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The Mountain Times Autumn Guide



The Mountain Times Autumn Guide



The Mountain Times Autumn Guide


TABLE OF CONTENTS ASU Homecoming.............................................................................. 66 ASU Performing Arts Series............................................................... 64 Advertising Index.............................................................................. 105 Art crawls............................................................................................ 80 Arts councils....................................................................................... 82 Autumn at Oz...................................................................................... 40 Bicycling............................................................................................. 28 Blowing Rock Art & History Museum................................................ 86 Calendar............................................................................................ 101 Camping.............................................................................................. 15 Chambers of Commerce...................................................................... 6 Climbing.............................................................................................. 22 Daniel Boone Native Gardens............................................................ 41 Disc Golf............................................................................................. 53 Equestrian activities........................................................................... 89 Farmers’ markets............................................................................... 92 Festivals.............................................................................................. 70 Fishing................................................................................................. 20 Football............................................................................................... 68 Frescoes............................................................................................. 44 Galleries.............................................................................................. 77 Gem-mining........................................................................................ 58 General stores.................................................................................... 61 Golf...................................................................................................... 26

Grandfather Mountain........................................................................ 37 Hickory Ridge Homestead................................................................. 52 High Country Host................................................................................ 7 Hiking.................................................................................................. 14 Leaf-looking........................................................................................ 27 Linville Caverns.................................................................................. 34 Mystery Hill......................................................................................... 32 Nightlife............................................................................................... 74 Numbers of Note.................................................................................. 5 Oktoberfest......................................................................................... 50 Parkway Crafts................................................................................... 52 Pet-friendly places............................................................................. 87 Rainy day activities............................................................................ 59 Shooting.............................................................................................. 21 Sugar Mountain.................................................................................. 51 Theater................................................................................................ 62 Towns.................................................................................................... 8 Tweetsie Railroad............................................................................... 46 Watauga Lake..................................................................................... 33 Watersports........................................................................................ 19 Wineries.............................................................................................. 99 Woolly Worm Festival....................................................................... 100 Worship............................................................................................... 63 Ziplines................................................................................................ 56

Halloween is always a time to get creative with pumpkins. Find more festive fall activities inside. Photo by ROB MOORE

The Mountain Times Autumn Guide


Fall in the High Country? T he Mountain Times is here to catch you. Autumn time – or Times, as we call it here – brings to the mountains a vibrant kaleidoscope of color, unmatched by anything you’ll find elsewhere. And then there are the leaves. Although the fall tableau is nothing short of picturesque, the High Country teems with color year-round. Art, music, shopping and scenic surroundings contribute to our own cultural color, and, while the palette changes with each season, the High Country’s distinctive sense of self remains intact. In this year’s Autumn Times, you’ll


find features on everything that makes our area a boon for visitors and residents alike – outdoor activities, popular attractions, the arts, nightlife and more. And, since new events and thingsto-do are always cropping up, visit a local newsstand and pick up a copy of The Mountain Times for up-to-date information on what’s happening in the High Country. Till next time, Frank Ruggiero Editor The Mountain Times

Nu m b e r s o f N o t e

Law Enforcement Watauga County Watauga County Sheriff’s Office (828) 264-3761

Boone Police Department (828) 268-6900

Blowing Rock Police Department (828) 295-5210

Appalachian Regional Healthcare System Police (828) 262-4168

Appalachian State University Police Department (828) 262-2150

Ashe County


(336) 246-9410

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

Banner Elk Police Department (828) 898-4300

Jefferson Police Department (336) 846-5529

West JeffeRson Police

(828) 737-7000 (336) 846-7101

FastMed Urgent Care

Newland Police Department

Animal Control

(828) 963-6760

Sugar Mountain Police Department (828) 898-4349

Beech Mountain Police Department (828) 387-2342

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

Frank Ruggiero Editor Charlie Price Advertising Director

Andy Gainey Circulation Manager Corrinne Loucks Assad, Steve Behr, Sam Calhoun, Jesse Campbell, Heather Canter, Jeff Eason, Matthew Hundley, Kellen Moore, Sherrie Norris, Lauren K. Ohnesorge, Jamie Shell, Sandy Shook, Roni Toldanes and Ashley Wilson

Ashe Memorial Hospital

(828) 733-9573

Ashe County Sheriff’s Office (336) 846-5600


Cannon Memorial Hospital (Linville)

(828) 265-7146

Seven Devils Police Department

Gene Fowler Jr. Publisher

Jennifer Canosa Graphics Manager

Blowing Rock Hospital (Blowing Rock)

Elk Park Police Department

(828) 733-2023

2011 Autumn Times Staff

Rob Moore Layout Editor

(828) 295-3136

Avery County


Watauga County Animal Control (828) 262-1672

Ashe County Animal Control (336) 982-4060

Avery County Humane Society (828) 733-6312

Animal Emergency & Pet Care Clinic of the High Country (828) 268-2833

Writers Mark Mitchell, Deck Moser, Radd Nesbit and Stephanie Razdrh Sales Sarah Becky Hutchins, Meleah Petty and Kelsey Stellar Graphics 474 Industrial Park Drive Boone, North Carolina 28607 828-264-6397 • A publication of Mountain Times Publications & Jones Media, Inc., Greeneville, Tenn.

On the front: Will Shirey climbs Big Lost Cove Cliff’s ‘Great Arete.’ For more climbing photography, visit Photo by LYNN WILLIS, FRont designed by rob moore

The Mountain Times Autumn Guide



HIGH COUNTRY Chambers of Commerce

Ashe County Chamber of Commerce

Banner Elk Chamber of Commerce

Blowing Rock Chamber of Commerce

Ashe County, home to the Jeffersons (West Jefferson and Jefferson, that is), is just about as far as you can go in the High Country before entering Southwestern Virginia. The county is considered, in many respects, “a step back in time” to the way the Appalachian Mountains used to be. The chamber 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 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and all the time by clicking to

Blowing Rock is considered one of the crown jewels of the Blue Ridge. Its chamber of commerce knows this tight-knit community as no one else, and its representatives are always willing to share this knowledge with visitors. 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.

Location: 303 E. 2nd St., West Jefferson, N.C. 28694 Mailing Address: P.O. Box 31, West Jefferson, N.C. 28694 Phone: (336) 846-9550 & (888) 343-2743 Fax: (336) 846-8671 E-mail: Website:

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 184. The center offers information on lodging, dining, attractions, shopping and other businesses in Avery County. The friendly, knowledgeable staff is on duty seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Location: 4501 Tynecastle Highway, Suite 2, Banner Elk, N.C. 28604 Phone: (828) 898-5605 Fax: (828) 898-8287 E-mail: Website:

Location: 100 W. Main St., Banner Elk, N.C. 28604 Mailing Address: P.O. Box 1872, Banner Elk, N.C. 28604 Phone: (828) 898-8395 Fax: (828) 898-8395 (call ahead) E-mail: Website:

Beech Mountain Chamber of Commerce Whether you’re looking for a North Carolina mountain vacation full of adventure, or just a few days to relax and breathe the fresh mountain air, Beech Mountain – at an elevation of 5,506 – will give your soul something to smile about. The area 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 is here to help. Location & Mailing Address: 403-A Beech Mountain Parkway, Beech Mountain, N.C. 28604 Phone: (828) 387-9283 or (800) 468-5506 E-mail: Website:

Location: 132, Park Ave., Blowing Rock, N.C. 28605 Mailing Address: P.O. Box 406 Blowing Rock, N.C. 28605 Phone: (828) 295-7851 & (877) 750-4636 Fax: (828) 295-4643 E-mail: Website:

Boone Area Chamber of Commerce 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. Now at a new location in downtown Boone on King Street, the chamber is an ideal place to stop for information on area activities, brochures and maps of the community. Location & Mailing Address: 780 W. King St., Boone, N.C. 28607 Phone: (828) 264-2225 & (800) 852-9506 Fax: (828) 264-6644 E-mail: i­­­­ Website:

The Mountain Times Autumn Guide



The High Country Host Visitor Information Center is located at 1700 Blowing Rock Road in Boone. For more information, call (828) 264-1299.

Meet Your Host High Country Host Visitor’s Center



Photo submitted

he staff at the High Country Host Visitor’s Center has heard a fair amount of questions about this area, including everything from, “Where’s the purple house on the parkway with the pottery?” to “I’m lost! Where am I?” The Visitor’s Center is a nonprofit organization for those visiting Wilkes, Mitchell, Alleghany, Watauga, Avery and Ashe counties. Located at 1700 Blowing Rock Road in Boone, it is easy to find and is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sundays. The center was started in 1980, when local businesses and area tourist attractions were invited to meet and work on problems with the tourist industry. The damaging effects of inflation and the energy crisis were discussed, leading to negotiations that would allow organizations that were already a part of their local chamber of commerce to join a new area organization, the High Country Host. Operated through the North Carolina Department of Transportation, the Host has a thriving website and their physical Visitor’s Center is full of brochures for

‘We don’t just answer questions. We help people make a memory.’ Loraine Tyrie High Country Host

member organizations and information on what to do, where to stay and what to eat in the area. There is even a book of local menus that visitors can peruse before visiting one of the area’s eateries. The organization is also a resource for locals; in addition to information about specific attractions, the Host promotes the businesses of the area through everything from co-op projects to advertisements in local media, including magazines, newspapers and radio. The Visitor’s Center is also a call center, fielding questions on driving directions, upcoming weather informa-

tion, and even where the best mattress in town is. Their main website,, includes more specific sites like www.mountainsofnc. com, and As Loraine Tyrie, administrative services assistant at High Country Host, said, “We don’t just answer questions; we help people make a memory.” One of the Host’s most well-known programs is the production of the “North Carolina’s High Country Mountain Vacation Planner.” In 2009-10, the organization printed and distributed 125,000 of the guides, which includes local arts and entertainment, lodgings, sports and family fun. It also includes contact information for local tourism bureaus and chambers of commerce, for even more indepth details on local attractions. Staff members are in the center seven days a week and the voicemail system allows callers to leave messages for the right person to contact them as soon as possible. During the summer months, check out the events calendar posted at the Visitor’s Center and call for information on summer concerts and festivals in the area.


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The Mountain Times Autumn Guide


From staff reports


Picturesque downtown Boone is home to mountains of shops, restaurants and community events. Photo by FRANK RUGGIERO


The town of Boone provides the heartbeat of Watauga County, the bustling and animated spot where residents, students and visitors intermingle. The town is home to Appalachian State University, originally a teachers’ college that now attracts about 17,000 students for all types of studies. Make sure to wear your black and gold apparel to cheer on the ASU football team in the fall. The Mountaineers are best known for their three consecutive Division I national championships and a stunning upset of Michigan at Ann Arbor in 2007, but they provide a great show each and every year. Adjacent to the university, downtown

Boone has dozens of restaurants, shops and galleries located on and near King Street. You can browse for antiques, explore the history of Boone Drug or grab a handful of sweets from the Candy Barrel inside Mast General Store. A new life-size sculpture of legendary bluegrass picker Doc Watson was unveiled this summer at the corner of King and Depot streets. The sculpture honors one of Boone’s prized gems who, despite nearly lifelong blindness, has become one of the most talented and prolific musicians the genre can offer. Follow the brilliant color of the changing leaves to the front steps of the Jones

Blowing Rock is named after the Blowing Rock (828-295-7111), a legendary and gravity-defying attraction just outside the downtown limits. File photo


House, built in 1908. The house was donated to the town in the early 1980s and today houses art galleries and community functions. Boone is a town where old and new meet, and visitors are made to feel like part of the family.

