s Can-Can Revue • Tweetsie Railroad Country Clogging Jamboree (last show on Labor Day) • Hopper and Porter’s™ Musical Celebration • Miner’s Mountain Magic 9. Photos are the perfect keep sake. Have your family’s photo taken a least once by the Park’s photographers and check in with the Photo Depot to view the perfect photo to use for your next Christmas card. Digital images are available for unlimited use. 10. Consider a Golden Rail Season Pass Upgrade if you plan on visiting more than one day. Pass Holders receive unlimited admission to daytime operations, one train ride during Day Out With Thomas™ and Ghost Train ®, discounted admission to Tweetsie Christmas and other area attractions. 11. Pick up your purchase at the end of the day. You don’t have to carry that package all day, the Park provides a package pick-up service available from any retail store to the Happy Trails Toy Shop (located at the entrance) to pick up later in the day as you exit the Park. 12. Plan to come back for Tweetsie Christmas. For the first time in its 60 year history, Tweetsie Railroad will be open on Friday and Saturday evenings, November 24- December 30, 5:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. to celebrate the holidays. Guests will have the opportunity to see the Park all aglow with thousands of lights along the nighttime train ride and along Main Street, meet Santa in his larger than life Gingerbread House, enjoy a live Christmas Show, warm up to a fire while making your own s’mores, and more.










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Taking on mountain biking trails in the High Country V


isitors looking to immerse themselves in the autumn mountain atmosphere will find tons of mountain biking trails that will be sure to not disappoint. While some prefer to bike along paved roads, others like a more rugged adventure. The main difference between mountain biking and road cycling is the terrain of which its done on, said Kristian Jackson, trail boss for a local cycling club —Boone Area Cyclists. While road bikes are built more for speed, the thicker tires and shock systems on a mountain bike are meant to handle rocky, mountainous trails. The High Country offers a variety of opportunities for those wanting to take the challenge of mastering the mountain terrain. For more novice riders of children, Jackson recommended the Kerr Scott Trail System in Wilkesboro. Kerr Scott offers three main trail networks: Dark Mountain, Overmountain Victory Trail and Warrior Creek. The Dark Mountain trail network at Kerr Scott features multiple loops of single track trails through a forest, into a rhododendron tunnel, past an old homestead, alongside a pony pasture and beside a lake. The Overmountain Victory Trail is the least difficult of the trails as it is designed as an out-andback trail with a way one mileage of six miles. Warrior Creek combines with the


Visit each mountain biking park website for trail maps as well as additional information on the trails. Rocky Knob Park in Boone: rockyknob. Kerr Scott Trail System in Wilkesboro: Beech Mountain Emerald Outback Trails in Beech Mountain:

previously named trail networks for a 13 mile ride with “super stacked” berms and banked turns. Rocky Knob Park just east of Boone provides a trail system for intermediate and higher skilled level riders, Jackson said. Rocky Knob features an 185-acre park with eight miles of trails for a variety of different skill levels. The park has a pump track — a track with dirt rollers and berms to challenge riders to “pump” their bikes forward without pedaling. For children, Rocky Knob also has a wooden adventure playground. This Watauga County Park and Recreation operated park can be found on U.S. 421, two miles passed the N.C. 194 junction in Boone. For cross country riders seeking an adventurous outing, Jackson recommended Beech Mountain Emerald Outback Trails in Beech Mountain. The Emerald Outback offers bikers about seven miles of trails at the high elevation of 5,400 feet. These trails are mostly single-track and double-track, with a few grassy roads and a gravel

PHOTO BYKRISTIAN JACKSON Silas Jackson and Jude Jackson take on mountain biking trails at Rocky Knob Park.

road. To find this trail system, Jackson said to travel to the adjacent parking lot to the Beech Mountain Visitor Center or the trailhead and Pinnacle Ridge Road. Before deciding where to mountain bike, Jackson suggested researching what trails would be most appropriate for a cyclist’s skill set. He also recommended making sure to have the tools needed for fixing a flat tire or other mechanical issues that could happen while riding. Since mountain biking involves

being in nature and further away from civilized resources, Jackson urged that riders be prepared to not have cell service. Being able to read a trail map and interpret route signs will come in handy when navigating where to go, he said. To find more mountain biking trails, Jackson said it might be helpful to download a couple smartphone Apps — MTB Project and Trailforks. These two Apps offer complete trail data, where to find trailheads, topographical maps and other key features to assist with mountain biking.

Cycling through the High Country BY KAYLA LASURE


othing quite compares to the feeling of riding a bicycle through the winding roads of the High Country. Whether someone is looking for a

leisure bike ride through a park, a longer tranquil ride or a challenging course with uphill climbs, the High Country has something for all cycling skill sets. Clinton Marsh, president of the local cycling club — Boone Area Cyclists — said a great place for cyclists of any

ability is the Greenway located in Boone. Marsh said the Greenway offers about 10 miles of flat paved or gravel trails for an easy ride. The Greenway is a fully accessible trail open for walkers, runners and cyclists that follows the South Fork of the New

River. The Greenway entrance can be found at the Watauga County Recreation Complex near State Farm Road or adjacent Clawson Burnley Park. For more information on the SEE CYCLING ON PAGE 68




Zip Lining offers high-flying thrills BY TROY BROOKS



ave you ever wanted to fly? A popular activity in the High Country that is guaranteed to give you an adrenaline rush, zip lining gives riders the chance to race through and over the tree tops at speeds of 50 miles per hour in the Appalachian Mountains while taking in breathtaking views of the autumn countryside. Ziplining offers a fun way for friends and families to get out to enjoy nature while exploring the beauty of the mountains in a thrilling adventure. For some, zip lining also provides a way for them to overcome their fears of heights and get their blood pumping as the ground below whips by their dangling feet. Safety is an important aspect of zip line tours in the mountains. Participants are required to wear harnesses, head protection and other gear while going on these tours, and guides are


Greenway, visit www.exploreboone. com/outdoors/hiking/boone-greenway. For those looking for another easy pace ride, Railroad Grade Road in Todd offers about 10 miles of paved road built on an old railroad grade. The road is open for walking pedestrians and cyclists. Marsh said riders can visit the Todd General Store on their ride and get a bite to eat. To get to Railroad Grade Road, take U.S. 221 South towards West Jefferson and turn on N.C. 194 to go to Todd. For more information on Railroad Grade Road, visit railroad-grade-road. Another route Marsh suggested was Old U.S. 421 near the Cove Creek Elementary School. This road offers a more gradual path for cyclists to cruise the backroads of Cove Creek, Zionville, Mabel and Sugar Grove. Marsh said people of this area are already used to looking out of cyclists. One of the more favorite spots for the more experienced cyclists in the High Country is the Blue Ridge Parkway. The Parkway spans 465 miles through Virginia and North Carolina and offers

Hawksnest 2058 Skyland Dr. Seven Devils (828) 963-6561

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Blind Squirrel Canopy Zipline Tour PHOTO BY TROY BROOKS Hawksnest offers two zip-lining courses for friends and families to experience high in the mountains of Seven Devils.

specially trained for several hours and days to give you a wild, yet safe ride, in the canopies of the High Country. Some of the places in the High Coun-

try that offer zip line tours are Hawksnest in Seven Devils, Sky Valley Zip Tours of Blowing Rock and Blind Squirrel Canopy Zipline Tour in Plumtree.

913 Big Plumtree Creek Road Plumtree (828) 765-2739

HAWKSNEST Located in the mountains up Seven SEE THRILLS ON PAGE 69

BICYCLE RENTALS Boone Bike Boone Bike offers road bike rentals for $75 for 24 hours, $50 for an extra day or $320 for a week. A bike will be rented to you on desired frame size based on height and pedal preference. Helmets are required, however, riders can borrow a free one. Call the store to rent a bike in advance. Location: 774 East King St., Boone Hours: Monday-Saturday: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Phone: (828) 262-5750

Magic Cycles Magic Cycles provides bicycle rentals at its Beech Mountain and Boone locations. Call the store ahead of time to make rental reservations. Location: 140 Depot St., Boone Hours: Monday – Thursday: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday – Saturday: 10 a.m. 8 p.m. Sunday: 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. Phone: Boone: (828) 265-2211 Beech Mountain: (828) 387-2739 scenic views of beautiful mountains with frequent overlook stops. However, ride with caution as there are not bicycle lanes along the route. Cyclists can travel onto the parkway by turning

PHOTO BY KAYLA LASURE Trent Blackburn and Nina Mastandrea enjoy an evening bike ride on the Blue Ridge Parkway.

onto it from U.S. 321 in Blowing Rock. For more information on the Blue Ridge Parkway, visit www.blueridgeparkway. org. Making sure to be prepared is important no matter what level of intensity or route a cyclist plans to take. Marsh said before heading out for a ride, a cyclist should be sure to wear their helmet, bring gear for various weather changes, make sure tires are inflated and have headlights/taillights if riding in the dark.

Marsh said he suggested mapping out a route ahead of time and being aware of ones surroundings at all times to keep safe. Cyclists should make themselves aware of state cycling laws to make sure they are staying safe around other road vehicles. For more ideas on places to ride around the High Country, stop into local bicycle shops — Boone Bike and Magic Cycles — and ask for employee suggestions.




Devils, Hawksnest offers two different courses, the Hawk and Eagle Routes. The courses feature 20 zips between the two, including four mega zips that are more than 1,500 feet long with speeds up to 50 miles per hour and heights of 200 feet in some spots. The routes offer great views of the mountains and valleys below and both courses offer different experiences, with the Eagle tour being more open and the Hawk tour passing through more woodland and foliage. “It’s the closest that you will ever get to flying,” said general manager Lenny Cottom. “It’s a lot of fun flying high over the trees and going fast with the ground far below you.” Prices for the tours are $80 per person for the Hawk Tour and $90 per person for the Eagle Tour. In addition, you can pay $140 to complete both tours in one full trip. Reservations are required and tickets are available online. Tours begin at 10 a.m., 12 p.m., 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. Each course takes about two hours to complete and about four hours for the full trip. Safety is a major priority as well for Hawksnest. Equipment and the courses are inspected everyday and checked for falling trees and other debris that may be in the path’s way. Hawksnest also has a third party that comes out every year to inspect the course. For more information on Hawksnest, visit or call (828) 963-6561.

PHOTO BY TROY BROOKS Joe Babcock takes a ride on the zipline at Hawksnest.

When you ride on Big Mama, the first zip of the Canopy Tour, you are soaring 300 feet in the air exposed to the heights with huge 360 degree views all around you as you cut across the valley. It’s that feeling of exposure flying high above the valley that puts butterflies in your stomach.” Costs for the Canopy Tour are $85 for people 18 and older and $75 for ages 10 to 18. Riders must be at least 10 years old to ride the tour. The price for the Whistle Peg Adventure Park is $40 per person. Safety is also another priority of Sky Valley and the park has established regulations and guidelines that must be followed. Everything is backed up, according to Sharp, and employees and guides are given many hours of extensive training for the job. Communication is a vital key to the safety of the course. For more information on Sky Valley, visit or call (855) 475-9947.


SKY VALLEY ZIP TOURS Located near Blowing Rock, Sky Valley Zip Tours offers thrill seekers young and old two courses; the Canopy Tour and the Whistle Peg Adventure Park. The main attraction of the valley, the Canopy Tour has been operating for six years and offers 10 zips, including a 45 foot cliff jump, a 45 foot cascading waterfall and a 120 foot high cable bridge over the creek. The entire course is nestled in the valley spanning about 40 acres through the woodlands. Its design uses the terrain to its advantage, providing plenty of natural barriers and scenes through the zips and providing a rustic Appalachian experience for friends and


PHOTO PROVIED BY SKY VALLEY Shawne Llewellyn takes a thrilling ride on the Sky Valley Zip Line near Blowing Rock.

families as they ride zips that soar high above the valley and race through the trees. This also marks the second year that Sky Valley has been operating the Whistle Peg Adventure Park, which is designed for children 4 and up. The Adventure Park offers seven zips, a bridge and a 20 foot slide out of the trees, offering a thrilling adventure for the younger members of the family. The park is located underneath the

Canopy Tour giving family members with younger kids a chance to see their friends and relatives flying high above their heads. “Zip lining offers people a new perspective of the land when they are off the ground, soaring in the higher elevations and viewing the topography in the mountains,” said General Manager Jack Sharp. “Whether they are coming from side to side, peak to peak or tree to tree, they get to see more of the landscape.

Featuring 11 zip lines and four sky bridges, the Blind Squirrel Canopy Zipline Tour, located in Avery County, gives riders the chance to experience a canopy tour, giving people a squirrel’s eye view of the retreat property. According to Zip Line Manager Peden Cobb, the tour lasts about three hours and is led by two professional rangers and participants are required to go through a brief ground school of training before starting the course. Tours take place year round. Costs for the tour are about $69 per person and for an additional $5, you can add a beer flight after your canopy tour at the tasting room and restaurant. The tour also runs specials for Halloween and the autumn season. All equipment is provided on site and participants are required to wear closed-toe shoes. Tours run rain or shine and each group is accompanied by a photographer. Flyers must be at least 10 years of age and weigh between 70 and 250 pounds. All equipment is provided for the tour, including security of a full body harness, helmet, trolley and gloves. The tour is located at 913 Big Plumtree Creek Road. For more information on the Canopy Zipline Tour, visit www. or call (828) 765-6353.




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Top 10 color hikes that have great results



utumn in the mountains of North Carolina draws people from all over the country. During peak season, the surrounding area is flooded with leaf lookers searching for some spectacular color combinations. Those who ride in the car can travel the back roads and the Blue Ridge Parkway for the easy views. Many opt to hike in and capture their favorite panoramic shots on the many trails available in the High Country. Below are some of the trails selected that produce the best color for those who seek the beauty and the adventure in one package.

TOP CHOICE Cragway Trail: Rocky and strenuous trail that links Nuwati and Daniel Boone Scout Trails. Beautiful views from this trail and the Boone bowl opens up in the fall with plenty of autumn color. It is a bit of a hike but one you will remember. This section is 1.0 mile to the Daniel Boone Scout Trail where you can view down to Price Lake on top of Flatrock.

SECOND Tanawha Trail/Rough Ridge: 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). The Rough Ridge section is at Milepost 302 if you want to access it off the Blue Ridge Parkway. This scene in the fall is a long range view that produces plenty of color. You will not be disappointed. Check with Grandfather Mountain for a map of the trail.

THIRD Price Lake Trail: An easy trail leading around scenic Price Lake for 2.7 miles. If you are lucky, the beavers will be working or the Kingfishers searching for a small fish. Trailhead is at Price Lake parking area, Milepost 297.0. and when at peak for leaf lookers, this is a beautiful array of scenes.

FOURTH Grandfather Trail: This is the big one!

PHOTO BY ROB MOORE The Cragway Trail might take some effort, but the payoff during peak leaf season is very high.

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. In the fall there is scenery of the changing leaves on both sides. You will not be short of colorful views.

FIFTH 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. The top provides beautiful views of the gorge and back to Table Rock. The color heading down and up the Linville Gorge adds a different feel to the rugged area, but make no mistake, it is still a wilderness for the outdoorsman in you.

SIXTH 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. This trail has some great fall scenery viewpoints and the family can enjoy the trek. The payoff is the Flat top tower at the end which provides a 360 degree view to Boone, Blowing Rock and Grandfather Mountain.

SEVENTH Harper Creek Trail: Strenuous 6.3 mile trail, connects to nine other area trails, leading to gorgeous waterfalls, aspiring views, and excellent backpacking opportunities. Get lost in the fall foliage and enjoy a crisp fall morning in the Wilson Creek Proposed Wilderness Area. The waterfalls add to colorful autumn composition for photographers and artists alike, as they meander along in search of their next best seller.

EIGHTH Rock Jock Trail: This is a rocky, well maintained trail that is 4 miles in length. You will see plenty of spur trails off of this one, especially from the Conley Cove access side, that give you plenty of views up and down the Gorge for some beautiful fall shots. There are some nice campsites on this route so an overnight stay and an early

morning rise might add to the fall feeling and just being in a wilderness.

NINTH Southern Ridge: The most strenuous of the trails of the Beech Mountain Emerald Outback, 1.3 miles, in this system with some cool rock formations. Elk River Valley, Awesome Oz and Pride Rock overlooks are on this trail for some excellent fall viewing. You might even come across the many deer that frequent this “Hobbit” type terrain.

TENTH Plunge Basin Trail: This is a moderate hike with some rugged spots but by far the best vantage point to view the Linville Falls. There is a pool of water at the bottom that is home to river otters if you can catch them out fishing. Length is .72 with a great payoff. This is spectacular if you catch the fall color and the waterfall together with a blue sky. The leaves of the trees looking down the river reflected in the pools and currents create a colorful image to paint or photograph. This is beauty in the eye of the beholder. For more trails go to or play/hike/ for more information.




Water adventures in the High Country BY COLIN TATE


he High Country is known for many things. Some know it for the hiking trails that, while they may vary in difficulty, never vary in the amount of beautiful scenery. Others know it for the horseback riding through various stables that explore places in the High Country one might not see otherwise. One other aspect the High Country is known for is the many waterways in the area and the opportunities that come with them. Some businesses in the region offer campgrounds close to lakes and some offer a chance to raft down one of the rivers that crosses through the area. Canoeing, kayaking, boating and fishing are options for visitors along the Watauga or the New rivers. While the fall can start to get cooler than other parts of the state, lakes in the area, such as Price Lake located in Julian Price Memorial Park, can provide fishermen with late season access to catch more fish before the winter begins. Wahoo’s Adventures, Edge of the World, High Mountain Expeditions, River and Earth Adventures, Watauga Kayak, RiverCamp USA and Zaloo’s all offer opportunities for those who wish to travel the rivers in the cooler months of fall. For those who want to do some fishing off the shore line, Watauga Lake, which is located just over the state line in Tennessee, has boat rentals such as Bayview Cove Ridge, Fish Springs, Lakeshore, Mallard Cove and Pioneer Landing. Watauga Lake has 106 miles of shoreline and is home to 13 species of game fish. Below are 15 different ways for you, your family and your friends to get involved in one of the High Country’s many water activities. Bayview Campground and Marina 167 Bayview Lane Butler, Tenn. (423) 768-0434 www.bayviewcampgroundand Cove Ridge Marina 947 Piercetown Road Butler, Tenn.

FILE PHOTO There are many High Country businesses that can help you take a nice, peaceful ride in a canoe or kayak on the water.

(423) 768-3760, (423) 768-3741 Edge of the World 394 Shawneehaw Ave. Banner Elk (800) 789-3343 Fish Springs Marina 191 Fish Springs Road Hampton, Tenn. (423) 768-2336 High Mountain Expeditions 3149 Tynecastle Highway Banner Elk (828) 898-9786, (828) 266-RAFT Lakeshore Marina 2285 Highway 321 Hampton, Tenn. (423) 725-2223, (888) 423-3785

Mallard Cove Marina 200 mallard Cove Drive Butler, Tenn. (423) 768-3440 Pioneer Landing at Cherokee Overlook 105 Cowan Town Road Butler, Tenn. (423) 768-3164 Price Lake at Julian Price Memorial Park milepost 297, Blue Ridge Parkway (828) 963-5911, park campground kiosk River and Earth Adventures 1655 Highway 105 South Boone (828) 355-9797, (866) 411-7238 RiverCamp USA 2221 Kings Creek Road Piney Creek

(336) 359-2267 Wahoo’s Adventures 3385 U.S. 321 Boone (828) 262-5774, (800) 444-RAFT Watauga Lake watauga-lake-the-crown-jewel-of-theeastern-tennessee/article_53781614-cb48521a-a488-d83060c2e655.html Watauga Kayak 1409 Broad St. Elizabethton, Tenn. (423) 542-6777 Zaloo’s Canoe’s Kayak and Tubes 3874 N.C. 16 South Jefferson (336) 246-3066, (800) 535-4027




Teeing off in The High Country lenging yet fair. Since its opening in 1991, the course is best known for its superb conditioning, outstanding playability for players of all levels, comprehensive practice facilities, and of course, its spectacular views of the Blue Ridge Mountains. For more information, click to www. or call (800) 292-6274. Nonmembers can access the course after 1 p.m.



arly morning dew fresh on the links, birds chirping as the sun rises high above the Blue Ridge Mountains; it’s a perfect day for golf. For the avid golfer, North Carolina’s High Country is simply the place to be. With nine public and semi-private courses open to the public, as well as private courses that offer five-star amenities to members and their guests, the region is truly a golfer’s paradise.

PUBLIC COURSES Boone Golf Club Boone Golf Club, located at 433 Fairway Drive in Boone, offers 18 holes of what Golf Digest considers “rated 4.5 stars.” The course was designed by Ellis Maples in 1959 and boasts 6,680 yards of golfing bliss. The par 71 course has blue, white, gold and red tees with three par 5 holes, 11 par 4 holes and four par 3 holes. Boone Golf Club also has a pro shop stocked with the latest apparel and equipment for both men and lady golfers. They offer club repair, demonstrations, junior clinics and private instruction. For more information, click to www. or call (828) 2648760. Sugar Mountain Golf Course The links at Sugar Mountain Golf Course, located at 1054 Sugar Mountain Drive in Sugar Mountain, reach elevations over 4,000 feet above sea level and offer a course that is second to none. The par 64 course includes nine par 3 holes, eight par 4 holes and only one par 5 hole. Many have referred to the course as Sugar Mountain as “Everyman’s Golf Course.” For more information, click to www. or call (828) 8986464. Mountain Glen Golf Club The Mountain Glen Golf Club, located at 1 Club House Drive in Newland, was designed by George W. Cobb in 1964 and has remained unchanged ever since. The front nine has mostly flat and open fairways and the back nine goes upward to what was once called “Cranberry Draw.” Mountain Glen also offers a driv-

FILE PHOTO The well-manicured course at Beech Mountain Club is but one example of the exquisite course offerings spread throughout The High Country.

OFF-COURSE OPPORTUNITIES In addition to the pro shops located at most golf courses in the High Country, a number of standalone businesses offer golf equipment. For a less rigorous opportunity to sharpen one’s putting skills golfers and their families may also enjoy a family outing the area’s only mini-golf course.

Mountaineer Golf Center and Driving Range 115 Beverly Heights Ave, Boone (828) 264-6830

Peanuts and Golf 8931 N.C. Highway 105 S., Boone (800) 354-2011

Mountaintop Golf Cars, Inc. 9647 NC-105 Suite A, Banner Elk (828) 963-6775

Sunrise Mountain Mini Golf 1675 NC-105, Boone (828) 265-4653 ing range, a practice putting green and chipping area. For more information, click to www. or call (828) 733-5809. Mountain Aire Golf Club Located in West Jefferson and nestled

in the heart of the Blue Ridge, Mountain Aire is an established, public course offering 18 holes of well-maintained fairways, complimented by the natural, rugged beauty of the Appalachian Mountains. Mountain Aire Golf Club features a course of moderate length that can be enjoyed by players of different skill levels with its four sets of tees. For more information, click to www. or call (336) 8774716. Willow Creek If there isn’t time for a full round of golf, check out Willow Creek Golf Course, located at 354 Bairds Creek Road in Vilas. It is a 9-hole Par 3 executive course with varying elevations and lush, green views all around. Willow Creek was designed by Tom Jackson and has hosted many a golfer since its opening in 1975. With no tee times, Willow Creek operates on a first-come, first-served basis. For more information, click to www. or call (828) 963-6865.

SEMI-PRIVATE COURSES Jefferson Landing Club Designed by US Open and two-time PGA Champion, Larry Nelson, Jefferson Landing’s award-winning 7,110-yard, par 72 Course has a reputation of being chal-

Linville Land Harbor This beautiful semi-private, member owned, mountain golf course boasts 18 challenging holes of golf with tree lined fairways, several water features and excellent conditioning. The layout follows the natural contours of the land, which creates the perfect setting for a strong test of golf with exhilarating views. Green speed is maintained at a fast and fair pace, as the design combines a good variety of undulating and level putting surfaces. For more information, click to www. or call (828) 733-8325. Beech Mountain Club Beech Mountain Club’s spectacular 18-hole, ridge-top golf course boasts magnificent views of mountain ranges in North Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia. Originally designed by Willard Byrd, the course has undergone a renovation over the last 10 years using a master plan developed by noted Golf Course Architect, Tom Jackson, providing several sets of tees and new greens complexes while extending the course to 6,250 yards in length. There are seasonal rates for members, in addition to daily fees for members and their guests. Access to the course is available for nonmembers through rental of qualified lodging. For More Information, click to www. or call (828) 387-4208. Linville Golf Club Guests of The Eseeola Lodge gain access to the championship course at Linville Golf Club. Challenging golfers since 1924, this legendary 18-hole course is an American golf treasure in the North Carolina High Country. There’s a difference between courses today and classics SEE TEEING ON PAGE 79




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such as this one, which was handcrafted around the land’s original contour with mule-and-pan grading. For more information on lodging and golf, click to or call 1 (800) 742-6717.