Blowing Rock

Stepping into Blowing Rock is like stepping into a storybook village. The small town has a population of about 1,241 that expands exponentially as tourists flock to the area, especially in summer and fall. Downtown Blowing Rock is the primary gathering space, where local government, independent businesses, churches and an elementary school come together to give the town its charm. Despite the town’s luxury and sophistication, it’s an inherently family-friendly place. Memorial Park sits prominently in the heart of town, offering playgrounds, tennis and basketball courts, a gazebo and benches the entire family can enjoy. New to the Main Street scene this autumn is the Blowing Rock Art & History Museum, slated to open Oct. 1. The gorgeous new building, located at the

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The Mountain Times Autumn Guide

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end of the street next to Rumple Memorial Presbyterian Church, will offer exhibits, classes, music and activities for both youth and adults. As you walk through town, see if you can pick out facets that resemble Jan Karon’s “Mitford” series; the fictional books were based on the people and places of Blowing Rock. The town’s namesake is located off U.S. 321 near the border of Caldwell County. The Blowing Rock attraction overlooks John’s River Gorge and explains the Native American legend that provided its name. When the family is exhausted from all the exploring, talking, shopping and eating Blowing Rock can provide, view the changing leaves during a leisurely stroll along the carriage trails of Moses H. Cone Memorial Park.

Valle Crucis Park borders the Watauga River. photo by frank ruggiero

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 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, 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 and sports fields.

The Todd community straddles the Watauga and Ashe county line. Photo by Frank Ruggiero


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 is an old-fashioned mercantile that dates 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. Today, the store offers dinner, bluegrass, book signings and demonstrations several evenings each week. The Todd Mercantile features the work of local artists and crafters, as well as mountain honey and other local goods. The “Todd Mahal Bakery” serves fresh delights to satisfy the sweet tooth, and the mercantile also hosts monthly square and contra dances, with traditional mountain music by local performers. The Todd TimberTown Day, a festival that includes music and tours from guides in 1920s costumes, is set for Sept. 24. The 18th annual Todd New River Festival, set for Oct. 8, will provide about eight musical performances, children’s activities and food. 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.

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, it does have an active town government. There is a full-time public safety department that attends to the needs of citizens and visitors and now has six full-time police officers who also serve as firefighters. A full-time public works department tends to streets, common areas and the water system, providing a full complement of services. 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 L.A. Reynolds Industrial District of Winston-Salem, N.C., formed the resort in 1965 and the founders were met with the challenge of naming the resort. At this time there was a rumor about an old man on the mountain who had seven sons ‘as mean as the devil.’ People were heard commenting that in the winter the mountain was ‘as cold as the devils’ or ‘as windy as the devil.’” “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,’” according to the website. 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 attractions at Hawksnest (, a private entity, are snow tubing in the winter and ziplines at other times. Hawksnest is recognized as the largest snow tubing park on the East Coast, and the company boasts the longest zipline tour as well, featuring 10 cables, two of which are known in the zipline industry as super or mega zips. For more information on snow tubing and the zipline, contact Hawksnest at (828) 963-6561. For more information and events at Seven Devils, visit

Avery County Beech Mountain

Beech Mountain is the highest town in eastern North America. With an elevation boasting 5,506 feet, that means two things: When winter comes it’s a haven for ski enthusiasts, and during the autumn season it means cooler temperatures and some of the most beautiful views to

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The Mountain Times Autumn Guide


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see the wonderful colors of fall across the High Country. The rest of the world 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 heat of summer transforms into cool autumn nights, it sends you looking for a sweater and perhaps firewood to enjoy a warm evening by the fireplace. 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, a golf course, 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 moun-

Beech Mountain is a four-season resort town. photo by rob moore

tain. 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, call the Beech Mountain Chamber of Commerce at (828) 387-9283.

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The Mountain Times Autumn Guide



The Mountain Times Autumn Guide

Our Towns Continued From Page 10

Elk River Falls is a beautiful 50-foot high waterfall near Elk Park, Banner Elk. It is on the edge of the Pisgah National Forest and is a favorite waterhole. photo by rob moore

Banner Elk

Nestled in a spectacular mountain valley, Banner Elk has attracted visitors since the 1840s. At that time, it was called Banner’s Elk, a name you still hear among some older residents. The town reporttedly got its name from an elk, reputedly one of the last in the state, killed by a local hunter. A college town, Banner Elk is home to Lees-McRae College. A visit to the college is well worth the time. The old stone buildings are picturesque, as is the campus itself. Lees-McRae’s Hayes Auditorium hosts a wide variety of entertainment programs throughout the year. Banner Elk is a town of wonderful shops and restaurants, all run by some of the nicest people you’ll meet anywhere. You will discover a unique blend of highclass and rustic existing happily side-by-side. Spectacular is hardly adequate to describe the setting of the town. The early settlers didn’t believe in living on mountainsides; they looked for valleys. Banner Elk’s valley cuts through lofty peaks on every side: Beech Mountain, Sugar Mountain and Grandfather Mountain essentially define the boundaries. Autumn in Banner Elk means the annual Woolly Worm Festival, held every third weekend in October downtown. Tens of thousands visit the festival as woolly worms race and one lucky worm owner can win $1,000, plus have his or her worm used to predict the coming winter weather in the High Country. If so far you are only a summer visitor to the mountains, you need to come back to Banner Elk in the winter. The town is conveniently located between two of the

area’s four ski resorts, Ski Beech and Sugar Mountain. Even if you don’t ski, the mountains are often snowcovered, providing a beautiful natural element adding to Banner Elk’s beauty. Finally, Banner Elk makes an excellent base for folks who want to explore the natural wonders of Avery County. It’s not far to Roan Mountain, Grandfather Mountain or Linville Falls. For more information, call the Banner Elk Chamber of Commerce at (828) 898-8395, or the Avery County Chamber of Commerce at (828) 898-5605.


about the history of North Carolina’s youngest county. Going west out of town toward Tennessee, plan a Saturday stop at the farmers’ market and picnic or hike across the road at Waterfalls Park, a unique recreation area sponsored by the Newland Volunteer Fire Department. So, when you’re driving through town on your way to Roan or Grandfather mountains, don’t forget to stop by Newland on your tour. For more information, call the Avery County Chamber of Commerce at (828) 898-5605.

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. If a drive to the top of the mountain’s 5,300-foot peak isn’t what you’re looking for, Sugar Mountain can also be seen on foot. With numerous trails that wind throughout the Village of Sugar Mountain, you can see the vibrant reds and yellows of fall. The trails of Sugar Mountain are not just for those on foot. Many bikers choose the Village of Sugar Mountain for its variety of challenging and picturesque terrain. The Village of Sugar Mountain also gives tennis and golf lovers an opportunity to enjoy their favorite sports in the beautiful mountain setting. The changing of colors on the golf course at Sugar is truly a sight to behold. The course, in addition to six fast-dry clay courts and full service tennis pro shop, ensures that visitors will never be faced with the problem of finding something to do. Whether you come for a day or stay in one of the many comfortable lodgings the village has to offer, the Village of Sugar Mountain will soon become your destination for great outdoor fun. Autumn’s colors signals that the snow and excellent skiing at Sugar are just around the corner, with a plethora of slopes and accommodations for visitors during ski season and year-round. For more information, call the Avery County Chamber of Commerce at (828) 898-5605.


Surrounded by renowned attractions and resorts, the town of Newland also attracts visitors, but in an unassuming fashion. This small municipality of about 700 residents has been the county seat since Avery County was formed in 1911, beating out three other areas for the honor. Newland has the distinction of being the highest county seat east of the Mississippi River. The traditional courthouse, recently renovated, was constructed in 1913 and overlooks an equally classic town square, bordered by shops and churches and complete with a memorial to Avery County residents who served our country. Next to the courthouse, and also built in 1913, is the original jail, now the site of the Avery Historical Museum. Permanent exhibits at the museum include the original jail cells, numerous artifacts and information

The Museum of Ashe County History is located in Jefferson. Photo submitted

Ashe County The Jeffersons

The cities of Jefferson and West Jefferson can be found in Ashe County. They are classic small towns with warm, friendly people. Jefferson was the first to be founded and is the oldest incorporated town in the High Country. It started in 1800 as the county seat for Ashe, which the N.C. General Assembly established the year before. The new town stood near the base of Mount Jefferson, both bearing the name of U.S. founding father Thomas Jefferson. Even as the population of Ashe County grew, Jefferson remained a quiet place, with relatively few homes and a courthouse. Then the railroad came. Overnight, boom towns like Lansing and Todd blossomed. Logging meant work, and money was relatively plentiful. All that, however, bypassed the town of Jefferson. In 1917, a group of investors founded West Jefferson, located southwest of Jefferson, and attracted the railroad. Jefferson fell into immediate decline, with West Jefferson becoming the economic center of the county, although Todd, a major railroad hub, was larger. Eventually, the railroad left, and Lansing, Todd and all other rail towns shrank considerably. Fortunately, roads came to the Jeffersons, allowing both towns to prosper. Today, the towns have differences and similarities. The old courthouse and surrounding buildings in Jefferson are the center of county government, and a shopping center is located there, offering retail stories and services. The idyllic Ashe County Park and Foster-Tyson Park are perfect for an in-town picnic. West Jefferson’s downtown district is busy and active, with old stores still standing and packed with unique

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The Mountain Times Autumn Guide

Our Towns

Country Inn and Restaurant for exquisite dinners.


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and dynamic shopping, offering everything from real estate to art to coffee to clothing. The visitor center, operated by the Ashe Chamber of Commerce, offers answers and a wide selection of literature. West Jefferson is home to the Ashe County Cheese Plant and Store where visitors can see cheese made and purchase butter, a variety of cheeses and other goodies. The Jeffersons are also the gateway to two state parks. Mount Jefferson State Park is located just off U.S. 221. To the north of Jefferson are access areas for New River State Park. Just south of West Jefferson, near the Beaver Creek community, is St. Mary’s Episcopal Church. This is the home of the famous fresco of Jesus on the cross by renowned artist Ben Long. A painting of the Madonna with child hangs on the sanctuary wall.


Steeped in generations of mountain history and culture, Lansing is known for far more than just being the only township in the county to have a single traffic light. Although the pace of life in the town of 150 has slowed down with the departure of the Norfolk and Western Railroad companies, Lansing has resurged with a new revitalization effort geared to energize the local arts and business scenes. Along with a few quaint and charming shops, the


Lansing offers Southern charm, shopping and access to the Virginia Creeper trail. Photo submitted

town also offers the scenic Virginia Creeper biking trail and leisurely strolls in the town’s park.