PRIVATE COURSES Blowing Rock Country Club As a private country club and the only Seth Raynor design in North Carolina, the Blowing Rock Country Club course has been a destination for true mountain golf since 1915. A classic mountain golf course with changes in elevation, narrow fairways, fast-paced greens presenting precise targets, Blowing Rock Country Club’s golf course rewards accuracy over distance. For more information, click to www. or call (828)295-7311. Hound Ears Club Hound Ears Golf Course was designed by George Cobb in 1964. Cobb created more than 100 golf courses throughout his long career, including the par-three course at Augusta National. Dubbed one of the top scenic mountain courses in America, the links meander along a verdant valley and across streams, lakes and waterfalls. Each of the impeccably manicured holes offers a different golfing challenge. For more information, click to www. or call (828) 963-5831. Diamond Creek Consistently ranked amongst Golf Digest’s greatest courses and embraced by superior craftsmanship in homes is Diamond Creek. Founded in 2003 by H. Wayne Huizenga and golf professional John L. McNeely, Diamond Creek features a Tom Fazio designed championship course on a breathtaking 200 acres of mountain setting with a sporting clays course, equestrian facilities, magnificent clubhouse and the award-winning Artisanal Restaurant. For more information on real estate opportunities, click to diamond-creek. Linville Ridge An unrivaled golf experience with

FILE PHOTO A golfer tees off a drive down the pristine fairway of Mountain Glen Golf Club in Newland.

panoramic views of Blue Ridge Mountains, golf at Linville Ridge elevates the game to an art form. At 4,945 feet above sea level, the golf course is the highest elevation golf course east of the Mississippi River. The bragging rights extend far beyond mere altitude. In 2007, Bobby Weed was brought in to update the golf course. Bobby Weed Golf Design, Inc. “roughened” up the bunkers, making the once-smooth edges jagged and craggy to create a ruggedness that is comfortable with its environment. For more information on Linville Ridge, click to or call (828) 898-5151. Grandfather Golf and Country Club With two courses available this private club has options for the aspiring golfer. Designed by Ellis Maples and considered his architectural masterpiece, Grandfather Golf and Country Club offers a renowned Championship Golf Course that has been ranked by the North Carolina Golf Panel as the second best course in North Carolina after Pinehurst #2. The 18-hole, par-59 executive Mountain Springs Course offers a short-game challenge for skilled recreational players, as well as players who are new to the game.

FILE PHOTO A golfer lines up for a long putt on one of the greens at the Mountain Aire Golf Club, a public course in West Jefferson.

For more information, click to www. or call (828) 898-4531. Elk River Club Elk River Club is home of Jack Nicklaus’ first Signature Golf Course in North Carolina. One of N.C.’s Top 10 Golf Courses since it opened in 1984, it has remained one of the most beautiful courses

in the state. Nicklaus’ design deliberately integrates with the natural topography and beauty that is characteristic of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The meticulously maintained mountain course winds around the Elk River, shimmering lakes, and tree-lined fairways. For more information, click to www. or call (888) 3550933.




Trying your throwing arm at Disc Golf tion website at



olf has taken to the air in recent years, not with a ball and a club, but with the throw of a disc. A sport that has been growing in popularity during the past few years, disc golf is easy to learn and easily accessible for a newcomer to get into. Unlike traditional golf, disc golf uses frisbee-like discs and metal baskets instead of balls, clubs and holes. A par is set up for each basket and the goal of the player is to put the disc in the basket in the fewest number of throws. Like clubs in golf, the discs are designed for specific tasks, including mid-range discs, drivers and putters. The discs vary in size and weight to give them different feels and distances depending on their purpose. If you are interested in getting into the sport, you can do so for only about $50. A newcomer to the sport only needs three discs, a driver, a midrange and a putter, to get a foothold in the sport. With a bit of practice and the wind being just right,

PHOTO BY TROY BROOKS Evan Smith takes a shot at disc golf in Ashe County.

you can quickly get started in trying out your throwing arm.

Dis isco cover ver Timel imeless ss Treasur sures

High Country Disc Golf Course A crown jewel of disc golf in the High Country, the High Country Disc Golf Course, located at Ashe County Park in Jefferson, is a centerpiece for disc golf enthusiasts in the high country and offers a special place for players to take golf to the air. According to Ashe County Parks and Recreation Director Scott Turnmyre, the course was created through a joint effort with Innova Disc Golf out of Rock Hill, SC., a major Disc Golf construction company, and was designed by course designer Harold Duval. The course was laid out to be as non-impactful to the environment as possible and uses the natural lay of the land to its advantage from the hills to the trees, much of which contributes to the difficulty of many of the holes the course has to offer. The course offers 18 holes, with the back nine located in the woodland and the other nine located closer to the front

For more information on Disc Golf, visit the Professional Disc Golf Associa-

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Parks and Recreation, school system offers activities for kids, adults BY STEVE BEHR


ecreation doesn’t always include hiking, rafting or cycling along a trail or roadway. The Watauga Parks and Recreation offers several different activities, including team sports for adults and for kids. Watauga County youth have different activities to choose from, including football and soccer. Full-contact football is offered to kids in third through sixth grade, while middle school, which is not affiliated with Watauga Parks and Rec, offers a full-contact middle school football team that plays teams from counties around the area. Watauga Parks and Recreation also offers flag football for kids aged five-to10-years old. There is a co-ed league for kids aged five and six and another for kids aged 7-through-10. Youth soccer is another sport offered by the Parks and Recreation department. One league is for kids aged three-to-five and there are leagues that are for youth under-15, under-12, under-10, under-8

FILE PHOTO BY STEVE BEHR Watauga’s middle school team takes the field in 2016 at Hardin Park School. Watauga’s County school and Watauga’s Parks and Recreation Department provides several activities for youth and for adults to participate in.

and under-6. There is also a league for youth under-18. Watauga Parks and Recreation also offers co-ed volleyball at $250 entry fee per team. The registration is Sept. 11.

are often made by Innova to improve its quality and experience. The course also plays host to the High Country Disc Golf Championship, which attracts amateur and pro disc golf plays from all over the country. According to Turnmyre, the course’s many regulars also like to show newcomers the basics of the sport. For more information about High Country Disc Golf Course, call (336) 982-6185.


of the park. Elevation changes, trees and bushes offer many obstacles and challenges for players. In addition, each hole comes with both an amateur and a pro pad, providing variety to cater to a wide range of skill levels. For example, one tee-off has the player throwing the disc over the park’s pond while the other pad has the throws taking place along the shore. Some of the holes also have alternative baskets, raising the total number of holes to 20. The course offers a great chance for friends and families to get out in nature. With two miles of course laid out throughout the park’s rolling hills, players have a chance for getting some exercise while enjoying the natural beauty of Ashe County. According to Turnmyre, the course is a living thing, as changes and tweaks

The games are played at Old Cove Creek School Gym, Blowing Rock School Gym and Mabel School Gym. Mount Vernon Baptist Church also sponsors fall football, but registration has already been closed. Spectators are


PHOTO BY TROY BROOKS Disc Golf is a growing sport in the United States and the High Country Disc Golf Course offers an 18-hole course for friends and families at Ashe County Park.

Another great course to start throwing is the course located at Wahoo’s Adventures at the New River Outpost at 3380 Big Hill Road in Todd. The course features nine holes, each with both a long and a short starting tee. A warm-up hole is also available for those to start prepping their swinging arms. The course is cut into the terrain and provides a nice little hike for disc golf players, including a small catwalk bridge

welcomed, however. The Watauga County school system offers middle school football for seventh and eighth graders. There is just one team, which takes student-athletes from each of the eight middle schools. The team plays at Hardin Park School, although the team also usually plays one game at Watauga High School’s Jack Groce Stadium. The games, weather permitting, are played on Wednesday afternoons. The school system also offers middle school girls’ volleyball. Each school: Hardin Park, Green Valley, Mabel, Cove Creek, Parkway, Valley Crucis and Bethel middle schools has a team. There is also a tournament involving all eight teams, which is held at Watauga High School’s Lentz-Eggers Gym. The middle school football and volleyball programs are run by the school system and not by the recreation department. To stay on schedule with an event go to for more information.

going over the creek. According to Wahoo’s owner Jeff Stanley, the course is $5 to use per player and is also free for anybody tubing at Wahoo’s. All costs go towards helping maintain the course. For more information on the course at Wahoo’s Adventures, call (828) 262-5774 or visit

BEECH MOUNTAIN RESORT Another notable disc golf course is located at Beech Mountain Resort. The course features 18 holes over several thousand feet of land and is designed in the mountain landscape offers a breaktaking views and hikes for players as they explore the Blue Ridge Mountains on the course’s one-of-a-kind design. Players can enjoy a beautiful scenic view while hiking from hole to hole and can take a chairlift ride to get an even better view of the Blue Ridge Mountains. For more information, call (800) 4382093 or visit the resort website at www.



CELEBRATE THE HOLIDAY SEASON Visit Vissitt downtown downttown town Boone Boo Booonee this thiss holiday hoolidday season. season. You’ll Yoou’ll love loovee discovering disscoveeringg our eclectic and enjoy ticc shops sho hops and a galleries gall j dining in one of our 20 restaurants restaurants specializing special spec ciaalizing in cia in local local food, fo food, wine, wine, and and beer. beer. To To view view a directory diire dire di rectory of of businesses businesses and and to to learn lear le earn more more about about parking parking visit: visit: downt downtownboone oowwnttown tow ow owwn wnboonen booo ooonenc coom com

FIRST FRIDAYS Every Eve y First st Friday ay of the ay he month month except mo except January January Stroll through th ugh g downtown dow d enjoying j y g music, sic, entertainentertain en ment, art rt demonstrations, deemo st and and more. more.e.

BLACK FRIDAY & SMALL BUSINESS SATURDAY November November Nov er 24 24 & 25, 25, all all day day Get G your y holiday holidayy shopping ppp g donee early and support small, ear y and local businesses e ses es

Stop Sttop by the the he Jones Jonees House HHou ousee Cultural Cultural and and Community Co CCom mmunity m u itty Center C t for Cent Ce f r your holiday h l d photos, phh t refreshments, f hmen h t andd information. inform formation. tit To learn more about events and holiday hours visit: h



December 1,, 6:00 – 8:00 8:0 pm Welcome the holidayy season at the Jones House with refreshments men and enterentertainment

Decemberr 9,9 11:00 am Enjoy j y free cookies and cider at the Jones House after the parade.

604 W. King St. Boone, NC 28607



Come Explore Downtown Boone


hether you’re making your first trip to Boone, or visit on a regular basis, it won’t take you long to realize that Downtown Boone is full of interesting and unique people, restaurants and shops. As you stroll through our Historic downtown district, you will find shops selling rustic home goods like you would find on the television show Fixer Upper, alongside stores that can outfit you with all of the provisions for a day out hiking Boone’s world-class trails or shredding snow at one of our three area ski resorts. You can also purchase or rent a mountain bike, allowing you to see the mountains in a whole new way! Sandwiched between t-shirt and souvenir stores, you can find handmade pottery from a master craftsman who has been turning clay into show-stopping pieces for over 30 years, as well as fine jewelry stores and a co-op of artisans with a wide assortment of gorgeous pieces ready for you take home to remember your trip. (Our historic post office is in the middle of town, if you need to ship anything back.) If clothes are your thing, there is no shortage of shops offering one-of-akind pieces that will ensure you don’t show up at your next party wearing the same thing as someone else! King Street offers super-cute boutiques with pieces straight off the pages of fashion magazines all over, a booming store full of brand-named consignment items (where you can do a dance at the cash register to receive a discount), as well as funky clothes you won’t find anywhere else. You can even say “yes to the dress!” in downtown Boone, whether you’re shopping for your wedding, prom, or for other special evening attire. Do yourself a favor and come to

Boone on an empty stomach. Whether you’re here for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or a drink, Downtown has enough amazing places to eat to keep you full for weeks! You can find New York-style pizza, spring-water dough pizza, and pizza cooked inside a copper wood-fired oven, all within a couple of blocks of each other. We’ve brought the continent of Asia right to you with a variety of Thai, Japanese, and Vietnamese cuisine restaurants guaranteed to give your taste buds the trip of a lifetime! If you’re looking for a high quality taste of the South, we have several places to choose from, as well as plenty of delicious places to get traditional dishes prepared in a new and fresh way. We also have a couple of social enterprise restaurants in town: at one, your meal will support building freshwater wells for those without access to clean water around the world; the other is committed to feeding everyone, regardless of means, where you pay what you can for your meal, or you can volunteer to cover the bill. You’ll also find several refreshing coffee shops, wine and beer stores, and great watering holes where you can mingle with locals and students alike. We can also help you find that elusive vinyl you’ve been searching for at our independent record store, something to remind you of the past at one of our several antique stores, or perhaps send you home with a permanent reminder of your trip from one of our tattoo and piercing shops. There are also a plethora of legal, financial, and other services available to visitors and locals alike. Whatever you’re into, Downtown Boone has something to offer you. For more information about Downtown, including parking, visit www. or call 828268-6283.




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Watauga High provides locals with pride in athletics

place coach Jason Freeman, who coached the Pioneers to a 6-16-1 overall record 3-10-1 mark in the NWC. The Pioneers open their season Aug. 14 against border rival Ashe County at Jack Groce Stadium.



ollege athletes aren’t the only things to attend for those who enjoy watching sports. Prep athletics thrive in the High Country, especially the fall. Watauga High School provides eight sports teams to enjoy. The include football, volleyball, boys’ soccer, girls’ tennis, girls’ golf and both boys’ and girls’ cross-country. The teams, who are known as the Pioneers, play in the Northwestern Conference, a league comprised of high school programs centered mainly around the Hickory area. Watauga used to be in the 4-A classification based on student enrollment, but was moved down to 3-A during the most recent realignment, which begins this fall. The NWC includes Alexander Central, Freedom, Hickory, McDowell, St. Stephens, South Caldwell and West Caldwell high schools.