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 they continue their adventure on the scenic byway. Although it is located at the top of the mountain and touches Wilkes, Alleghany and Ashe counties, Laurel Springs is never more than a 30-minute drive from the listed county seats.

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 fir Christmas trees. Check out the sights around the nationally renowned New River, where you will also find the River House

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-inspiring fresco paintings by Ben Long at Holy Trinity Episcopal Church, Glendale Springs has become revered for its budding arts scene and with the addition of the Florence Thomas Art School, the community has become a must for anyone visiting Ashe County.


Located in the northwestern corner of Ashe County, Creston sits 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 2005. The chapel was built around 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.


The Mountain Times Autumn Guide


Hiking the High Country

You can get this view down the rocky cliffs by hiking one of Grandfather’s best trails, the Watauga trail. It has the best views in every direction from various vantage points and falls in a different ecosystem. Photos by Rob Moore

By Ashley Wilson


hether it’s getting a workout on a high mountain summit or strolling along a low-impact path, hiking is one of the best ways to view the High Country’s kaleidoscope of fall colors. A favorite activity of visitors and residents alike, hiking the abundance of trails in the area offers hours of recreation and exquisite mountain scenery. Because of the mild weather and incredible landscape, many regular hikers in the High Country believe autumn is the ideal time of the year to go on a trek. Lori Beth De Hertogh, author of the blog, “Hiking

the High Country,” said hiking is a must-do activity for anyone who wants to experience the full beauty of fall in the High Country. “You’ll get great hikes and breathtaking views,” De Hertogh said. “Those are both good for the body, mind and the spirit. Hiking is good for everything.” To have an enjoyable hiking adventure, one must take several things into consideration when choosing a route, including level of challenge and time allotted to the trip. A wide array of trails allow for a choice most suitable to a person’s preferences. For families, De Hertogh recommends Mount Jefferson State Natural Area in Ashe County because of its amenities and short, easy hikes.

“There are lots of picnic tables, water fountains and restroom facilities,” she said. “It’s a great place for a little hiking, stupendous views, and an opportunity to spend time with your family.” Mount Jefferson, with an elevation of 4,665 feet, towers above the towns of Jefferson and West Jefferson. The mountain’s three trails offer panoramic views of neighboring peaks and valleys, bluffs of black volcanic rock, and walks through virgin oak and chestnut forests. Many birds and mammals make a home of Mount Jefferson and red-tailed hawks are a common site. For a different perspective of Mount Jefferson and a more ambitious hike, Elk Knob State Park is the place to

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‘Bring your binoculars, so you can see everything if you’re going on a high elevation hike. And don’t forget to bring your camera – that’s really important!’ – Lori Beth de Hertogh


The Mountain Times Autumn Guide


Hiking the High Country Continued From Page 14

go. The newest addition to the N.C. state park system, Elk Knob is the second highest peak in Watauga County and provides a broad overlook of the High Country and beyond. The last leg of the hike to the 5,520 feet summit is rugged, rocky and strenuous, but a majestic reward awaits at the top. “You can see Three Top Mountain and Mount Jefferson (from there),” De Hertogh said. “You can also see Grandfather Mountain, Longhope Valley and Snake Mountain. On a really, really clear day, you can even see Mount Guyot in the Smokies.” For the best of both worlds, from easy to expert, Grandfather Mountain is a versatile location for hiking. Eleven trails of varying difficulty can be accessed at the state park. For skilled hikers, Grandfather provides daylong excursions and overnight camping. Regardless of which route is chosen, visitors are exposed to distinct natural communities that house rare animal and plant life. Linville Gorge provides a true wilderness hiking experience and is recommended for only the most serious of hikers. “It’s a great place to go, but it’s not for the faint of heart at all,” De Hertogh said. Often called “The Grand Canyon of North Carolina,” the Linville Gorge Wilderness Area encompasses nearly 12,000 acres. Hikers can choose to move along the ridgeline or descend 1,400 feet to the gorge’s centerpiece, the Linville River. Managed by the U.S. Forest Service, the gorge features a large and diverse population of plant and animal life. Trips to Linville Gorge can range from a full day to several days, with camping available through the end of October. De Hertogh has a few suggestions for fall hikers. With the days being deceptively warm, and the nights starting to get cool, she said it is extremely important to wear a base layer of cotton-free material and to always bring a daypack. Hikers should pack at least a couple liters

This is a view of McRae Peak and beyond, taken from the chute, which is on the Watauga trail, and is a climb for those adventerous hikers. Photos by Rob Moore

of water, snacks, a flashlight or headlamp, and may include an emergency shelter. “Bring your binoculars, so you can see everything if you’re going on a high elevation hike,” she said. “And don’t forget to bring your camera – that’s really important!” Lori Beth De Hertogh’s blog can be accessed at www. For extensive information and maps of the High Country’s hiking trails, visit or purchase a guide book from a local merchant.

Hebron Rocks are located just off the Boone Fork trail.

Hiking Resources


The Mountain Times Autumn Guide



The Mountain Times Autumn Guide



The Mountain Times Autumn Guide

High Country Camping


By Matthew Hundley


f all of the outdoor activities available in the High Country, camping might be the most fundamental way of getting in touch with the natural world. A well-chosen camping spot is the perfect escape from the daily grind. Out of reach of email and cell phones, campers can place the workday world at arm’s length, settling back into the natural world to rediscover themselves. The restorative quality of good weekend camping is hard to express. Fortunately, this experience is available to everyone, because camping styles come in as many shapes and sizes as campers themselves. Whether you want to pull a trailer into a well-supplied campground or trek into the backcountry, leaving civilization as far behind as possible, the High Country has just the experience you are looking for.

cess, picnic tables, grills and restrooms within a short walk. In addition, these campgrounds’ locations along the Blue Ridge Parkway make them an ideal choice for those looking to fill their days with hiking, canoeing, fishing or other activities that the parkway features. To reserve space in campgrounds along the Blue Ridge Parkway, click to or call (877) 444-6777. On the other end of the campground spectrum, there are campgrounds that feature full hookups for recreational vehicles and campers. Further, many of these campgrounds feature extensive amenities to ensure that each camper’s trip is as carefree as possible. One such campground is Honey Bear Campground and Nature Center in Boone. Honey Bear Campground is an excellent example of a campground that offers everything. Amenities at Honey Bear Campground include laundry facilities, hot showers, free WiFi, cable television, cabins and a 1,200-square-foot game room, just to name a few. Visitors can find Honey Bear Campground at 229 Honey Bear Campground Road, which is located off N.C. 105, just south of Boone. For more information or

Campers pitch a tent at Honey Bear Campground. Photos submitted

Campgrounds Campgrounds in the High Country are around each corner. One of the key things to assess before choosing a campground is the available amenities. This choice will vary from camper to camper, depending on what kind of experience each person is hoping to have. For a more rugged experience, it is easy to find campsites up and down the Blue Ridge Parkway. Three such campgrounds are available in the High Country: Julian Price Park, Linville Falls Campground and Crabtree Meadows. Many campsites at these locations feature easy ac-

Hikers prepare a campsite on one of Grandfather Mountain’s designated camping sites just off the hiking trails. Photo BY ROB MOORE

to make reservations, call (828) 963-4586 or click to

Backcountry camping For those looking to get a little further off the beaten track, making a trip into the backcountry is probably a better fit. Naturally, backcountry camping requires more preparation than using a campground, but those willing to make the effort will find it pays off in other ways. Backcountry camping usually comes with more dramatic landscape and views. Campers in the backcountry also have a better chance of finding that perfect spot away from other campers. Backcountry camping can, however, be a little more difficult to locate. Fortunately, one of the most sought after backcountry camping areas in the Southeast rests squarely in the middle of the High Country, Grandfather Mountain. Many people do not realize that the facilities and manmade attractions of Grandfather Mountain cover barely a third of the mountain itself. The rest of the mountain is backcountry, containing the most striking landscapes and highest peaks of the terrain. Further, the backcountry on Grandfather can be accessed from the Blue Ridge Parkway or the Profile Trail on N.C. 105 without paying for admittance into the Grandfather Mountain attraction. The rugged terrain and high elevation can make the backcountry on Grandfather Mountain dangerous, so it is important to be prepared for any conditions and remember a few simple but important rules for safety. Coming prepared: A big part of avoiding problems in the backcountry is being prepared for any contingency. Having the right tool on hand for the situation can mean the difference between life and death when you are miles from the nearest road. For a thorough and organized checklist of backcountry essentials, click to htm. Simple safety: While the temptation of solitude may be strong, one of the first rules of backcountry camping

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The Mountain Times Autumn Guide


Grandfather Campground — (828) 738-1111, www. Hitching Post RV Park — (828) 264-5367 Boone KOA Campground — (828) 264-7250, http://koa. com/campgrounds/boone/ Vanderpool Campground — (828) 297-3486, Honey Bear Campground — (828) 963-4586, Waterwheel RV Park — (828) 264-5165 Flintlock Campground — (828) 963-5325,

High Country Camping Continued From Page 18

is “never hike alone.” A simple twisted ankle can be fatal for a camper without a partner. Always stay on the trail and always take a map: No matter how well hikers think they know an area, becoming disoriented is always a real threat, especially if weather conditions change. Staying on the trail and keeping a map close at hand will minimize this risk. Experienced hikers always take more water than they think they will need: Much of packing a backpack has to do with minimalism, but water definitely falls into the category of “it’s better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it.” Throughout the Southeast, it is best not to count on finding water on your trip. Even mountain water must be treated for giardia by boiling or filtering with a device capable of filtering objects as small as one micron. First aid is always valuable: This includes both having a first aid kit on hand and having at least some knowledge of first aid. It is best to have an emergency exit route in mind, detailing the quickest route back to civilization and medical attention. Wear sunglasses, especially at higher elevations.

Always have a light source and a way to produce fire. Be aware of local wildlife: Very few animals on Grandfather Mountain pose a threat to humans, but experienced hikers are prepared for encounters with bears or poisonous snakes. For more information on how to respond to an encounter with a bear, click to Finally, campers who are new to backcountry camping should try to include an experienced camper in their group. Experience counts when it comes to the backcountry, and having a veteran camper on hand to answer questions and offer advice will make the trip more enjoyable and relaxing for everyone. A trail map of Grandfather Mountain can be downloaded by clicking to www.

RV SITES AND PRIVATE CAMPGROUNDS The High Country has a host of privately owned campgrounds, and rates vary. Below is a list of some of the campgrounds available.

WataUga County •

Buffalo Camp RV Park — (828) 295-7518

• • • • • •

Ashe County • • •

Raccoon Holler Campground — (336) 982-2706, www. Twin Rivers Campground — (336) 982-3456, Greenfield Campground — (336) 246-9106

Avery County • •

Down by the River Campground — (828) 733-5057, Buck Hill Campground — (828) 766-6162,

This list may not include every camping locale in the area, so hop in the car and blaze a trail to your favorite High Country camping spot.