WATAUGA FOOTBALL Watauga’s football team is coached by Ryan Habich. The Pioneers, who finished 9-4 last season, reached the second round of the state 4-A playoffs. They finished second in NWC with a 6-1 record. Watauga plays in Jack Groce Stadium, which is named for legendary football coach Jack Groce. Watauga opens its 2017 season at home against Asheville Roberson. Watauga also hosts home games Sept. 8 against Wilkes Central, Sept. 22 against South Caldwell, Oct. 6 against Hickory, Oct. 20 against McDowell and Nov. 3 at West Caldwell.


FILE PHOTO BY STEVE BEHR Watauga’s volleyball team finished 26-2 in 2016.

ALL HOME GAMES IN CAPS • Denotes Northwestern Conference games

WATAUGA VOLLEYBALL Watauga’s volleyball team is coming off a wildly successful 2017 season. The Pioneers finished with a 26-2 record in 2016 and won the NWC with a perfect 14-0 record. Watauga is coached by Kris Hagaman, who has guided the Pioneers to the state 4-A playoffs each year she has been in charge of the program. Watauga opens its season with four home matches, beginning with West Wilkes on Aug. 16. North Surry plays at Watauga on Aug. 17 before the Pioneers host border rival Ashe County at Aug. 24.

WATAUGA 2017 FOOTBALL SCHEDULE Date Aug. 18 Aug. 25 Sept. 1 Sept. 8 Sept. 22 Sept. 29 Oct. 6 Oct. 13 Oct. 20 Oct. 27 Nov. 3

Opponent T.C. ROBERSON at Ashe County at Avery County WILKES CENTRAL SOUTH CALDWELL at Alexander Central HICKORY at St. Stephens McDOWELL at Freedom WEST CALDWELL

WATAUGA VARSITY VOLLEYBALL SCHEDULE Date Opponent Time Aug. 16 WEST WILKES 5 p.m. Aug. 17 NORTH SURRY 5 p.m. Aug. 24 ASHE COUNTY 4:30 p.m. • Aug. 29 S CALDWELL 4:30 p.m. • Aug. 31 at Alex Central 4:30 p.m. • Sept. 5 HICKORY 4:30 p.m. • Sept. 7 at St. Stephens 4:30 p.m. Sept. 9 TRIMATCH: FRED T. FOARD, HOUGH 10 a.m.

• Sept. 12 MCDOWELL 4:30 p.m. • Sept. 14 at Freedom 4:30 p.m. • Sept. 19 W CALDWELL 4:30 p.m. Sept. 20 at Statesville 5 p.m. • Sept. 21 at South Caldwell 4:30 p.m. • Sept. 26 ALEX CENTRAL 4:30 p.m. • Sept. 28 at Hickory 4:30 p.m. Sept. 30 Trimatch at North Iredell, vs. Marvin Ridge TBA • Oct. 3 ST STEPHENS 4:30 p.m. • Oct. 5 at McDowell 4:30 p.m. • Oct. 10 FREEDOM 4:30 p.m. • Oct. 12 at West Caldwell 4:30 p.m. Oct. 21 First round 3-A playoffs Oct. 24 Second round 3-A playoffs Oct. 26 District 3-A playoffs Oct. 28 Sectional 3-A playoffs Oct. 31 Regional 3-A playoffs Nov. 4 State 3-A championships HOME MATCHES IN ALL CAPS • Denotes Northwestern Conference match Varsity match only

WATAUGA BOYS’ SOCCER Watauga’s boys’ soccer team saw a change of leadership during the summer when Josh Honeycutt was hired to coach the team. Honeycutt is a former Pioneer, having played for former coach Doug Kidd from 1996-99. Honeycutt was brought in to re-

Date Opponent Date Aug. 14 ASHE COUNTY 5 p.m. Aug. 16 at A.C. Reynolds 5 p.m.. Aug. 23 at Mooresville 5 p.m. Aug. 28 WEST WILKES 5 p.m. Aug. 30 R.J. REYNOLDS 5 p.m. Aug. 31 at Ashe County 5 p.m. Sept. 6 AVERY COUNTY 5 p.m. Sept. 11 S CALDWELL 4:30 p.m. Sept. 13 at Alex Central 5 p.m. Sept. 14 NW GUILFORD 5 p.m. Sept. 18 HICKORY 4:30 p.m. Sept. 19 at West Forsyth 4:30 p.m. Sept. 20 at St. Stephens 4:30 p.m. Sept. 25 at McDowell 4:30 p.m. Sept. 27 at Freedom 4:30 p.m. Oct. 4 at South Caldwell 4:30 p.m. Oct. 9 Alex CENTRAL 4:30 p.m. Oct. 11 at Hickory 4:30 p.m. Oct. 16 ST. STEPHENS 4:30 p.m. Oct. 18 McDOWELL 4:30 p.m. Oct. 23 FREEDOM 4:30 p.m. Oct. 25 at West Caldwell 4:30 p.m. Junior varsity plays first either at 4:30 p.m. or 5 p.m. Varsity game follows. HOME GAMES IN ALL CAPS Denotes Northwestern Conference game

GIRLS’ TENNIS Watauga’s girls’ tennis team is coached by Carol Almond, who is a member of the Appalachian State Sports Hall of Fame for women’s basketball. Her No. 22 jersey was retired by the App State athletic department. Almond guided Watauga to a 12-2 overall record last season, 7-0 in the Northwestern Conference. Watauga beat R.J Reynolds in the first round of the state 4-A dual team playoffs and followed with a win over Northwest Guilford in the second round Charlotte Catholic eventually eliminated Watauga from the playoffs in the third round. SEE WATAUGA ON PAGE 85




App State Mountaineers provide football tradition BY STEVE BEHR


or six fall Saturdays in 2017, the name of the game in Boone is Appalachian State football. Appalachian State’s football team has become an institution in the High Country, solidified with three FCS national championships from 2005-07, and cemented with a pair of Sun Belt Conference titles in the last two seasons. The Mountaineers, coached by former App State quarterback Scott Satterfield, goes into the 2017 season looking to reach their third bowl game in as many years, and looking for another Sun Belt Conference championship. “There’s a lot of anticipation of hopefully a good season,” Satterfield told the media who gathered at the Appalachian Athletic Center on Media Day on Aug. 5. “The thing we talked about and we talked about at the beginning of camp is that it doesn’t really matter what we’ve done in the past. It doesn’t matter what we’ve done five years or 10 years ago. This is a different team — a new team with new leaders (and) new incoming freshmen.” App State’s home schedule, for the second straight season, includes a team from a power five conference. The Mountaineers host Wake Forest from the ACC on Sept. 23.

The first time Appalachian State ever hosted a team from a power five conference was 2016 when the Mountaineers took on visiting Miami (Fla.). App State lost 45-10 to the Hurricanes, who were ranked No. 15 in the Associated Press poll. The 2017 Mountaineers open the season at Georgia on Sept. 2. App State’s first home game is Sept. 9 against FCS’s Savannah State. Appalachian State also hosts New Mexico State on Oct. 7 and Coastal Carolina on Oct. 21. After playing two weeks on the road, App State returns to face arch-rival Georgia Southern on Nov. 9. The Mountaineers closes out the regular season with a home game against Louisiana-Lafayette. The Mountaineers play in Kidd Brewer Stadium, which holds 24,050 fans, but also has general admission seating in the south end zone that can push the capacity to around 30,000. A crowd of 34,658 crammed into Kidd Brewer Stadium to see Miami play at App State at “The Rock.” “The chemistry of this team has really been shaping up nice,” Satterfield said. “The guys have had a really good five days of practice. It’s still early in camp and you’re still trying to figure some things out, but our guys are playing with great attitude and great energy and those are two things we want to do.” Appalachian State’s football tradition


WATAUGA’S 2017 GIRLS’ TENNIS SCHEDULE Date Opponent Aug. 17 MAIDEN Aug. 24 at Wilkes Central Aug. 28 at Ashe County Aug. 31 AVERY COUNTY Sept. 13 SOUTH CALDWELL Sept. 18 at Alexander Central Sept. 20 HICKORY Sept. 25 at St. Stephens Sept. 27 McDOWELL Oct. 2 at Freedom Oct. 4 WEST CALDWELL HOME MATCHES IN ALL CAPS Denotes Northwestern Conference matches

FILE PHOTO BY ROB MOORE Appalachian State’s football team, taking the field before hosting Miami at Kidd Brewer Stadium, have been playing football since 1928.

goes back to 1928. The Mountaineers were members of the Southern Conference from 1971-2012 when they won 13 conference championships and national Division I-AA and Football Championship Subdivision champions from 2005-07 under the leadership of longtime coach Jerry Moore, who was the coach of the Mountaineers for 24 seasons. Satterfield played quarterback from 1991-95 seasons under Moore. Satterfield quarterbacked the 1995 Mountaineers to an 11-0 regular season and a 12-1 record. Appalachian State has three levels of season ticket options, although individual tickets for the Wake Forest game are sold out. To order tickets in advance, people can call (828) 262-2079 between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.

All matches begin at 4 p.m.

GIRLS’ GOLF Watauga’s golf team is coached by Jamie Wilson. The Pioneers participated in seven tournaments last season and finished fourth in the Northwestern Conference championships.

WATAUGA 2017 GIRLS’ GOLF SCHEDULE Date Aug. 24 Aug. 29 Aug. 31 Sept. 5 Sept. 12 Sept. 19 Sept. 26 Oct. 3

Tournament Ashe County at Boone Golf Club Tournament at Boone Golf Club vs. Ashe County at Mount Aire Golf Club Alexander Central host at River Oaks Club South Caldwell host at Orchard Hills Hickory host at Catawba Springs McDowell host at Marion Lake Club Freedom host at Quaker Meadows

Appalachian State 2017 football schedule Date



Sept. 2 at Georgia 6:15 p.m. Sept. 9 SAVANNAH STATE 3:30 p.m. Sept. 16 at Texas State 7:p.m. Sept. 23 WAKE FOREST TBA Oct. 7 NEW MEXICO STATE TBA Oct. 14 at Idaho 5 p.m. Oct. 21 COASTAL CAROLINA TBA Oct. 28 at Massachusetts 3:30 p.m. Nov. 4 at Louisiana-Monroe 3 p.m. Nov. 9 GEORGIA SOUTHERN TBA Nov. 25 at Georgia State TBA Dec. 2 LOUISIANA-LAFAYETTE TBA HOME GAMES IN ALL CAPS Denotes Sun Belt Conference games

BOYS’ AND GIRLS’ CROSS-COUNTRY Randy McDonough is the longtime head coach of Watauga’s cross-country team. The Pioneers have been an NWC power in cross-country over the past 20 years.

WATAUGA 2017 CROSS-COUNTRY SCHEDULE Date Aug. 19 Aug. 23 Sep. 20

Opponent Watauga’s Clash of the Classes 10 a.m. Northwestern Conference relays 4 p.m. McDowell, West Caldwell and South Caldwell 4 p.m. Sept. 30 High Country Classic 10 a.m. Oct. 4 Pre Northwestern Conference meet 4 p.m. Oct. 7 at Wendy’s Invitational TBA Oct. 18 at NWC championships 4 p.m. Oct. 28 at Western 3-A Regional TBA Nov. 4 at State 3-A Championships TBA




Tailgating can add to the game experience BY STEVE BEHR


hen tailgating at Appalachian State football games, the App State athletic department wants its fans to show some CLASS. CLASS is an acronymn for Champions Love Appalachian State Spirit, which encourages fans to have fun while tailgating, among other things, but to also not overdo it by being rude or leaving the area a mess when they leave. Tailgating can add to the game experience of fans. Fans often show up with grills, chili, chips and any culinary feats imaginable. But, there are limits to what fans can bring. Although alcohol is permitted in designated lots, spirituous liquor, kegs, common containers and glass containers are not permitted in any location. Tailgating is limited to the space directly behind the parked vehicle. Fans

FILE PHOTO BY ROB MOORE App State football fans tailgate at Kidd Brewer Stadium, also known as ‘The Rock.’

who want to park their motor homes over night much receive prior approval from the Parking and Traffic Office the night


as needed, turning occasionally.

Easy Chili Recipe

Not sure what to bring for your tailgate party? Here are a few suggestions to get you ready for the upcoming Appalachian State football game this season.

TAILGATE TREATS Grilled Potato Wedges 4 large baking potatoes ½ lb. of butter 2 Tbsp. garlic powder 1 Tbsp. paprika 1 Tbsp. hot sauce 1 Tbsp. salt 2 tsp. ground black pepper Melt butter in a heavy pan over medium heat and add garlic powder, hot sauce, salt and pepper — stirring slowly to mix completely. Once combined, allow to cool slightly. Place potatoes in bowl and add butter mixture to coat thoroughly. Place potato wedges on the grill. Close lid and turn every 10 minutes or as they begin to brown, which ever occurs first. Cook until well browned and tender when pierced. You can even use some of the leftover butter mix to coat the grilled potato wedges.

Simple Sirloin Kabobs 1 boneless beef top sirloin steak, cut 1-inch thick 1 oz. pkg. dry ranch salad dressing mix 2 Tsp. water

before the game. Consumption of alcoholic beverages is also not permitted until 3 1/2 hours before

PHOTO BY ROB MOORE App Burgers are a common food at tailgating parties.

1 Tsp. vegetable oil 1 med. green or red bell pepper cut into 1-inch pieces 1 med. yellow squash or zucchini, halved lengthwise, sliced crosswise into ¾ -inch pieces In small bowl, combine dressing mix, water and oil; mix well. Cut steak into 1¼- by 1-inch pieces. Alternately thread beef and vegetables onto four 12-inch metal or wooden skewers. If using wooden skewers, soak in water for 30 minutes prior to using. Brush kabobs with dressing mixture; place on grill over medium heat. Grill, uncovered, approximately 10 to 12 minutes for medium-rare to medium or longer

2 lb. hamburger 2 chopped onions Brown together in skillet, and drain before placing into a large pot Add: 2 (8 oz.) cans tomato sauce 2 (l5 oz.) cans tomatoes 2 Tbsp. sugar 2 tsp. garlic 2 tsp. oregano 1 Tbsp. salt (or more to taste) 2 Tbsp. chili powder (or more to taste) 4 cans kidney beans, filled when emptied with 4 cans of water (or more for desired consistency) Bring to a boil and simmer for at least 45 minutes. Transport in spill-proof containers. Reheat on grill in large pot at party site. (Recipe may be halved for small group or doubled for larger one.)

Buffalo Wings 4 to 5 pounds chicken wings Black pepper Salt 4 cups oil ½ stick butter or margarine 5 Tbsp. Tabasco or other hot sauce of choice (more or less, depending on taste) 1 Tbsp. white wine vinegar Chop off tip of each wing, and discard. Cut wing in half at the joint to make two pieces.

kickoff. It is not permitted once the game has started, but can resume for an hour after the game is over. Tailgating with alcohol is permitted in 20 different parking lots. To view those lots, fans can visit the Appalachian State tailgating policy manual website at http:// Those participating in the consumption of alcohol must be able to provide a valid ID stating they are legally permitted to drink. For food products, propane and charcoal grills are the only permissible sources of heat for cooking. Coals are not allowed to make contact with the parking lot surface and must be extinguished with water before fans can leave the parking lot area. Open flames, including fire pits, are not allowed. Fans are also asked to dispose of all their trash into available containers. Fans get six chances to tailgate at Appalachian State this fall, starting on Sept. 9 when the Mountaineers host Savannah State. Sprinkle on pepper and salt. Heat oil over high heat in a deep skillet, Dutch oven or deep fryer until it starts to sizzle (around 400 degrees F.). Add half the chicken wings and cook until crisp, stirring or shaking occasionally. When done, drain on paper towels and cook the remaining wings. Melt butter or margarine over medium heat in heavy saucepan; add hot sauce and vinegar. Stir well. Remove immediately from heat. Place chicken in large pan or platter; pour the sauce on top, making sure to evenly coat each piece. These can be made on site or ahead of time and kept warm in appropriate container if needed for travel.

Baby Ruth Brownies 1 pkg. brownie mix 3 (2.1 oz.) Baby Ruth candy bars, chopped 1 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese, brought to room temperature ½ cup sugar 1 large egg 2 tsp. milk Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare brownie mix as directed on package and stir in chopped candy. Pour into a greased 9- by13inch baking pan. In a small mixing bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Add egg and milk to the cream cheese mixture, blending well. Drizzle cream cheese mixture over brownie batter and swirl with a knife to create a marbled look. Bake for 35-40 minutes, until toothpick inserted in center comes out almost clean. Remove brownies from oven and cool completely in pan, on a wire rack. Cut into bars.







Art Galleries embrace autumn with fresh themes, new exhibits ART GALLERIES IN THE HIGH COUNTRY



nspiration seems to come easy for artists in the High Country — especially in the fall. While the season may seem short-lived, autumn in the mountains is an artists’ dream come true, as the surreal environment acts as a canvas of its own, complete with beautiful, vibrant colors and natural textures. As a popular destination for local and national talent alike, it’s not uncommon to see an increase in artists during the peak fall color season (typically mid-October) in the area. Local galleries typically carry out themes from season to season, so visitors can expect to see the warm reds, oranges and yellows that will be apparent throughout the region. But it’s not only about the color. Local galleries have capabilities to cater to any individual taste, boasting countless art forms in various mediums, from pottery to painting to sculpting to quilting and more. Among the largest art showcases in the High Country are Appalachian State University’s Turchin Center for the Visual Arts, and the Blowing Rock Art and History Museum. Each location offers collections both permanent and temporary, as well as new exhibitions, while providing several educational opportunities and workshops for both children and adults. On a smaller, more intimate scale, the area is also home to countless privately owned galleries that display the artwork of many local talent. Most of these galleries give visitors the options to purchase paintings, pottery, jewelery, gifts and more, while also displaying fresh exhibits from season to season. This year, Carlton Gallery in Banner Elk is celebrating an impressive milestone of 35 years, and continues to celebrate with new exhibits and events throughout the fall. “It is my life’s great joy and a blessing to be an artist and have an art gallery for 35 years,” said owner Toni Carlton. Currently, the gallery is showcasing its mid-summer group exhibition and an

BANNER ELK The Art Cellar Gallery 920 Shawneehaw Ave. (828) 898-5175

Carlton Gallery 10360 N.C. 105 South (828) 963-4288

Clark Gallery 393 Shawneehaw Ave. (828) 898-2095

Maggie Black Pottery PHOTO BY JEFF EASON Charlotte artist Robin Wellner exhibited oil landscapes at Blowing Rock Frameworks and Gallery in July.

GALLERY CRAWLS Shop, mingle and meet local artists during downtown Gallery Crawls in both Boone and West Jefferson. During a Gallery Crawl, participants can enjoy several opportunities including art openings and receptions, artist demonstrations, live music, complimentary refreshments and more. This informal experience allows residents and visitors to pop in and out of local galleries and restaurants to enjoy a relaxing evening on the town. Downtown Boone Gallery Crawls take place from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. every first Friday of the month, excluding January. Downtown West Jefferson Gallery Crawls take place from 5 to 8 p.m. on the second Friday of each month now through October. A special Christmas-themed crawl takes place the first Friday in December. artists’ spotlight, “Landscapes, Treescapes and Waterscapes,” with Andrew Braitman, Kevin Beck and Egidio Antonaccio, running through Sept. 25. Future events include the Autumn Group Exhibition, set to run Oct. 7 to Nov. 14, with an opening reception from 2 to 5 p.m. on Oct. 7. An artists’ spotlight, “A Contemporary Approach — Art of the Horse and Animal Friends,” with Vae Hamilton, Toni Carlton and Laura Hughes, will also run through Nov. 15. The Art Cellar Gallery in Banner Elk is

1225 N.C. 105 (828) 773-2459

Sally Nooney Gallery 7143 N.C. 194 South (828) 963-7347

Studio 140 140 Azalea Circle (828) 352-8853

BLOWING ROCK Blowing Rock Art & History Museum 159 Chestnut St (828) 295-9099

Blowing Rock Frameworks & Gallery 7935 Valley Blvd. (828) 295-0041 PHOTO SUBMITTED ‘The Wild Wolf’ is a painting featured at Studio 140 in Banner Elk by artist Kent Paulette.

also celebrating an important milestone of 25 years, with a schedule of exhibitions, artist talks, book signings and other special events happening through October. All events are free and open to the public, and High Country art luminaries from The Art Cellar’s past will fill the lineup, including Norma Murphy, Gregory Smith, Noyes Capehart and Herb Jackson. In addition, the gallery will feature emerging artists from the area whose work may grace collections of the future.

Bolick Pottery & Traditions Pottery The Martin House 1116 Main St. (828) 295-6128

BOONE Blue Ridge Artspace 377 Shadowline Drive (828) 264-1789

Doe Ridge Pottery 585-D W. King St. (828) 264-1127

Hands Gallery 543 W. King St. (828) 262-1970

Jones House Community Center 604 W. King St. (828) 262-4576





Solid Wood Furniture Full Line of Outdoor Furniture

Interior Design Service Over 30 Years Experience Home Accessories Impeccable Service 11 miles from Boone on Highway 105 South 5320 Highway 105 South • Banner Elk, NC Mon-Sat 10am - 5pm • OPEN ALL YEAR • 828 963 6466

Visit Our Winery — Tasting Room Open Daily — Monday-Saturday 12-6, Sunday 1-5 (Closed on Tuesdays Dec. 1 - May 15)

Liv e M us ic throug h Octob er 225 Vineyard Lane, Banner Elk, NC • 828.963.2400 visit our website for more info



High Country’s Newest Antique Gallery

Featuring 18th, 19th & 20th Century Furniture, Chandeliers & other Lighting, Sculpture, Paintings, Garden Pieces and much more!

Come visit us! 828-963-5300 10543 Hwy 105 South, Banner Elk, NC, Unit 4 Hours: Tues - Sat. 9:00 am to 4:00 pm Email:




North Wilkesboro

“Where Style Meets Tradition”

Located comfortably South of the cold, our Historic Downtown District is home to independently owned shops, restaurants, galleries and antiques.





It’s Old Fashioned Family Fun!

“I saw the perfect tree in Boone, NC”

CHOOSE & CUT Christmas Trees

For details & locations of the 14 choose & cut farms, visit: or 800-438-7500 or 828-264-3061



CHOOSE & CUT Christmas Trees

In the High Country, growing the perfect North Carolina Fraser fir is an art. Farmers work throughout the year to cultivate beautiful trees with that signature fragrance. Did you know that each tree is visited more than 100 times from the moment it’s transplanted into the field as a foot-tall seedling until it’s chosen and cut? It can take more than 10 years of care before a tree is all grown up and ready for its holiday debut in your home. Watauga County and the Boone and Blowing Rock area is known as the Choose and Cut Capital. Come enjoy a hayride, a Christmas carol, and some hot chocolate, and create your family memory this season here in the High Country.

14 Local Choose & Cut farms: 1. Bluestone Greenery 1230 Howard Edmisten Road, Sugar Grove 828-297-5377

8. High Country Nursery 524 Harrison Road, Boone 828-264-9123

2. C & J Christmas Trees Hwy. 194 N., Boone 828-264-6694 or 828-406-6445

9. Miller Choose & Cut 355 Lee South Road, Boone 828-265-2851 or 828-964-6343

3. Circle C Tree Farms 372 Will Cook Road, Boone 828-773-4026

10. Panoramic View Christmas Tree Farm 368 Panoramic Lane, Boone 828-719-6395 or 828-262-3836

4. Clawson’s Choose & Cut 4944 Highway 194 North, Boone 828-719-6395 or 828-262-3836

11. RRR Laurel Knob 6715 Hwy. 194 N., Todd 828-963-3477, 828-264-6488 or 336-877-1845

5. Cornett Deal Christmas Tree Farm 142 Tannenbaum Lane, Vilas 828-964-6322

12. Stone Mountain Farms 301 Sherry Reece Lane, Trade, TN 828-773-7651 or 828-297-1251

6. Dotson’s Nursery 1885 Poplar Grove Road South, Boone 828-963-6223 or 828-964-0504

13. Swinging Bridge Farm 711 Old Glade Road, Deep Gap 828-964-2030 or 828-264-5738

7. Greene Tree Farm 6989 Junaluska Road, Boone 828-773-1451

14. Walker Farm 511 Hodges Gap Road, Boone 828-264-0931 or 828-264-4883





Schaefer Center presents top international talent BY ANNA OAKES


esidents and visitors in the High Country look to Appalachian State University’s Schaefer Center Presents series each year for opportunities to see and hear some of the world’s top talent. With the largest stage in the High Country, the Schaefer Center for the Performing Arts hosts the series each year, which includes music, dance, theater and even acrobatics. The 1,673-seat auditorium features orchestra and balcony level seating, with refreshments and a cash bar available before the show and during intermissions. For more information on the upcoming events, including ticket prices, visit


Nth Degree Gallery 683 W. King St. (828) 719-9493

Turchin Center for the Visual Arts 423 W. King St. (828) 262-3017

2017 SCHAEFER CENTER PRESENTS SERIES FALL SCHEDULE TajMo: The Taj Mahal & Keb’ Mo’ Band • Friday, Oct. 6, 8 p.m. Iconic blues legends Taj Mahal and Keb’ Mo’ unite for historic cross-generational collaboration. “TajMo” marks a timely convergence of the talents of two unique American artists who’ve already built iconoclastic individual legacies that have extended and expanded blues traditions into adventurous new territory. The collaboration brings out the best in both artists, with the pair merging their distinctive voices, personalities and guitar styles to create vibrant, immediate music that’s firmly rooted in SEE SCHAEFER ON PAGE 95

(336) 246-3388

Ashe Arts Center Gallery 303 School Ave. (336) 846-2787

Ashe Custom Framing & Gallery 105 S. Jefferson Ave. (336) 846-1498

Backstreet Beads and Handcrafted Jewelry


111-A North Jefferson Avenue (336) 877-7686

Crossnore Fine Arts Gallery

Catchlight Gallery

The Crossnore School 205 Johnson Lane (828) 733-3144

108 North Jefferson Avenue (336) 846-1551

Linville River Pottery

Florence Thomas Art School

2180 Goose Hollow Road, Pineola (828) 387-1944

10 S. Jefferson Avenue (336) 846-3827

Pam Brewer Studio

Originals Only Gallery

41 Redbird Lane, Newland (828) 733-5755

3B North Jefferson Avenue (336) 846-1636

VALLE CRUCIS Alta Vista Gallery 2839 Broadstone Road (828) 963-5247

WEST JEFFERSON Acorn Gallery 103 Long St.