The Mountain Times Autumn Guide




t h ’ e n i R w h i o v l F e r ct

High Country Watersports

By Lauren K. Ohnesorge


risp cool water framed by mountains and fall colors: It’s the experience you’ll get rolling down an Appalachian river. Whether it’s about the adrenaline rush of white water on the Nolichucky or the smooth tranquility of a lazy float down the New River, the North Carolina High Country offers a day of family bonding and pristine scenery. “The name of the game is staying in the boat,” Wahoo’s Adventures’ Patrick Mannion will tell you. Thanks to the High Country’s crop of well-trained guides, staying in the boat isn’t as dramatic as it sounds to the uninitiated white water rafter. “It’s really pretty safe over all,” River and Earth Adventures guide Lucas Knight said.

The most dangerous thing in the river isn’t the water. “It’s the T-grip on their paddle,” he said. When embarking on a rafting trip, pay attention to your raft guide’s introduction. It could save your front teeth. “The T-grip is not necessarily the most life threatening thing, but it has been known to cause a good amount of dental work,” he said. Always be aware of where your paddle is. If you do fall out, never stand up. “Don’t ever stand up in moving water,” Knight said. “If you’re trying to stand up, and the current is pushing you and you get your foot stuck under a rock or stick or something, the water can push your whole body under.” Dress appropriately. The High Country chill can surprise you, so ask your guide about wetsuits prior to departure. Whitewater not your style? Try a lazy kayak ride on

Fly fishing goes By Roni Toldanes


yler Almond staggered and stumbled, but quickly regained traction and balance, his right hand clutching a fly rod, as he slipped while on his way to his secret fishing spot, surrounded by boulders. “It’s almost like rock climbing,” he said, describing the mile-long slippery hike to his fishing hole somewhere in North Carolina’s High Country. Almond, 31, works as a fishing guide for the Foscoe Fishing Company. He belongs to


the Watauga or New rivers. Adventure companies also offer hiking, rock climbing, caving, kayaking, canoeing and tubing trips. Call individual companies for seasonal rates and a complete list of adventures. Some companies are flexible about rivers, so ask about options, and be sure to bring a water-proof camera! Edge of the World: (800) 789-3343: Watauga River. High Mountain Expeditions: (800) 262-9036: Watauga River, Nolichucky, Wilson Creek Nantahala Outdoor Center: (888) 905-7238: Nantahala River, Ocoee River, Chattooga River, French Broad River, Nolichucky River River and Earth Adventures: (828) 963-5491: Watauga River, Nolichucky, French Broad, New River River Girl Fishing Co.: (336) 877-3099: Offers kayak and tube rentals on the New River. Wahoo’s Adventures: www.wahoosadventures. com (800) 444-RAFT: Watauga River, Nolichucky, New River. Watauga Kayak: (423) 542-6777: Watauga River.


a unique breed of sportsmen – those who adore the sparkle of sunlight dancing off a trout stream. They marvel at the surreal beauty of a mayfly hatch and relish the thrilling eruption of a surface strike by a wild trout. To him, size doesn’t matter. After all, he is hunting wild fish. In the chilly, early morning hours Tyler Almond, a fishing guide for the Foscoe Fishing Company, presents his fly at his favorite fishing hole. Photos by Roni Toldanes

of Aug. 18, Almond allowed a journalist to observe his techniques as he tried to prove the advantage of hiring the services of a fishing guide. “Up here, it is close-quarter fishing,” he said. “You have to deliver finesse, you have to be stealthy, you have to be more precise.” And you need to know the right spots, he said. Almond’s five years of experience as a fishing guide required him to develop a passion for observing, learning and analyzing the entire spectrum of fly fishing — from insect hatches to a trout’s eating pattern. “Presentation is a big thing in fly fishing for trout,” he said, mentioning his pursuit of technical knowledge by

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Fly fishing goes wild

Outfitters at a Glance

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reading books, including one by Gary Borger, a biology professor at the University of Wisconsin. Borger’s book, “Presentation,” tackles the phrase that every fly fisherman needs to understand: Matching the hatch. To catch the skittish wild trout, the fisherman needs to select the fly lure that closely resembles the insect hatching in the water. Artificial flies are hand-tied with thread, feathers and sometimes fur. Almond carries a case with dozens of flies. Almond said fly fishermen watch the bugs that are hatching, because trout will often attack one kind of offering at a time. If you can figure out what that bug is and match it with an artificial fly, you might catch several trout. Almond lifted a few rocks to show two kinds of stoneflies that were hatching from the river’s depths. His advice to new fishermen: “Take a minute and survey the stream and see what’s going on,” and then tie the fly that matches the airborne insects that land on the water. After changing his fly lures three times, Almond experienced his first strike. The buggy-whip effect gained from the rhythmic waving of Almond’s rod gradually extended the line, which then allowed the fly to settle to the water, similar to a falling strand from a spider’s web. A 7-inch brown trout devoured his lure, displaying a ferocious splashing and punctuating its displeasure with a large leap. After taking a few photographs, Almond quickly released the fish. Two other browns gobbled up his offering in two other holes within the area. Almond explained his piscatorial pursuit, the fascination behind fooling the fish and pulling it out of the water. “What fascinates me about trout fishing is their habitat, where they live. Trout tends to live in the most beautiful places,” Almond said. In the High Country, specifically in Almond’s favorite fishing holes, beautiful is the appropriate adjective. Astonishing foliage surrounds him. There are wild mushrooms and wild berries, too, but he is not revealing his secret fishing spot. Before choosing his fishing holes, Almond drove around several streams in Newland. He checked out the Elk River, creeks and other areas, but heavy rains early in the morning washed away mud, making it hard to sight-cast. Wild trout are sight feeders, Almond said, so they rely on seeing their prey. As he drove away down the mountain from his favorite fishing spot, Almond saw two fishermen hunting trout along the banks of a creek with water that turned chocolate-brown. They were probably tourists, he said, and, chances are, they will never catch trout in that location. “That’s why you need a fishing guide,” Almond said. Watauga offers many options for fishing locations. It sits at the confluence of some of the greatest trout water in the United States. There are smaller creeks,


Appalachian Angler 174 Old Shull’s Mill Road Boone (828) 963-5050 Elk Creek Outfitters 1560 N.C. 105 Boone (828) 264-6497 Foscoe Fishing Co. & Outfitters 8857 N.C. 105 Boone (828) 963-6556 RiverGirl Fishing Co. 4041 Railroad Grade Road Todd (336) 877-3099 Almond prepares to release the wild brown trout he caught using a fly rod. Photo by Roni Toldanes

mountain streams and lakes. A fisherman benefits from using a guide, because there is no worry about violating the regulations for a particular stream or river. Guides know the local fishing areas. For a guide service, Foscoe Fishing Company, with its location between Boone and Banner Elk on N.C. 105, offers a half-day wade trip of $150 for one person and $250 for two; full-day wade trip costs $275 per person and $350 for two. The company also offers full-day wade and float trips in Tennessee. For more information, call (828) 963-6556.

Grandfather Trout Farm 10767 N.C. 105 Banner Elk (828) 963-5098 Rick’s Smallmouth Adventures 1757 Pleasant Home Road Sparta (336) 372-8321 Watauga River Anglers 5712 N.C. 105 South Boone (828) 963-5463

The Mountain Times Autumn Guide

Give autumn a SHOT



Fall brings shooting fun to High Country

By Jesse Campbell


he pallet of vibrant leaves cascading through the fall air will be joined by shattered clay pigeons and shotgun shells this season at the Ashe County Wildlife Club, as gun enthusiasts ready themselves for a slew of outdoor fun. Following reorganization in the 1970s, the club has offered outdoorsmen of all ages a range of wooded recreational events, from skeet shooting and fishing to target practice and other marksmanship events. Sprawled out over 59 acres of protected land, the wildlife club supports a stocked fishing pond with a delayed harvest, a multitude of shooting stands, a 200-yard rifle range, a newly constructed pistol range and always seems to have a full calendar of fun shoots and competitions. Nestled in eastern Ashe County in the Peak Creek community, the wildlife club may be one of the county’s best kept secrets as a sportsman’s paradise awaits with what seems like an endless escarpment of hillsides for target practice and pond side fishing for those more leisurely afternoons. Bill Burkett, a club member since the ’70s, said that although membership is required to participate in many of the organization’s shoot offs, applications are

accepted on a regular basis. “We are by no means a closed organization,” Burkett said. “We encourage people to join, and anyone can apply.” Annual membership is based on applications and is renewed yearly. With the advent of the club in the 1950s, interest began to dwindle over the years, prompting a resurge in community involvement that began in the 1970s that has carried over to this day. “Us younger guys saw the recreational value of the land and, soon after, a board of directors was formed,” said Burkett. Guns will be blazing this September at the club as two sporting clay events, a rifle shoot and a club pistol championship (members only) are planned over the coming weeks. These are “fun” events, meaning although they are open to the public, the competition portion to this month’s shoot-offs will be reserved for members only. As the cool fall air begins to mix with the smell of gunpowder, October will bring with it three more sporting clay events (Oct. 1, 9 and 22) along with a pistol fun shoot on Oct. 8 from noon to 4 p.m. and another club sponsored shoot on Oct. 15. Although the stocked fishing pond, located at the entrance of the club, is stocked by the N.C. Wildlife Resources

The Ashe County Wildlife Club offers outdoorsman of all ages a range of recreational events, from skeet shooting and fishing to target practice and other marksmanship events. Photo courtesy of ACWC

Commission, the organization is responsible for the maintenance (including a wheelchair ramp), and donations are greatly appreciated. For more information on the club or a copy of an application, click to www. A list of contacts and board

Altitude and A t t i t Climbing in the High Country

By Ashley Wilson


everal feet off the ground and face-to-face with a giant rock, there are a few feelings you may experience: A thumping heart, a head rush or a sinking stomach. For most making the first ascent, the body and

mind are gripped in genuine fear. After receiving assurance of a trusty belayer on the ground, who is securing your rope, and recognizing the protection of your harness, the anxiety subsides and thrill takes over. Rock climbing is the High Country’s most adventurous and stimulating recreational activity.

Lynn Willis, of the Boone Climbers Coalition, said confronting the fear, problem solving and overcoming the physical challenges are the most enticing aspects of rock climbing. The views aren’t bad either. “I’m challenging myself, seeing what I’m made out of and how I

members can also be found by clicking on the links. Directions: From Jefferson, take U.S. 221 North before turning right onto J.E. Gentry Road, which will later turn into Little Peak Creek Road. The club will be located on the left.


handle the situation,” Willis said. “You’re pushing yourself mentally and physically, and you’re learning so much about yourself. It puts your mind in places you didn’t quite know you could go.”

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From college students to families, many people come to the High Country out of curiosity of the area’s rock climbing opportunities and the tests they present. The first encounter with a rock should never be done alone. Rock climbing requires experience. To learn a lot about climbing in a short period of time, it is best to find a knowledgeable guide. Willis said a guide is always the best choice for the novice. “If you go out with a climbing guide, you’re on an established route, it’s safe, and you’re going to have fun,” Willis said. “Learning with a guide is a great way to get introduced or find someone you trust that has the experience. It’s the ideal way to learn.” For those looking for that first climb, Rock Dimensions at Footsloggers Outdoor & Travel Outfitters in downtown Boone offers a variety of activities for everyone, including children. To prepare people for hanging out at higher elevations, the climbing guide service provides a 40-foot climbing tower and ropes course. For those wanting to head

The Mountain Times Autumn Guide this.” straight to a rock, they offer half-day and Beasley and Allen work to make climbfull-day trips to various climbing locaing approachable and rewarding for tions. first-timers. Owners Ryan “People get intimiBeasley and Jenny dated with climbing, Allen have a combut anyone with bined 40 years of average physical abilclimbing knowlity can do it,” Allen edge. They and said. “We set people all of their guides up with appropriate are Professional climbs, so they feel Climbing Instrucgood about it.” tors Association Twelve-year-old certified and are Storm Kaffenberger, skilled in safety who recently spent techniques and several days with Rock first aid. Dimensions guides, Rock Dimengave some assurance to sions presents the apprehensive. exciting and “It’s really not that challenging Dave Prowe climb s ‘The Amphitheater bad once you do it,” Kafopportunities ’ in Linville Gorge. fenberger said. “You’ll to its customPhoto by Lynn Willis want to do it again. I ers, while love it!” providing the There is no better necessary information time to learn how to rock climb than the required for master climbing. fall season. According to Mike Grimm, “We want to teach people,” Beasley author of the climbing guidebook, “High said. “It’s not like a carnival ride; we want to teach you skills, how to tie knots, Country Cragger,” conditions at this time of year are the most complementary to how to belay. We want them to come the sport. While the low humidity and away with some knowledge on how to do


lack of bugs are helpful, the temperature and weather are key. “Generally, when the weather is cooler, you’ll have better grip on the rock because you’re not fighting sweat,” Grimm said. “You want drier conditions when you’re climbing. Fall offers those temperatures, between 40 and 60 degrees and crisp conditions, which are ideal for climbing.” Willis said the first full month of fall, “Rocktober,” is a much-awaited month for climbers in the High Country. “In the summertime, climbing is limited to a few locales because you want to be out of the sun,” Willis said. “In the fall, pretty much everywhere is ideal because the temperature is less of a factor. There’s no standard ideal place to climb, because it’s all good. We’re blessed with some of the best climbing in the country.” Beginners looking for an autumn expedition can contact Rock Dimensions at (828) 265-3544 or visit www. More seasoned climbers can find information about the High Country’s rock climbing offerings in “High Country Cragger,” available at local retailers and www.fullmantlepress. com. To view regional climbing photography, visit


The Mountain Times Autumn Guide



The Mountain Times Autumn Guide



The Mountain Times Autumn Guide

All Fore One

By Jamie Shell


favorite sport with many High Country residents is golf. The comfortable autumn climate, the splendor of the changing leaves and challenging championship-quality courses await visitors looking for a getaway on the links. The High Country boasts some of the best golf found anywhere in the nation. Boone Golf Club, located at 433 Fairway Drive, near the Watauga Medical Center, offers an 18-hole, par 71 course over 6,680 yards. The course was built in 1959 and was designed by Ellis Maples. With a rating of 70.1, this public course surprises many first-time players who expect undulating hills and steep terrain. The course has a number of rises and drops, but surprisingly also contains many level holes and gorgeous scenic views. Another golf course of distinction is Sugar Mountain Golf Course, located at 914 Sugar Mountain Drive in Banner Elk. The 18-hole public course proves a challenging test to visitors and locals alike, with its executive length and beautifully manicured fairways and greens. Designed by Francis Duane and Arnold Palmer and opening in 1973 at 4,560 yards, Sugar Mountain’s picturesque holes and scenic vistas are truly a sight to behold. Also found in Avery County is Mountain Glen Golf Club in Newland. The public course located off highway N.C. 194 was opened in 1963 and was designed by George W. Cobb. Mountain Glen features 6,723 yards of golf and a par 72 course. With multiple holes featuring elevation changes, plentiful water and bunkers, Mountain Glen proves a challenger for the novice and experienced


Great golf an easy drive away

golfer alike. The next stop on the local golf scenic tour is Mountain Aire Golf Club in West Jefferson at 1104 Golf Course Road. Also a public course, Mountain Aire boasts an 18hole, par 72 design at 6,404 yards. The course expanded from nine holes to 18 holes in 1950 and is a true mountain course, complete with challenging hills and valleys in addition to breathtaking views. A short trip across the state line to Tennessee brings golfers to Red Tail Mountain Golf Club, located off highway U.S. 421 in Mountain City, Tenn. Designed by Dan F. Maples and Ellis Maples, Red Tail Mountain opened in 1982 and provides 6,884 yards of golf and a par of 72. A public course with a 71.8 course rating and a slope rating of 120, Red Tail Mountain is excellently maintained and offers grand views. If golfers seek a shorter course or are low on time, Willow Creek Golf Club is a perfect option. A nine-hole, par 27 public course located in Boone, Willow Creek features 1,663 yards of golf from the championship tees. Designed by Tom Jackson, Willow Creek opened in 1975. Perhaps the golf swing needs fine-tuning or the rust needs to be knocked off before playing a round on the course? Mountaineer Golf Center in Boone is the ideal location to get a golfer’s game back in shape. Players wanting to hit a few golf balls on the driving range can drop by the location on N.C. 105 Extension in Boone. Mountaineer Golf Center offers three sizes of buckets of practice balls at prices ranging from $5 to $9. If your idea of watching the changing of the seasons involves standing over a putt or ripping a drive down a fairway, grab your sticks and enjoy a local course.

Bill of Fairway Boone Golf Club 433 Fairway Drive Boone (828) 264-8760 Hound Ears Club 328 Shulls Mill Road Boone (828) 963-8712 Red Tail Mountain 300 Clubhouse Lane Mountain City, Tenn. (423) 727-7931 Jefferson Landing Club 88 N.C. 16 Jefferson (336) 982-4449 Mountain Aire Golf Club 1104 Golf Course Road West Jefferson (336) 877-4716

Mountain Glen Golf Club 1 Club House Drive Newland (828) 733-5804 Sugar Mountain Golf Course 1054 Sugar Mountain Drive Sugar Mountain (828) 898-6464 Willow Creek Golf Course 354 Bairds Creek Road Vilas (828) 963-6865 Mountaineer Golf Center, Driving Range 115 Beverly Heights Ave. Boone (828) 264-6830

Cool weather and beautiful scenery make golfing in the High Country a hole in one. FILE PHOTOS


The Mountain Times Autumn Guide


Leaf-Looking in the High Country cool days starting in September and clear, sunny days,” Neufeld said. The highest elevations will start to change first, and the colors will change about a week and a half later for each 1,000 feet of elevation lost, he said. But even if you’ve arrived too late for the peak, there’s an easy solution, Neufeld said: Turn your eyes to the lower elevations.

By Kellen Moore


here’s no such thing as autumn in the mountains. It’s just leaf season. While the beautiful reds, oranges, yellows and browns provide a sight to behold every year, some seasons turn out more brilliant than others. Professor Howard Neufeld of Appalachian State University has studied biology for many years and has earned the title of “The Fall Color Guy.” He operates a website at fall-colors that includes a blog, foliage facts and weekly fall color reports. Here are his insights on the season:

WILL 2011 HAVE GOOD COLOR? “Everybody wants to know that,” Neufeld said. “I tell them it’s an art and a science.” Neufeld said that although the summer was particularly warm for the High Country, it wasn’t accompanied by severe or prolonged drought, which would have lessened the potential for good fall color. But to predict exactly what’s coming, attention must be paid to the month preceding the “peak,” which typi-


Follow the Fall Color Guy at fall-colors. cally falls in mid-October from about the 11th to the 15th, he said. “The two things that help make the best fall color are

One of the most popular leaf-looking locations is along the Blue Ridge Parkway, especially heading south from Blowing Rock, where the views open to massive gorges and peaks. The parkway provides access to numerous hiking trails and grassy spots to enjoy a picnic or snap a few photos. Located near milepost 294, the Flat Top Manor and Moses H. Cone Memorial Park provide excellent scenery, and a brisk hike along the carriage trails to the fire tower offers long-range views to Boone and beyond – if the skies are clear. For those wishing to stay in Boone, Howard’s Knob is one of the most accessible leaf-looking spots, just a

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The Mountain Times Autumn Guide



Leaf-Looking Continued From Page 27

short drive uphill from downtown. From the peak, the university and the town are surrounded by color. For one of the most spectacular views in any season, Elk Knob State Park is a must-see. Located about 11 miles from Boone off Meat Camp Road, the relatively new park has a partially completed gravel path to an elevation of 5,520 feet, where the views are almost untouched by development. But the best thing bout the High Country is that its natural beauty is everywhere. Sometimes the most spectacular trees of the season are the ones simply perched on the side of a highway.


This is one cool place to ride, literally. With the Blue Ridge Parkway, scenery, bike events and mountain bike trails, you can find plenty of miles in the High Country to bike. The above photo is from the start of the Blood, Sweat and Gears 2011. PHOTO BY ROB MOORE

BICYCLING in the High Country

By Ashley Wilson


he High Country loves bicycles. Mountain bikers, road cyclists, commuters and leisure riders are the people behind the many bikes that dot the area. Whether they are used for transportation, recreation and sport, bicycles provide excellent exercise and are a great way to stay healthy. Mountain views, diverse terrain, and mild weather make the High Country a magnetic locale for bike lovers.

Fall Cycling Cyclist Glenn Greer, who spends more than seven hours a week on his bike, said fall provides some of the most pleasurable riding in the High Country. “I enjoy the changing trees and the freshness of the fall air,” Greer said. “The scenery is magnificent.” According to Jacob Florence, a sales associate at Boone Biking & Touring, the season’s climate is also attractive.

“We have very low humidity and nice weather, especially during the peak hours of the day when one would want to be riding,” Florence said. While fall usually provides an ideal environment for cycling, the weather can be temperamental. Justin Harris, sales manager at Magic Cycles in Boone, said cyclists should always be prepared for a sudden change. “Have appropriate dress and provisions to be prepared for wet, cold and warm conditions,” Harris said. Cycling clothes are designed so that they can be removed as a cyclist’s body warms during an outing. Vests and arm warmers are among the items available to cyclists trying to counter varying temperatures.

Rocky Knob Mountain Bike Park Cyclists who prefer the rougher terrains of off-road trails will find pleasure at the new Rocky Knob Mountain Bike Park in Watauga County. Many adventurous riders have flocked to the 185-acre park since its opening in May. Continued On Page 29

The leaves of North Carolina’s High Country are far different than anything that can be seen in New England. In this area, the diversity of hardwood trees provides a variety of colors, unlike parts of New England, Neufeld said. “I think the difference between New England and here is you get big blotches of single colors (in New England),” Neufeld said. The same applies for western North Carolina versus the Piedmont. Oak and hickory trees predominate there, which don’t turn as brilliant a color, he said.