Quilt Square Girls 5 East Second Street (336) 385-0197

R.T. Morgan Art Gallery & Glass by Camille 120 N. Jefferson Ave. (336) 246-3328

PHOTO SUBMITTED Andrew Braitman is a featured artist at Carlton Gallery in Banner Elk. This oil on canvas is titled ‘Catch and Release.’





tradition yet ruled by a playful sense of adventure. Taj Mahal first made his mark in the late 1960s with a series of visionary country-blues albums, and in the decades since has continued to pursue his free-spirited muse with a long series of eclectic recording projects touching upon a wide array of genres and cultures. Taj has been recording and performing his unmistakable blend of blues and world music for over 50 years, winning multiple Grammys and collaborating with the Rolling Stones, Eric Clapton and more along the way. Since arriving on the scene in the 1990s, Keb’ Mo’ has built a powerful body of work that’s showcased his mastery of multiple blues as well as his sense of musical adventure, which has led him into all manner of projects. Keb’ Mo’, who has often cited Taj as one of his musical heroes, is a threetime Grammy Winner who has collaborated with everyone from Bonnie Raitt to Jackson Browne and Buddy Guy. Ailey II: The Next Generation of Dance • Thursday, Oct. 26, 7 p.m. The talented dancers of Ailey II are renowned for captivating audiences and translating their strength and agility into powerful performances. Under the artistic direction of Troy Powell, this critically-acclaimed company presents vibrant performances and innovative community programs across the country and internationally. The Ailey spirit shines as these artists perform an exhilarating and diverse repertory that includes Alvin Ailey’s timeless classics and thrilling new works by today’s outstanding emerging choreographers. Us the Duo • Friday, Nov. 17, 7 p.m. With Us The Duo’s new album Just Love, recorded after two years of explosive social media fame, widespread press and TV attention, national touring, a major-label album, and recent self-declared independence, the husband-and-wife musical team of Michael and Carissa Alvarado find themselves — to borrow a lyric from one of their songs — right where they should be.

PHOTO BY JAY BLAKESBERG/COURTESY SCHAEFER CENTER FOR PERFORMING ARTS Iconic blues legends Taj Mahal and Keb’ Mo’ perform in Boone in October.

LOOKING AHEAD: 2018 SCHAEFER CENTER PRESENTS SPRING SCHEDULE Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo • Feb. 9, 7 p.m. Natalie MacMaster & Donnell Leahy • Feb. 27, 7 p.m. Golden Dragon Acrobats • March 16, 7 p.m. Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street • April 13-15, 7 p.m. Black Violin • April 20, 7 p.m.

PHOTO COURTESY SCHAEFER CENTER FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS Us The Duo performs at the Schaefer Center in Boone this fall.




Frescoes bless the High Country BY MATT DEBNAM


t is a technique that has long been employed by the masters. From ancient Egyptian artists through the Renaissance works of greats such as Michelangelo and Da Vinci, frescoes across the world are culturally and spiritually significant pieces of art, capturing some a glimpse of the things their painters’ civilizations held dear. Fortunately, one need not travel the world to experience such masterpieces. Here in the High Country, three local chapels house frescoes painted by internationally renowned artist Ben Long. A fresco is an art form where an artist presses pigment into wet plaster. Perhaps the best-known frescoes are those painted by Michelangelo on the ceiling of the Vatican’s Sistine Chapel. Throughout the 1970s, Ashe County was blessed with a series of frescoes by internationally renowned artist Ben Long. In 1974, Long contacted Father J. Faulton Hodge, the rector at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church, to create a fresco after having studied the art in Italy. After creating his first Ashe County fresco, called “Mary Great with Child,” Long followed up with a second fresco depicting John the Baptist in 1976. “The Mystery of Faith” was completed in the summer of 1977, rounding out the frescoes at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church. Standing behind St. Mary’s alter, “The Mystery of Faith” depicts the crucifixion of Jesus Christ in stunning detail. In 1980, Long returned to Ashe County with several students and painted a fresco titled “The Lord’s Supper” behind the altar at Holy Trinity Episcopal Church. As the name suggests, the fresco depicts Jesus Christ with his disciples during the famous last supper presented in the Holy Bible. Long also added several hidden features in the fresco to give viewers different things to ponder as they look at his masterwork. Visitors to St. Mary’s or Holy Trinity can also listen to audio recordings while they review Long’s frescoes. In addition to these masterful works, Long also painted a fresco in Avery County’s Sloop Chapel, located on the campus of Crossnore School. This fresco, entitled “Suffer the Little Children,” brings to life the scripture from Mark 10:14, which reads, “Suffer the little children to come unto me and forbid them not; for such is the kingdom of God.”

FILE PHOTO Visitors to Saint Mary’s Episcopal Church in West Jefferson can view three frescoes by Ben Long. ‘The Mystery of Faith,’ center, depicts the crucification of Christ, and is flanked by ‘Mary Great with Child’ on the left and ‘John the Baptist’ on the right.

FRESCO LOCATIONS Holy Trinity Episcopal Church 120 Glendale School Road, Glendale Springs, N.C. 28629 (336) 982-3076

St. Mary’s Episcopal Church 400 Beaver Creek School Road, West Jefferson, N.C. 28694 (336) 982-3076

Sloop Chapel 100 DAR Drive, Crossnore, N.C. 28616 (828) 733-4305 PHOTO COURTESY CROSSNORE SCHOOL ‘Suffer the Little Children’ can be viewed at Sloop Chapel, on the campus of Crossnore School in Avery County.




Experience a subterranean wonderland at Linville Caverns BY MATT DEBNAM


ark and foreboding, caves and caverns are often seen as frightening places where most humans would prefer not to tread. At Linville Caverns, however, visitors will find something quite different: a natural wonder, illuminated by electric lights, which offers a unique opportunity to experience life on the inside of a mountain. From hearing historical tales of humans who first explored the caverns to learning about the troglodytes who call the cave home, a tour of Linville Caverns is a fascinating learning experience, as well as a chance to see otherworldly subterranean rock formations that will take one’s breath away. First opened to the public in 1937, Linville Caverns is an active limestone


PLANNING A VISIT Linville Caverns is open to guests daily from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. through Labor Day and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. through October. The Caverns open daily from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. in November, and maintain the same hours on Saturdays and Sundays in December. Admission is $8.50 for adults, $7.50 for seniors, $6.50 for children ages five to 12 and free for children younger than 5. Discount rates are available for groups of 25 or more.

cavern system that is home to an array of extraordinary natural rock formations made easily available to the amateur spelunker. The caverns have been retrofitted with SEE CAVERNS ON PAGE 100

FILE PHOTO Linville Caverns boasts a breathtaking array of rock formations, all illuminated by a system of electric lights.




Tent Sites $16-$25

Cabin Rentals $49-$119

RV Sites $31-$35

hotspot • cable tv • centrally located • big rig friendly

OPEN ALL YEAR 1-800-788-2582

le View Road, Banner Elk, NC 28604

Summer Events at Fred’s • Beech Mt. Sunday Sunset Concerts Check our website for details: • Crafts on the Green

Come visit us at Eastern America’s Highest Town






Reclaimed barnwood furniture and much more...

It’s more than furniture, it’s a lifestyle. West Jefferson, NC • 336.246.5647 • Boone, NC • 828.266.1401

• Birdbaths & Bird Feeders • Gnomes & Mushrooms • Outdoor Furniture • Fairies & Fountains • Flower Garden Stakes • Decorative Flags • Mailbox Covers LIKE US ON

• Unique Lighting & Artwork • Boho Style Bedding & Lamps • Boutique Clothing & Jewelry • Salt Lamps, Incense & Sage • Gourmet Dips & Sauces • Fresh NC Seafood (when available)

1108 S. Jefferson Ave. West Jefferson, NC • 336.219.0301



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a system of concrete paths and ample electric lighting that make a trip under the mountain as simple as walking in and sticking close to the tour guide. Discovered in the early 1800s by local fishermen following trout into what appeared to be a solid rock wall, Linville Caverns has played host to an eclectic group of denizens in its long history. During the American Civil War, deserters from both sides of the conflict are said to have used the cavern system as a welcome, however dark, respite from their inevitable capture. In 1915, two teenage boys carrying only one lantern and undoubtedly on a mission imbued with all the recklessness that comes with their age, were lost in the cavern system for two days in the complete darkness. Their eventual escape was only made possible by their decision to wade into the frigid, chestdeep water and follow its current to the mouth of the caverns. Linville Caverns is home to a variety of wildlife that, until recently, included a population of blind trout that unfortu-

nately came off worse in a life and death struggle with a river otter who broke into their quiet, otherwise safe neighborhood, for a late night meal. The cavern staff has since restocked the — now sighted — fish and they can be seen flitting rock to rock in the creek that runs adjacent to the cavern path. Joining the trout in their subterranean habitat are a smattering of cavern insects, including granddaddy long legs and cave crickets that seem to work in tandem. They cover some of the cavern walls like a crawling, many legged tapestry. Linville Caverns, along with many other cave and cavern systems in Eastern North America, has been affected by the spread of white-nose syndrome, a disease that affects hibernating bats. According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, white-nose syndrome has killed between 5.7 and 6.7 million bats in the U.S. and Canada and in some cases has a 90 percent to 100 percent mortality rate. There does appear to be some progress being made in treatment of bats with WNS. Scientists are now using a special bacteria to prevent and even reverse the effects of the disease. While Geomyces destructans, the

fungus that causes white-nose syndrome in bats, has no effect on humans, visitors may be asked to take precautions to help prevent its spread. Linville Caverns provides an unequaled service to those visiting the High Country. Natural wonder aside, the courtesy and professionalism of the cavern’s staff


is special. The tour guides are equal parts well-informed and entertaining and are more than ready to answer questions or to take photos for a visiting group. For more information on Linville Caverns click to its website at or call (800) 419-0540.

Come watch the fall leaves from our patio!

20 Drafts Import & Micro Brews

Kitchen Always Open Until Midnight BAR OPEN: Sunday - Wednesday Thursday - Saturday Until Midnight Until 2 a.m. Enjoy our Excellence in Courtesy & Customer Service. 1121 Main Street • Blowing Rock · 828-295-3155 •

PHOTO BY MATT DEBNAM The guides at Linville Caverns are both friendly and knowledgable, and are happy to answer questions on the cave’s ecosystem, geology and history.



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FIND US FOR SPECIALS! 421 Blowing Rock Road Across from Convocation Center 828-386-1216 •

Unique and varied menu offerings that you’ll want to experience again and again!

Red Onion Dine in the cool mountain air, rain or shine, on our covered outdoor patio! 227 Hardin Street, Boone, NC 28607




Grill Hours: Mon - Thurs 11:00am - 8:30pm and Fri - Sat 11:00am - 9:00pm Daily Lunch Specials Mon - Fri Open until 11pm Mon - Thurs and Midnight Fri - Sat

Home Pool Table Repairs, Recovery & Move & Setup Cues, Lights, Covers & Complete Billiards Accessories

PAGE 102



FULL ABC PERMITS LOCAL NC BEERS featuring Foothills Brewing DINNER Daily starting at 5pm WEEKEND BRUNCH Full Bar


A Favorite of High Couny Locals

Private Room Available 344 Shawneehaw Ave S. • Banner Elk, NC 28604 • 828-898-5550

HOURS: Mon. - Sat. 6am - 5pm Sun. 7am - 3pm

HOURS: Mon. - Sat. 6am - 3pm Sun. 7am - 3pm

Boone's original Bagel Shop since 1988

Featuring Boone Bagelry Bagels

Serving Breakfast and Lunch All Day 14 Varieties of Freshly Baked Bagels Vegetarian and Gluten Free Options Available

• Open Lunch & Dinner, All Day 7 Days a Week

Home of the Famous Bagelicious

Coffee Bar with Espresso, Latte and Cappuccino drinks, with locally roasted coffee Gourmet Lunch Menu Featuring: Turkey Apple Grilled Cheese, Fresh Chicken Salad w/Blueberry Balsamic, Lox Hash, Burgers, Deli Sandwiches Breakfast served All Day: Omelettes, Pancakes, French Toast Vegetarian and Gluten Free Options Free Delivery

See all College games Saturdays and NFL Package on Sundays.