The Mountain Times Autumn Guide



Bicycling in the High Country

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Watauga County, the Watauga County Tourism Development Authority and Boone Area Cyclists facilitated the creation of the biking destination. Eric Woolridge, director of tourism planning at the Watauga TDA, said those who have visited the park so far are pleased. “They say it’s a great experience for just 3 miles,” Woolridge said. “It’s a unique biking experience. The terrain is so diverse, and it’s on a beautiful property.” So far, Rocky Knob features an advanced beginner loop and an intermediate loop. More than four more miles of trails are currently in development, along with shelters and an adventure play area for kids. Rocky Knob Mountain Bike Park is located on U.S. 421, just east of Boone. From downtown Boone, take U.S. 421 South toward Wilkesboro. The park is located on the right, seven-tenths of a mile past the Marathon Gas Station off the Bamboo Road/U.S. 421 intersection. For more information on Rocky Knob, visit www.

Bridge to Bridge Incredible Challenge Competitive cyclists can put their body to work in the Bridge to Bridge Incredible Challenge, scheduled for Sunday, Sept. 18, at 8 a.m. Cyclists travel 100 miles and experience a 3,000-foot change in elevation in the trek, which begins in Lenoir and ends at the top of Grandfather Mountain. Registration is $95 and includes a pre-ride and post-ride meal. For more information, call the Caldwell County Chamber of Commerce at (828) 726-0616 or visit

Boone Area Cyclists Boone Area Cyclists is a fantastic resource for anyone looking to learn the routes of the High Country and meet fellow cyclists. The club welcomes cyclists of all ages, abilities, and styles of riding. BAC’s website offers extensive information and links for area group rides and routes. For more information, visit www.

Full Service Bicycle Shops Magic Cycles 140 S. Depot St. Boone (828) 265-2211 Boone Bike & Touring 899 Blowing Rock Road Boone (828) 262-5750

Cycle 4 Life Bike Shop 76 High Country Square Banner Elk (828) 898-5445

Rocky Knob Mountain Bike Park The newest member of the cycling community is Rocky Knob Mountain Bike Park. Boone Area Cyclists has been working on the trail system to give mountain bikers some adventurous terrain. (above) Bridges are set up on the lower portion of Rocky Knob. (left) Rob Drinkwater shows his expertise, speed and agility, coming down the upper part of the trails. (below) Rocky Knob features challenging for more advanced mountain bikers. PHOTOs BY ROB MOORE


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The Mountain Times Autumn Guide



The Mountain Times Autumn Guide


Mysterious Ways By Kellen Moore


or decades, Mystery Hill between Boone and Blowing Rock has been one of the High Country’s enduring traditions. No other place in the area offers an opportunity to feel the unusual sensation of the Mystery House, to enclose a person in a massive bubble or to explore dozens of optical illusions and mysterious happenings. “People come here because it’s fun,” said Wayne Underwood, who, with wife Sharon, owns and runs Mystery Hill. “Families can come, and they can laugh and try to figure out puzzles and illusions and all the mysteries together.” Some of those puzzles include the Mystery Platform, where a person standing on the north side always appears taller than one on the south side. The main draw is the Mystery House, which offers a phenomenon like no other. Walking can be difficult in the unusual pull of the house, and water appears to flow upward. “The Mystery House itself, it’s the most unusual part of the tour,” Underwood said. Visitors return again and again to experience the bizarre feeling and share the moment with friends and family. Debbie Hall of Hickory visited Mystery

Mystery Hill offers illusions, puzzles and family fun

Hill in August with her grandchildren, 9-year-old Johanna and 4-year-old Mica. “She had been before, and she wanted her brother to come,” Hall explained. The excitement continued for the family as they entered the Hall of Mystery, a museum full of optical illusions and atypical sights. There, visitors can enclose themselves in a huge bubble or try to figure out why their shadows stay on the wall long after the people have moved. Nothing is computerized, so children and families can enjoy old-fashioned fun together, Underwood said. Adjacent to the main building, the Appalachian Heritage Museum and Native American Artifacts Museum provide more ways to expand a day at Mystery Hill. The museums are housed in what was once the Dougherty House, originally built at the Appalachian State University campus in 1903. The Dougherty family was instrumental in the creation of the school, and the house has been restored and filled with antiques to show what life was like a century ago. The artifact museum contains more than 50,000 Native American items collected by R.E. “Moon” Mullins and his wife, Irene, including arrowheads, pottery, pipes and knives from about 23 states. History is important at Mystery Hill, which originated in 1948 with William Hudson. As legend goes, Hudson and his wife were the first to notice peculiarities at the site, which they sold to Underwood’s parents in 1958 for construction of a fish camp restaurant.

Nothing is quite as it seems at Mystery Hill, located on U.S. 321 between Boone and Blowing Rock. File photos

The restaurant later closed, as the attraction grew and expanded, eventually surviving two major fires in 1963 and 1989. The constant throughout the decades has been Underwood, who has worked at Mystery Hill since age 10. “For years, I was the only tour guide,” he said. Today, he’s still looking at ways to expand and grow, and hopes the next three to four years will hold some exciting changes for the attraction. “Families don’t spend time together like they used to, and Mystery Hill is a place that families can come and enjoy themselves,” Underwood said. “It’s good, clean entertainment.”

THE DETAILS Hours: The attraction is open seven days a week, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. after Labor Day. Tickets: Tickets are $7 for children (ages 5-12), $9 for adults (ages 13-59), and $8 for seniors (ages 60-300, as Underwood puts it). Directions: Take U.S. 321 approximately 4 miles from either Boone or Blowing Rock and look for signs. Mystery Hill is located at 129 Mystery Hill Lane between the Daniel Boone gas station and Tweetsie Railroad. More information: Visit or call (828) 263-0507.


The Mountain Times Autumn Guide

To the Lake! Scenic Watauga Lake offers fun on the water, history By Kellen Moore


hen High Country locals talk about heading to “the lake,” they probably mean Watauga Lake, just a short drive away in Tennessee. While North Carolina can’t claim the man-made attraction, it’s a popular spot for High Country residents and visitors throughout the fall. In fact, autumn offers a bit more serenity, as falling temperatures make the boisterous, lively lake activities of summer a little more subdued. “It seems like after Labor Day it does slow down, which makes the lake not as crowded and really more enjoyable,” said Von Luther, an employee of Lakeshore

Resort, which is celebrating its 50th year. Lakeshort Resort, like others in the area, offers pontoon boat rentals in which even boating novices can safely take in the sights and sounds of the changing seasons. At certain times of the year, visitors can enjoy nature all day in a secluded cove without seeing another boat, Luther said. “You might see a deer or a bear or an eagle, especially in the fall,” he added. “It’s pretty much your own little playground.” For those who are seeking a more active experience, the Appalachian Trail cuts directly across the lake at the Watauga Dam. Fishing is also available for individuals or via tours at the lake to anyone with a valid Tennessee fishing license. With so much activity occurring in the area year-round, it’s difficult to imagine Butler, Tenn., without the lake.


Watauga Lake offers breathtaking views of the High Country. File photo

But Herman Tester, chairman of the board for The Butler Museum, is one of those who still does. Tester was in first grade when the dam was approved for construction, and he observed its formation by the Tennessee Valley Authority as he grew older. Many of Tester’s neighbors had to move before the “town that wouldn’t drown” was purposefully flooded, and his family’s land ended up right at the edge of the lake. In December 1948, the dam gates were closed and the town of Butler was no more, Tester said. Less than a year later, power generation was occurring at the dam. Throughout his youth, Tester helped operate the family’s boat dock at Little Dry Run with service station, grill and bait shop. “I served as a fishing guide when I was

a young teenager … so I swam in the lake a lot and just grew up right there on it,” Tester recalled. Today, the story of Old Butler is still told at The Butler Museum, located off Highway 64 in the upper part of presentday Butler. The museum is open from 1 to 4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, but tours are offered by appointment other times. The museum phone number is (423) 7683880 and more information is available at Anyone seeking tours after hours can call Bob White at (423) 542-4427. Exhibits explain the history beneath the lake, and the museum recently reconstructed a store that once stood in Old Butler. “Our museum building is worth seeing,” Tester said. “It’s quite a masterpiece in itself.”

The Mountain Times Autumn Guide



Linville Caverns Journey inside a mountain

By Matthew Hundley

“It looked like the arch of some grand old cathedral, yet it was too sublime, too perfect in all its beautiful proportions to be anything of human, but a model which man might attempt to imitate.”


hese words were penned by Henry E. Colton, who followed some mysterious trout up a stream that disappeared into a rocky mountainside during an expedition in the early

1800s. “The wondrous splendors of the hidden world” that Colton discovered when he crawled into the base of Humpback Mountain are now known around the nation as Linville Caverns and can now be enjoyed by anyone who makes the trip to the entrance just outside of Linville Falls. While many people, when they think of underground areas, imagine a desolate, rocky, uninviting fissure, Linville Caverns is a limestone cavern adorned in massive, glistening stalactites and stalagmites and immense flowstone edifices sculpted by nature into delicate, evocative shapes. A cavern system like Linville Caverns marks the location where a broad vein of soft limestone encounters the flow of mildly acidic mountain spring water. Given hundreds of thousands of years, the slight acidity in the water will slowly break down the limestone, opening up vast corridors and chambers. Most of the microscopic limestone particles flow out of the mountain, into the open mountain streams. Some of the particles, however, are deposited, layer by layer, as the water slips slowly over the stone, leaving behind the ornate flowstone formations that make the cave so breathtaking. While the intricate flowstone formations are a highlight of the tour and of great interest to geologists, guests will also get the opportunity to encounter many other strange and fascinating features of the world beneath the mountain. The caverns’ history as a hideout for Civil War deserters will intrigue history buffs. The wildlife, including blind trout and bats, will delight animal lovers. The seemingly bottomless pools and arching ceilings will spark visitors’ imaginations and leave them with a sense of wonder. Finally, when visitors reach the deepest point on the tour, tour guides will extinguish the lights, drenching

The Linville Caverns are accessible via a system of walkways. Photos submitted

explorers in the inky, perfect darkness that can only be found in caves and the bottom of the ocean where the sun’s light cannot penetrate. When the caverns were first opened to the public in 1937, visitors slogged their way upstream through the 42-degree water of the stream that helped carve the

caverns from the mountain. These days, the caverns have been made highly accessible with the inclusion of wheelchair-ready paths that keep visitors well clear of the frigid stream water. In spite of the extensive efforts to increase conve-

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nience and accessibility for all visitors, it is still a good idea to come prepared when you are trekking into the heart of a mountain. Below are a few suggestions to help keep your visit as comfortable as possible.

Clothing Regardless of the outside weather, the caverns stay a cool 52 degrees all year round. As an active, growing cavern, a good deal of water will be dripping from overhead and over the stones. After a strong summer rainfall, the caverns can become quite wet. To make sure that you are as comfortable as possible, be sure to bring a sweater or light coat on normal days. If it has rained recently, then bringing a light raincoat is a good move. Due to a slight grade, the wet floor and a few grated areas, it is best to wear flat, soft-soled footwear. This will keep you from slipping or damaging your shoes while in the cavern.