970 Rivers Street, Boone, NC 828-264-7772 •

516 West King Street 262.5585

125 Graduate Lane 262.1600

• Extensive Wine List • Adjacent Tap Room with Billiards & Games • Large Selection of Craft Beers • Patio Dining Available, • All ABC Permits Leashed Dogs Welcome • Daily Culinary & Beverage Specials • 18 Rotating Taps to Include a • Large Parties Welcome Large Selection of Local Beers • Reservations Accepted

Large Screen TVs

Follow us on Facebook & stay up to date on special events and daily specials!

Featuring: Deli Sandwiches, Fresh Salads, Home made Flavored Cream Cheeses, Omelettes, Pancakes, French Toast, Burgers, Gyro Now Offering Espresso & Cappuccino Free Delivery



PAGE 103



Serving traditional southern favorites, she-crab soup and shrimp & grits, as well as grass-fed beef burgers, specialty sandwiches, unique tacos, wood-fired flatbreads & pizzas, quinoa bowls, steaks, seafood and plenty of gluten-free and vegan choices.



with local, regional and national favorites

Friday & Saturday Nights


Relax on leather couches, sip on a drink and relax...


Mon-Sat 11am-2am. Sunday 11am-10pm. Sunday Brunch 11am-4pm

Dine-in • Take Out • Delivery and Catering

179 Howard Street. Downtown Boone. 828.266.2179.

18 years of serving the

best dang burritos & cold beers to the High Country!

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your entire order with mention of this ad (expires 12/1/17)

127 South Depot St., Boone, NC • 828.263.9511 /blackcatburrito



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Chinese, Japanese, Sushi & Thai Enter as strangers. Leave as friends.

100% No M.S.G.

Half Wine Wednesday

240 Shadowline Dr., AA3 + AA4 - Boone Inside Harris Teeter Shopping Center OPEN 7 DAYS A WEEK Mon-Thurs: 11:00 a.m.-10:00 p.m. Fri-Sat: 11:00 a.m.-10:30 p.m. Sunday: 11:00 a.m.-9:30 p.m.

Bottled Wine. Dine-in only with entrée purchase.

828-386-1170 • 828-386-1179

Featuring Craft NC Brews and Storie Street Wines

Everyday Specials: Sushi Rolls 2 for $8 • 3 for $11 Hibachi Vegetables $5 Hibachi Chicken $5.50 Hibachi Shrimp and Steak $6 Take Out Only!

Open ALL Day Monday through Saturday Check out our Menu on our website

1167 Main Street | Blowing Rock | 828.295.7075

ASU 10% OFF (with ID)

TAKE OUT AVAILABLE or use Boone Take-Out •



DAILY WINE SPECIAL 10% OFF 6 BOTTLES 20% OFF 12 BOTTLES 25% OFF PRE-ORDERED Proudly Serving Lady Fingers "Gourmet to Go" Frozen Meals

Come see our new additions and expanded deli options!

See why Southern Living Magazine called us 'The Nicest Gas Station in America' – featuring a Full Deli, Extensive Beer and Wine options, rotating local draft beers, and snacks from local artisans.

990 Main Street, Blowing Rock, NC 28605 (828) 414-9322 •

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Spend a day at one of the top-rated spas in the country with a Westglow Day Spa Package. Repeatedly ranked in the Top Ten Destination Spas by Travel + Leisure, guests may customize their Day Spa Packages with a wide variety of wellness, body, facial, salon, and fitness services.

PAGE 107

The Hillwinds Inn: 828.295.7660 The Ridgeway Inn: 828.295.7321 The Village Inn: 828.295.3380

The Village Inns of Blowing Rock are Hillwinds Inn, Ridgeway Inn and The Village Inn, three stylish accommodations conveniently located just steps from the shops and restaurants of Blowing Rock. Rowland’s Restaurant is open to the public nightly. Visit our website in the upcoming weeks to view our indulgent fall menu. Reservations are recommended. We hope to see you soon! Please call 828.295.5141 or visit

Each of the three inns offers a complimentary continental breakfast and afternoon reception. Accommodations include deluxe rooms, suites and cottages.


Pet friendly rooms available.

PAGE 108



Watauga River Fly Shop is a full service fly shop and guide service.

Fly Shop & Guide


We offer guided wade and float trips. Come by, call or email to book your trip today!

5712 NC HWY 105 S VILAS, NC 28692 (828) 963-5463 BOONE


Proud to announce our move to Grandfather View Village in September!

Grandfather View Village Across from Mountain Lumber 9872 NC Hwy 105 S. Unit #7, Banner Elk, NC 28604

828.263.1133 |



PAGE 109

Mystery Hill: A destination of wonder and amazement BY JEFF EASON


or nearly 60 years, visitors and High Country residents have been scratching their heads about the strange phenomena that happen at Mystery Hill. It appears that it is one of those places on the planet where the laws of gravity have been repealed. From optical illusions to a rich mountain history, Mystery Hill is a family-friendly, fun and educational destination, located on U.S. 321 between Boone and Blowing Rock. “This place is so special because people come here to have fun,” said Wayne Underwood, owner and operator of Mystery Hill. “Families need to be able to do more together. It seems that through all of the hustle and bustle, folks seem to forget that. We have activities for families to learn and have fun together.” Mystery Hill includes optical illusions, Mystery House, Mystery Platform, Hall of Mystery, Appalachian Heritage Museum and Native American Artifacts Museum, containing one of the largest collections of artifacts in the Southeast.

PHOTO BY JEFF EASON Open all year-round, Mystery Hill features an entire day’s worth of family fun and wonder.

ena associated with the unique location. It appeared that the gravitational pull on the side of the mountain caused unusual things to happen. Underwood purchased the entire operation in 1958 and it has been a source of wonder and amazement to visitors ever since.

HISTORY Mystery Hill and the strange phenomena that occur date back to the early part of the 20th century when William Hundson, the original owner of the land first discovered oddities about the place. Hudson operated an old cider mill on one end of the plot of land where an old wooden platform stood. A pair of identical twins worked at the cider mill, and Hudson noticed that despite being the same height, the twin who stood on the north end of the platform always looked taller. Visitors can still experience the Mystery Platform today. Hudson also noticed that the trees in his apple orchard grew toward the north, directly into the prevailing winds. And the apples the fell from the trees appeared to roll uphill on the old walking path!


PHOTO BY JEFF EASON A guide at Mystery Hill demonstrates the gravitational oddities associated with the attraction.

In 1957, Buford Stamey and Rondia J. Underwood where looking to building a restaurant in the High Country and con-

sidered Mystery Hill as a prime location. Throughout their tour of the property Hudson explained the strange phenom-

Your trip to the High Country can be made even more special and comfortable by staying at Riverside Log Cabins at Mystery Hill. The cabins are conveniently located between Boone and Blowing Rock and are near the Middle Fork Greenway Trail and Sterling Creek Park. Grab a fishing pole and you are just a short walk to the Middle Fork of the New River. Cabins are available for nightly and weekly rentals. For more information, call (828) 264-2792.

PAGE 110



Cheers to brewing in the High Country not required for tours. To find out more about Blowing Rock Brewing Company as well as the ale house and inn, visit



here’s something satisfying in having the chance to taste a locally made beer — even more so when you can learn how it’s

made. The High Country prides itself on producing and buying local products. So it won’t come as a shock that the area has a great deal of breweries to visit. Whether in Boone, Blowing Rock or Beech Mountain, the High Country has a brewery sure to pleasure every taste bud.

BLOWING ROCK BREWING COMPANY — ALE HOUSE AND RESTAURANT Location: 152 Sunset Drive, Blowing Rock Hours: Monday — Tuesday: 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday: 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday-Saturday: 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday: Noon to 9 p.m. Phone: (828) 414-9600

BOONESHINE BREWING COMPANY Booneshine Brewing Company opened in 2015 is owned and operated by co-owners Tim Herdklotz and Carson Coatney. Booneshine is a craft microbewery that allows visitors to come inside and take a look at the brewing process as long as its doors are open. Once visitors are able to get a look inside the production of Booneshine, the can head next door to try the products. Booneshine’s taproom is located with it’s neighboring partner — Basil’s Fresh Pasta and Deli. The brewery currently has 10 beers on tap at its partner restaurant. It’s Tropicpale Ale — with mango, orange and papaya flavors — received first place at the NC Brewers Cup 2016 for American Pale Ale. For more information on Booneshine, visit

BOONESHINE BREWING COMPANY Location: 246 Wilson Drive, Suite L, Boone Hours: Monday — Wednesday: 10:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Thursday — Saturday: 10:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday: Noon to 9 p.m. Phone: (828) 386-4066

APPALACHIAN MOUNTAIN BREWERY With about 100 varieties of beer and ciders to choose from, Appalachian Mountain Brewery has a taste for about every beer lover. AMB uses both 10-barrel and 20-barrel high-grade glycol chilled stainless steel fermenters and several tanks to brew its beer. The AMB tasting room features outdoor seating, a 120 foot-long outdoor bar bordering Boone Creek and a covered

FLAT TOP BREWING COMPANY PHOTO BY KAYLA LASURE Booneshine’s 3150 Ale is one of the beers you can purchase at its next door partner restaurant Basil’s Fresh Pasta and Deli.

heated porch. AMB also offers a covered bike barn for cyclists wishing to stop in for a drink. To see a complete list of AMB beer, visit

$35 and reservations are required. For more information about what classes are being offered, view the Lost Province events calendar at lostprovince. com/events.



Location: 163 Boone Creek Drive, Boone Hours: Monday: Noon to 10 p.m. Tuesday — Saturday: Noon to 11 p.m. Sunday: Noon to 10 p.m. Phone: (828) 263-1111

Location: 130 N. Depot St., Boone Hours: Monday — Wednesday: 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Thursday — Saturday: 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday: Noon to 9 p.m. Phone: (828) 265-3506



A microbrewery and gastropub that opened in 2014, Lost Province took on it’s namesake after the northwestern counties — Ashe, Alleghany and Watauga — were known as the “lost province” for their geographic seclusion from the rest of the state. Lost Province offers 12 beers on tap from the light colored “kiss my grits” brew to the black-colored oatmeal brew “black bear stout.” To pair with the drinks, Lost Province serves a variety of foods such as food fired pretzels, Neapolitan pizza and beer mac and cheese. Lost Province is starting up their fall Beer 101 series either the second to last or last Tuesday of each month until November. The class will offer a four course meal and education about different beer styles to pair with the meal. Each class is

The Blowing Rock Brewing Company opened in 2013 as the first brewery in Blowing Rock. Its beer is offered in three series: the legacy, ale house and American honor series. The legacy series consist of beers such as the Blowing Rock IPA and Blowing Rock Oktoberfest that have been around since the opening of the brewery. The ate house series includes ever-changing artisan brews such as the Belgian Pale Ale and the Scotch Ale. The American honor series currently incorporates the the Red Rider, an American red ale, and the Hop on N’ Ride, an American IPA. The brewery also offers the Blowing Rock Ale House and Inn which serves lunch and dinner along with it’s brews. Brewery tours are offered from 1 to 5 p.m. on Saturdays. Reservations are

At 3,715 feet above sea level, Flat Top Brewing Company prides itself on using Banner Elk mountain spring water for all of its brewing. Flat Top brews its beer using a 20-barrel steam driven system in its brewhouse which is all visible through a window in the taproom. The taproom offers beers in three tiers: first, second and third. The first tier is for easy drinking with low to medium ABV (Alcohol By Volume) and IBU’s (International Bittering Unit); this includes its Rollcast and Orange Nite Fox brews. The second tier has higher ABV and IBU levels such as its Top Coast IPA and the Nymphomanic. The third tier is reserved for specialty beers with high ABV and currently consists of a peach wheat beer — the Phuzzy Phoxxx. A small kitchen with food is to be added to Flat Top soon. For updates on this and more information on Flat Top, visit

FLAT TOP BREWING COMPANY Location: 567 Main St. E., Banner Elk Hours: Monday-Thursday: 2 to 8 p.m. Friday — Saturday: 2 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday: 2 to 6 p.m. Phone: (828) 898-8677

BEECH MOUNTAIN BREWING COMPANY Beech Mountain Brewing Company is unique as it’s one of a very few breweries in the nation that doubles as a ski area. The beer menu currently consists of five brews as well as guest and rotating SEE CHEERS ON PAGE 111



taps. This menu includes a Beech Blonde brew which is more light and refreshing to a Patroller Porter which has more of a roast and coffee taste. Included in Beech Mountain Resort, people can enjoy an alcoholic beverage after skiing, snowboarding, snow tubing, ice skating, mountain biking and disc golf. The brewery is also open to all visitors even if they aren’t participating in these activities. For more information on Beech Mountain Brewing Company, visit www. brewery.

BEECH MOUNTAIN BREWING COMPANY Beech Mountain Brewing Company Location: 1007 Beech Mountain Parkway, Beech Mountain Hours: Thursday: Noon. to 7 p.m. Friday — Saturday: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday: Noon to 7 p.m. Phone: (828) 387-2011

BOONDOCKS BREWING Founded in 2012, Boondocks Brewing is Ashe County’s first and only commercially licensed craft beer brewery. Boondocks tries to work with local farmers to source some of the ingredients used for its beer and also provides spent grains to local farmers to feed their livestock. Boondocks Brewing offers visitors both it’s taproom and restaurant that’s open seven days a week and its brew haus which houses its brewing operations. Its taproom and restaurant consists of two full bars with 25 craft beers on tap such as its Boondocks Blue Ridge Brutal Brown and Boondocks Blueberry Hoptart Saison. To pair with the brews, the restaurant serves items such as wings, sandwiches, burgers and other food items. The taproom and restaurant also offers pet-friendly outside covered seating with a beer garden. The brew haus opened in 2014 as an extension of the tap and restaurant. It consists of two floors with a bar on each level as well as a full service kitchen. The space can be used for reserved special events or private parties. For more information on reservations for special events, email events@


PAGE 111 or call the brew haus. Visit for a more extensive look at Boondocks Brewing.

BOONDOCKS BREWING Taproom and Restaurant Location: 108 S. Jefferson Ave., West Jefferson Hours: Sunday — Thursday: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday — Saturday: 11 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. Phone: (336) 246-5222

BREW HAUS Location: 302 S. Jefferson Ave., West Jefferson Hours: Wednesday-Friday: 4 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Saturday: Noon to 6 p.m. Phone: (336) 846-7525

BLIND SQUIRREL BREWERY As a microbrewery that also offers a restaurant, lodging, zip lining, tubing and disc golf, Blind Squirrel has an adventure for everyone. This brewery uses four separate three-barrel systems to craft brews like its Halle Blackberry that’s brewed with seven malts and the American Pale Ale with a citrus/floral taste. Its restaurant serves casual dining and also offers on-site buffet style catering for special group meals and occasions all year round. Blind Squirrel opened its doors in 2012 and offers visitors a look at the brewing process. Tours are operated twice a day on Fridays and Saturdays at 3 and 4 p.m. Guests must be at least 12 years of age with no fee added. Guests 21 and up will be charged $10 a person — which includes a full flight of four four ounce pours of the beers of your choice at the bar afterwards. Tour group sizes are limited to 15 people. Reservations are encouraged. For more information on Blind Squirrel, visit www.blindsquirrelbrewery. com.

BLIND SQUIRREL BREWERY Location: 4716 S. U.S. 19 E., Plumtree Hours: Thursday: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. (through October) Friday — Saturday: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday: Noon to 4 p.m. Phone: (828) 765-9696

PHOTO BY KAYLA LASURE Beer that has finished the brewing process flows from brewing tanks into Booneshine kegs which are then ready to sell.

BEER BASICS Every brewery has its own way of making their beer products. However, most beer processes share similar qualities. According to Booneshine co-owner Tim Herdklotz, beer in its basic form is made of water, malted barley, hops and yeast. Barley is a type of grass, cereal grain which is used for the seeds inside. Herdklotz explained that the barley is taken to a malt house where it is roasted to different levels to affect the flavor of the beer. “They can be lightly roasted, which would be light in color and light in flavor, to caramelized and darker roasted all the way down to being burnt,” Herdklotz said. The malted barley is then combined with high temperature water to drag out the sugars from the barley. This sugar water mixture — called beer wort — is then boiled. At this point in the process is where hops can be added to the mix for bitterness and flavor. Hops are a type of flower that is added to beer to give it flavor, Herdklotz said. “There are oils that you get from the hops that lend themselves to the bitterness in the flavor of beer as well as the other flavors that might be fruity, piny or citrusy.” The solution is then cooled down and yeast is added — this is what makes the beer’s alcohol content. For Booneshine, Herdklotz said this process takes about two weeks. The beer is the funneled into kegs and packaging for costumers to enjoy.


PAGE 112


Green and grapes among the leaves The High Country’s vineyards blossom in the autumn months BY THOMAS SHERRILL


midst the spectacular foliage of High Country autumn, one place the leaves stay green is at the region’s vineyards. In fact, the leaves become more green, as autumn is the growing season for the grapes that make the special blend of the High Country’s wine. “Autumn is our season for wine making, that’s when we harvest our grapes,” said Dylan Tatum, winemaker and general manager of Grandfather Vineyard and Winery. “We start receiving grapes in late October, early November and receive for about a month, depending on the variety. Comparable to the vineyards and wineries of Europe in terms of elevation and scenery, the High Country offers a different experience than other wineries in the United States. The subtropical highlands is ideal for drier whines, which are crisp and more acidic, which vary from the sweeter wines of the lower elevations. A big positive of High Country wineries is that the three area counties form what High Country Host calls the Boone Area Wine Trail. “Great thing about the wineries of the High Country is that they’re basically on trail,” Candice Cook, director of High Country Host said. “Visitors can visit all three local wineries in one day.” The three wineries on the Boone Area Wine Trail, the Grandfather Vineyard and Winery, the Banner Elk Winery and Villa and the Linville Falls Winery, all offer indoor and outdoor seating, which is a net positive in the varying autumn weather. “A lot of people bundle up around our fire pits,” Tatum said. “We try to keep the customers as comfortable as possible.” With the fall being wedding season, the local vineyards do host a small number of weddings, but generally strive to remain open during one of their busiest season. “When we do a wedding, we have to close down early, so we typically do one a month,” Tatum noted. Despite wineries having a reputation for being a high-class delicacy, the wineries of the High Country can offer a great experience for everyone. “The best thing to do is to come by and take part in a wine tasting,” Tatum recommended for first-time visitors. “You can find that one wine you enjoy.”

FILE PHOTO Wines of all colors at Grandfather Vineyard and Winery.

WINERIES OF THE HIGH COUNTRY Banner Elk Winery & Villa 60 Deer Run Banner Elk, NC 28604 (828) 898-9090

Grandfather Vineyard & Winery 225 Vineyard Lane Banner Elk, NC 28604 (828) 963-2400 SUBMITTED PHOTO Buckets full of grapes fresh off the vine from Bethel Valley Farms ready to be distributed and turned into fine local wine.

Linville Falls Winery 9557 Linville Falls Highway Newland, NC 28657

(828) 765-1400

Thistle Meadow Winery 102 Thistle Meadow Laurel Springs, NC 28644 (800) 233-1505

Watauga Lake Winery 6952 Big Dry Run Road Butler, Tenn. 37640 (423) 768-0345 Plumtree Valley Winery 4716 U.S. Hwy. 19E Plumntree, N.C, 28657 (828) 765-9696



PAGE 113

Advertisers Index

4 Seasons Vacation Rentals ........................................ 35

Farmers Rentals & Power ...........................................70

Paramount Motors .....................................................114

Animal Emergency Clinic Of The High Country ........ 18

Festiva At Blue Ridge Village .....................................65

Parker Tie .................................................................... 35

Antiques On Howard .................................................. 27

Flat Top Brewery ........................................................46

Parkway Craft Center .................................................. 18

Antiques On Main ...................................................... 80

Footsloggers ................................................................98

Pedalin Pig ................................................................ 103

Appalachian Antique Mall ..........................................26

Echota ..................................................................45, 116

People’s Furniture ......................................................40

Appalachian Furniture ............................................... 57

Foscoe Realty Rentals ................................................115

Perry’s Gold Mine ....................................................... 16

Appalachian Regional Healthcare System .................87

Freds General Mercantile ........................................... 97

Premier Sothebys International Realty ...................... 77

Ashe Chamber Of Commerce ..................................... 35

Grandfather Mountain ............................................... 10

Proper ....................................................................... 104

Ashe County Arts Council ........................................... 35

Grandfather Mountain Campground ......................... 97

Ram’s Rack ................................................................. 27

Ashe County Cheese ................................................... 35

Grandfather Vineyard ...........................................45, 89

Red Onion Cafe ..........................................................101

Ashe Rental Agency .................................................... 35

Green Park Inn ........................................................... 10

Remax Realty Group ...................................................66

Banner Elk Consignment Cottage ..............................46

Gregory Alan’s ............................................................ 41

Rivercross ............................................................. 32, 76

Black Cat Burrito ...................................................... 103

Hawksnest ................................................................... 53

Shoppes At Farmers Hardware ..................................26

Blackberry Creek Mattress Company ................... 15, 45

High Country Antiques ...............................................90

Six Pence Pub ............................................................100

Blowing Rock Art/History Museum ........................... 47

Hound Ears Club ........................................................ 75

Sky Valley Zipline .......................................................40

Blowing Rock Attraction ............................................. 52

Incredible Toy Company ............................................ 41

Skyline Telephone Corp ..............................................23

Blowing Rock Chamber Of Commerce .......................78

Jenkins Realtors ......................................................... 25

Southwest Trading Company .....................................40

Blowing Rock Estate Jewelry ..................................... 51

Kawasaki Of Hickory ................................................108

Spice And Tea Exchange ........................................... 105

Blowing Rock Furniture Gallery ................................. 12

Kayes Kitchen .............................................................30

Stonewall’s .......................................................... 46, 102

Blowing Rock Market ............................................... 105

Kincaid/Bernhardt Furniture Outlets .......................... 3

Storie Street Grille .................................................... 104

Blue Mountain Metal Works .....................................46

Lazy Bear Lodge ..........................................................32

Sugar Mountain Golf .................................................. 52

Blue Ridge Professional Property Services ................23

Leatherwood Mountains ............................................42

Sugartop Resort ..........................................................65

Blue Ridge Realty & Investments ............................... 37

Lees Mcrae College, Seasonal .....................................66

Tanner Outlet .............................................................. 41

Boone Bagelry ..................................................... 26, 102

Logs America, Llc. ....................................................108

Tapp Room ................................................................101

Boone Drugs Inc ........................................................... 7

Lucky Penny ................................................................26

Taste Grill ................................................................. 104

Boone Paint & Interior .........................................58, 59

Magic Cycles ...............................................................26

Tatum Galleries ....................................................45, 89

Brass Exchange, The ...................................................54

Makoto’s .................................................................... 105

Taylor House Inn ........................................................32

Brushy Mountain Motor Sports, Inc ..........................66

Mast Farm Inn ............................................................32

The Art Cellar .............................................................. 91

Bumgarner Camping Center ......................................83

Mast General Store .................................................2, 32

The Cabin Store ..........................................................99

Cafe Portofino ........................................................... 102

Molly Northern Interiors ............................................ 19

The Gamekeeper Restaurant ...................................... 76

Caldwell Chamber ........................................................71

Monkees .......................................................................11

The Local ............................................................. 27, 103

Caldwell Unc Health Care .......................................... 25

Mountain Dog And Friends ........................................48

The Pet Place ...............................................................49

Cardinal, The .............................................................101

Mountain Home And Hearth Inc ...............................65

The Village Inns Of Blowing Rock ............................ 107

Carlton Gallery ............................................................ 47

Mountain Outfitters ....................................................60

The Woodlands Bbq ................................................. 104

Casa Rustica Of Boone Inc ....................................... 103

Mountainside Lodge Bed And Breakfast ...................32

Town Home ..............................................................108

Cha Da Thai ................................................................ 27

Museum Of Ashe County History ............................... 35

Town Of Seven Devils .................................................64

Chetola Resort At Blowing Rock ................................28

My Best Friends Barkery ............................................46

Town Tavern ............................................................. 102

Cobo ............................................................................ 27

My Favorite Kitchen Things ....................................... 35

Tweetsie Railroad .................................................62, 63

Corriher Tractor Inc Dba Bob Cat Of Lenoir .............34

My Mountain Home ................................................... 41

Valle Crucis Conference Center ..................................32

Dbda Town Of Boone Cultural Resources ..................82

Mystery Hill ..................................................................9

Watauga County Christmas Trees ........................92, 93

Dewoolfson Down ............................................... 45, 106

New Lifestyles Carpet One ......................................... 18

Watauga River Fly Shop ...........................................108

Dutch Creek Trails ......................................................32

New River Building Supplies ......................................39

Westglow Spa ............................................................ 107

Ericks Cheese & Wine ................................................. 10

North Wilkesboro Tourism ........................................ 91

Family Billiards ....................................................45, 101

Over Yonder ................................................................32

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Autumn Times 2017  
Autumn Times 2017