Strollers and backpacks Due to confined spaces and low-hanging rocks, strollers and child-carrying backpacks are not permitted inside the caverns. Visitors are welcome to use strollers or child-carrying backpacks in the gift shop or while waiting to enter the caverns, but they must be left with an attendant at the door. Slings or harnesses that allow parents to carry children in front of them are permitted.

Wheelchairs Linville Caverns is one of the few caverns that are partially wheelchair accessible. While the majority of the caverns is wheelchair accessible, there are a few areas where the layout of the caverns makes wheelchair access impossible, but paths have been arranged to make sure the group returns to the accessible path as quickly as possible. Near the entrance, there is a 30-degree downward slope for which wheelchair users should be prepared. Restrooms are also wheelchair accessible.

The Gilkey Room is named after J. Q. Gilkey, whose corporation opened the caverns for tourists.

Restrooms There are no restrooms inside the caverns. Restrooms are available near the gift shop. Linville Caverns staff asks that visitors use the restroom before beginning their tour.

Photography Flash photography is allowed inside the caverns. Visitors using a video camera should not use an external light source such as a spotlight. Tripods or similar pieces of equipment are not allowed into the caverns. Due to the dim light in the caverns, it is important to be mindful of others when using a flash.

Hours and admission After Labor Day weekend, Linville Caverns is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day until the end of October.

In November, the doors will still open at 9 a.m., but they will close at 4:30 p.m. Once December arrives, the caverns will be open from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays only. Admission for the 30-minute tour is $7 for adults, $5.50 for seniors and $5 for children age 5 to 12. Children younger than 5 are admitted free of charge with an adult or senior admission.

Group rates Linville Caverns offers special, discounted rates for groups of 25 or more individuals. To avoid congestion, it is important that visitors who plan to bring a group call ahead to schedule a time. The discounted rate varies slightly for school groups and is determined based

on the age group of the students attending. For more details on group or school rates, click to

A few simple rules While visitors’ enjoyment is the focus of Linville Caverns’ staff, the caverns’ status as a N.C. Natural Heritage Area necessitates a few simple rules to help keep visitors, animals and the cave formations safe. Tour guides will remind guests of the rules before entering the caverns. Guests’ cooperation will help ensure an enjoyable experience for everyone. For a complete list of the rules and regulations, click to


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The Mountain Times Autumn Guide

A Colorful



Grandfather Mountain offers views and adventure By Matthew Hundley


randfather Mountain is one of North Carolina’s most sought after attractions. The grand spectacle of Grandfather’s landscape, combined with the opportunity to come face to face with the fascinating native creatures of the Blue Ridge, creates a unique experience at any time of the year. Although Grandfather is always a great destination for families or outdoor enthusiasts, the mountain reserves some of its most exciting events and vistas for autumn. Throughout the fall season, the staff of Grandfather

Mountain will present special programming and events that highlight the mountain’s autumn features, including its legendary fall colors.

Catching the autumn colors Grandfather Mountain is considered one of the best fall color destinations in the Southern Appalachians because of the amazing diversity of plant life on the mountain. As the air cools, chlorophyll begins to fade from the leaves. Yellow and red pigments that lay beneath the chlorophyll begin to show through. Each of the various species of trees has a subtly different shade of pigment beneath the green, resulting in the breadth of color that paints the landscape. One of the reasons that Grandfather’s colors are so magnificent is the diversity of hardwood trees, which tend to produce the most vibrant colors. Yellow cottonwoods, golden poplar, pumpkin-colored beeches, Continued ON Page 38

The trees at high elevation on Grandfather are some of the first to change into the autumn colors. Photo BY ROB MOORE

The Mountain Times Autumn Guide



A Colorful Grandfather Continued From Page 37

orange sugar maples, red sourwoods, rusty red oaks, crimson huckleberries, wine-colored sweetgums and purple dogwoods all create vivid contrast against the stark, stony face of the mountain. While the fall leaf season lasts only a few weeks throughout most of the region, Grandfather’s elevation relative to the surrounding terrain makes it an ideal vantage point to view the changing leaves throughout the entire season. Throughout autumn, the view from Grandfather’s summit will reveal the fall colors’ gradual descent from the mountain peaks, down the slopes, into the valleys and out into the lower elevations to the east. If you want to get the most out of fall leaf watching, there are a few simple tips to keep in mind.

Travel on weekdays in mid-October Visit the High Country on weekdays during October if you can. Attractions, restaurants and hotels will be busy on peak October weekends, which means that visiting during the week should make for a less hectic, more relaxed trip.

Arrive before 10 a.m. or after 3 p.m. on peak weekends For many people, weekends are the only option. For weekend visitors, the best times to arrive on Grandfather are before 10 a.m. or after 3 p.m. This will help you avoid waits and lines. There are other advantages to arriving early. Cool mornings clear the air, making the view across the surrounding mountains the most spectacular early in the day. In fact, early-morning visitors in October are sometimes able to see the skyline of Charlotte, 80 miles away. In addition, Grandfather’s animal inhabitants are more energetic, alert and playful in the early hours.

On weekend mornings, go to the Mile-High Swinging Bridge first When traffic delays occur, they usually occur near the top of the mountain, where there are fewer places to park. These traffic problems usually do not develop before 11 a.m. Another way to avoid traffic at the top is to park at the parking area just below the summit and take the Bridge Trail to the top. This 15-minute walk leads visitors to a viewpoint under the swinging bridge before leading them up to the bridge itself.

If spending a few days, make reservations For assistance in locating lodging and making reservations, the staff at Grandfather recommend that you call North Carolina High Country Host at (800) 438-7500 or click to Direct links to area chambers of commerce are also available by clicking to Continued ON Page 39

The bright colors of fall create a stark contrast against the craggy face of Grandfather Mountain. Photos submitted


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A Colorful Grandfather Continued From Page 38

Programs throughout autumn To help ensure that all of their guests get the most out of their visit, Grandfather Mountain’s staff has prepared a range of programs for all ages. These programs are all in addition to the typical programs that are available year-round.

Kidfest on Sept. 10 On Saturday, Sept. 10, Grandfather Mountain will celebrate Kidfest, a day designed to get kids excited about the nature and culture of the North Carolina mountains through fun and entertaining activities. Throughout the day, a wide variety of activities and presentations will be available, including storytelling from renowned storyteller Glen Bollick, a guided hike with naturalist Katie Gray, natural crafts and more. For a complete schedule of activities at Kidfest, click to planning_your_visit/events/kidfest.php.

Girl Scout Day Sept. 17 On Girl Scout Day, all Girl Scouts and their troop leaders are admitted free to Grandfather Mountain with proof of scout membership. Families traveling with scouts may ask for discount admission rates. Free admission is not the only feature of Girl Scout Day. The staff of Grandfather Mountain has prepared a wide range of events and activities for the day, including a “hawk watch” from the top of Linville Peak, where visitors will hopefully catch a glimpse of hawks during the peak of their migration. For more information on Girl Scout Day and all the events planned on Grandfather, click to events/girl_scout_day.php.

High Country Audubon Society meeting Sept. 24

Grandfather Mountain will host a meeting of the High Country Audubon Society at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 24, at the Nature Museum. The meeting will include a presentation in the auditorium on the monarch butterfly, followed by a trip to Grandfather’s butterfly garden.

Fall color guided hikes throughout October Grandfather Mountain will offer guided hikes upon request throughout October. These hikes will be available for families or groups of at least two individuals. This is ideal for visitors with specific interests or questions because guides are prepared to answer questions on topics ranging from geology to ecology to biology. Many of the mountain’s trails can be somewhat intimidating, so bringing a guide along can help keep family and friends safe. Guides will lead visitors throughout most of the mountain, answering any questions along the way. Guided hikes cost $15 for half of a day or $30 for a full day. Guides are limited, so it is a good idea to reserve your guide ahead of time. For more information or to reserve a guide, call Gabriel Taylor at (828)

Many roads lead to Grandfather Mountain for the best views of fall color. Travel U.S. 221 and you will see this view to the top of Grandfather Mountain.

Photo by Rob Moore 737-0833.

Hawk migration Billy Smith, a student conducting research on Grandfather, will also be on hand most days while he studies the migration of broad-winged hawks, which will sometimes gather in towering columns of more than 700 birds during their migration. The peak of the migration

usually arrives between Sept. 10 and 24. Smith will be on hand to do his research, and will be happy to answer questions regarding the raptors.

More to come For more information on programs throughout autumn on Grandfather, check its website,, in the coming weeks.

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Autumn at


By Lauren K. Ohnesorge



here’s no place like Beech Mountain. There’s no place like Beech Mountain. But you can’t click your ruby red shoes to get to the annual “Autumn at Oz” celebration. You have to drive. The 18th annual celebration is more than a Technicolor dream, bringing beloved characters like Dorothy Gale, the Tinman and the Wicked Witch of the West to life for one weekend. For some, Oz is a whirlwind of nostalgia. For others, it’s a cherished tradition. It’s the place where troubles really do “melt like lemon drops” and “happy little bluebirds fly” and Oct. 1 and 2, that place where “dreams really do come true” is so real you can actually touch the Yellow Brick Road. Last year’s event was limited to 7,000 patrons. “We will be limiting tickets again,” event creator and Oz enthusiast Cindy Kellar said. Patrons will have an opportunity to not only meet their favorite characters, but to explore a world that’s typically closed to the public. The Land of Oz, created 40 years ago

by the same Robbins family that turned Tweetsie Railroad into an entertainment tradition, was an actual theme park until it closed in 1980. Yellow bricks still shimmer through the grass, and you can still see the pillars where the Tinman’s house used to be. Dorothy’s house is still there, as are several other gems of a park that touched the memories and minds of the High Country and beyond. “This is the only time it’s open to the public,” Kellar said. So what is it about Oz that keeps us returning to the Yellow Brick Road, year after year for 18 years? In a word: Imagination. “It’s the old film,” Beech Mountain Chamber of Commerce’s John Troxler said. “It really does capture the imagination. … Autumn at Oz is definitely Beech Mountain’s biggest event.” Tickets to Oz are $16.50 in advance and $20 the day of the event. Children 2 and younger are admitted free. Tour sessions are Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to noon, noon to 2 p.m., and 2 to 4 p.m., but that doesn’t mean you can only spend two hours at Oz. The session indicates your specified loading hours for your bus or hayride to Oz. Oz is not handicap accessible. Attendees are

Fall into Oz this autumn, as Beech Mountain hosts Autumn at Oz Oct. 1 and 2. File photos

encouraged to wear Oz attire and bring photos, stories and memories. Autumn at Oz is located at 2669 Beech Mountain Parkway in Beech Mountain.

For more information, call the Beech Mountain Chamber of Commerce at (800) 468-5506 or visit


The Mountain Times Autumn Guide


A Stroll through the Gardens Daniel Boone Native Gardens offers fall color By Kellen Moore


hen time doesn’t permit a long, leisurely drive through the mountains, the Daniel Boone Native Gardens in the heart of Boone provide the perfect snapshot of nature’s glorious autumn scenes. Even as the summer’s blooms are beginning to fade, the gardens provide three acres of natural beauty to explore only a mile from downtown Boone. Beyond the entry gate, a long grassy corridor welcomes visitors to the garden. To the left, a pond borders the Squire Boone cabin, while a vine-covered trellis covers a path to the right. A rhododendron thicket and fern garden offer quiet walking paths that allow visitors to deeply breathe the crisp mountain air, while the “wedding lawn” offers unfettered access to sunlight as the days get shorter. “To me, the fern garden is always such a great place,” said Rebecca Kaenzig, chairwoman of the gardens’ board of governors. “It’s just like walking in the woods down there. It just makes me feel so peaceful.” Benches, gazebos and rock walls throughout the gardens provide plenty of places to relax, eat a picnic or snap a few family photos. But the main attraction of the gardens in fall is the diversity of trees, which provide an explosion of color that makes the site worth a visit. Drew Jenkins and Tim Metcalf have been leading a project to restore the 50-year-old gardens this year. Even in August, the two were beginning to notice and anticipate the changing leaves. The gardens offer dogwoods, buckeyes, red maples, black gum and staghorn sumac trees, which produce vivid red leaves as autumn arrives, Jenkins said. The sugar maples and fringe trees will provide a burst of fiery orange, while the birch, tulip poplar, witch hazel, American ash, silverbell, cherry and Kentucky coffeetree will be some of the first to fade to yellow, he said. Anyone who visits late in the season can expect to see the oaks turning an orange or brown hue, Jenkins added. While the changing leaves will capture guests’ attention, the flowers in fall aren’t ready to pack up for the winter. The aster flower is late to bloom with a white flower, while the gentian is a tubular blue flower that also blooms in the fall. But one thing’s for sure, Jenkins said: “Most of our color is going to come from our trees.” The Virginia creeper vine that climbs up several of the trees in the Daniel Boone Native Gardens will also turn

The entry gate brings you into a variety of flowers and a peaceful journey through nature. Photos by kellen moore

Tim Metcalf prunes a tree to allow more light into the gardens.

a bright red, and while it isn’t typically a favorite plant, poison ivy can offer “a very beautiful color” as autumn arrives, Jenkins said. Metcalf suggested visiting in morning or evenings, when the direct sunlight has faded, which allows for better photos. The gardens are open from sunrise to sunset throughout the fall and are located at 651 Horn in the West

Drive in Boone. A $2 entry fee is collected through the honor system, and children younger than 16 are permitted free. No pets are allowed. Visit for more information.


The Mountain Times Autumn Guide



The Mountain Times Autumn Guide


Land of


The Mountain Times Autumn Guide


Frescoes Ashe churches offer sights to see

By Heather Canter


he frescoes at St. Mary’s in West Jefferson and Holy Trinity in Glendale Springs, both in Ashe County, are well known throughout the region for their beauty and artistic style. The two churches are part of the Episcopal Parish in Ashe County, known as Parish of the Holy Communion. The highly anticipated and always popular Festival of the Frescoes is held every October. This year, the event will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 8, on the grounds of the historic Mission House at Holy Trinity Church in Glendale Springs. The festival features arts and crafts, a bake sale, food, Granny’s Attic and entertainment. This year, a birdhouse, built as a scale replica of St. Mary’s Church, will be raffled off at the festival, with proceeds going to the Fresco Foundation. For more information about the festival, call Pat Franklin at (336) 877-3607 or email The story behind the churches of the frescoes and how they came about began back in the 1800s. According to the Ashe County Chamber of Commerce, the story is as follows: Episcopal missionaries from Valle Crucis (in Watauga County) held services at various locations in Ashe County as early as 1852, but no continuing presence of the Episcopal Church existed until 1895 when 19 candidates The Last Supper Fresco was painted in the summer of 1980 by Ben Long and is located at Holy Trinity in were presented for confirmation. Glendale Springs. Bishop Joseph Cheshire, whose first name had previPhotos submitted ously been unknown, then hired two school teachers and began a school. Then in September 1895, the church of St. Simon the Zealot was organized. The the frescoes will always be accessible. church’s name was changed to St. Mary’s in 1903. In the summer of 1980, The church obtained a $24,000 grant that allowed In 1900, another bishop visited Long painted “The Last the congregation to accomplish the many much-needed Glendale Springs and beSupper” fresco at Holy painting, and repair tasks that have been ongoing. The Trinity, as that church gan building Holy Trinity building was being reChurch. foundation continues to seek assistance and is currently stored. Jenny Fields, a trained in need of volunteers for a variety of tasks. Since the frescoes were The foundation also promotes the Fall Festival of the nurse and midwife, moved completed, hundreds of Frescoes, held every October to bring attention to the into the Holy Trinity Mission thousands of people have fresco churches as being a valuable commodity to the House in 1913 and began to visited the churches. The community. tend the sick and deliver babies chamber estimates that The frescoes are one of Ashe County’s major tourin the community. She was fol60,000 pilgrims come ist attractions and, as such, they are an indispensable lowed by other women and the to St. Mary’s and Holy mainstay of the region’s economic development. After community of Glendale Springs tumn: Trinity each year. began to grow. viewing the Frescoes, visitors typically head for the local untry au o C h ig H ry a e v r e fo ld To the benefit of The Fresco paintings at the two stores, restaurants, galleries, parks and recreational rs e a h d is n s le scoe ur ca Mark yo stival of the Fre the frescoes, the areas. churches began when Ben Long, e F The Fall Ashe County Frescoes Foundation was For more information about the frescoes, the foundaan Italian-trained artist, painted October. formed in May 2009. It was created for the purpose tion and how you can help or make a contribution, click three frescoes at St. Mary’s, of protecting and preserving Ben Long frescoes and to to including “Mary Great With Child” in 1974, “John the assure the tens of thousands of tourists they attract that Baptist” in 1975 and “Mystery of Life” in 1977.


The Mountain Times Autumn Guide


The Mountain Times Autumn Guide




Railfan Weekend Sept. 10-11


ake a journey back in time to the golden era of steam locomotives, as Tweetsie Railroad hosts the seventh annual Railfan Weekend, Sept. 10 and 11. Railfans young and old will have the opportunity to observe up close the operation of Tweetsie’s historic steam locomotives Tweetsie Railroad welcomes and learn about their historic past. visitors of all ages to North Carolina’s first theme park, The highlight of the which opened in 1957. weekend will be comprised of the historic original locomotive No. 12, pulling the 1870s vintage coach car on non-stop trips around the mountain, recreating the historic track of the narrow-gauge East Tennessee and Western North Carolina Railroad. This exclusive train trip will be running Saturday, Sept. 10, and Sunday, Sept. 11, while the No. 190 locomotive pulls a separate train taking riders on a Wild West adventure. On Saturday afternoon, Sept. 10, Tweetsie will showcase a doubleheader, with locomotive’s No. 12 and No. 190 working together to pull the train on the Wild West train ride. Railfans will be escorted on tours of the famous Tweetsie Railroad Train Shop, where steam locomotives from across the nation are repaired and restored. The Tweetsie Train Shop staff is the best in the business and strives to keep historic locomotives in top condition. In addition, Railfan Weekend pass holders will have the opportunity to explore the special memorabilia room, which will showcase many rare artifacts from Tweetsie’s past and feature documentaries covering Tweetsie’s historic past. Last year marked the golden anniversary for Tweetsie’s historic locomotive No. 190, also known as the “Yukon Queen.” Tweetsie is offering a special Railfan Weekend price for both days of railroad entertainment: $48 for adults and $33 for children ages 3 through 12. This includes two fun-filled days at the park with unlimited train rides. Shop tours, historic documentaries, memorabilia room, photo-specials and a chance to ride in the cab of one of the locomotives are all included in Railfan weekend. Only guests with a Railfan Weekend pass will be

Tweetsie’s Railfan Weekend showcases the historic and celebrated No. 12 engine. Photos submitted

allowed to be a part of these exclusive opportunities. Tweetsie’s history goes well beyond 1957, when the park opened to the public. The original “Tweetsie” was known as the East Tennessee and Western North Carolina (ET&WNC) Railroad. The line began service in 1881 from Johnson City, Tenn., to Cranberry, N.C. Eventually, the railroad expanded the line to Boone in 1919. Service to Boone continued until a flood in 1940 destroyed most of the tracks. By 1950, the remaining narrow gauge portion of the line was abandoned. The railroad gained its familiar nickname, “Tweetsie,” from the sound of the whistles as they echoed off the mountains. The railroad’s sole surviving steam locomotive, engine No. 12, was purchased by Tweetsie Railroad in 1956, and North Carolina’s first theme park opened July 4, 1957. Engine No. 190, the “Yukon Queen,” joined No. 12

in 1960 after being purchased from the White Pass and Yukon Railway in Alaska, where it had served the U.S. Army’s 770th Railway Operating Battalion during World War II. Tweetsie Railroad is located in the Blue Ridge Mountains on U.S. 321 between Boone and Blowing Rock. Daily admission is $34 for adults and $22 for children ages 3 through 12. Children 2 and under are admitted free. Tweetsie Railroad is open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays Oct. 30. The park’s daytime hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., and from 7:30 to 11:30 p.m. during the Ghost Train Halloween Festival. For more information about Railfan Weekend and Tweetsie’s 2011 season, or to purchase tickets, visit or call (877) TWEETSIE. Find Tweetsie on Facebook or follow Tweetsie on Twitter @TweetsieRR.

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The annual Ghost Train Halloween Festival rolls into Tweetsie Sept. 30 through Oct. 29. Photo by Jeff Eason

Frights in the Night Tweetsie’s Ghost Train and Halloween Festival runs Sept. 30 through Oct. 29 By Jeff Eason


t is universally agreed that October is the spookiest month of the year. The leaves fall off of the trees, and the nights get longer as we approach Halloween. Tweetsie Railroad celebrates all things spooky with its annual Ghost Train and Halloween Festival: Nothing gets you into the Halloween spirit like barreling through the darkness of night on a steam locomotive.

Gates at Ghost Train open nightly at 7:30 p.m. Arrive early, and you’ll still have to hustle to do everything. In addition to the scary train ride into the night with conductor Casey Bones, Ghost Train boasts the Haunted House, Halloween Shows in the Saloon, 3-D Maze, Black Hole, trick-or-treating on Main Street and the Freaky Forest. This year’s Ghost Train will have a retro theme. And there will also be a new area called “The Boneyard” at the Hacienda.

Tweetsie Railroad’s Ghost Train and Halloween Festival is open from 7:30 to 11:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday nights, Sept. 30-Oct.1, Oct. 7-8, Oct. 14-15, Oct. 21-22, and Oct. 28-29. Tickets are $28 per person, and children 2 and younger are admitted for free. For more information, visit or call (828) 264-9061.


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The Mountain Times Autumn Guide



The Mountain Times Autumn Guide

Prost! Oktoberfest at Sugar Mountain Oct. 8-9


rab your beer stein, put on your lederhosen and head to Sugar Mountain Resort for the 21st annual Oktoberfest celebration Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 8 and 9. The weekend is packed with activities from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and admission and parking are free. More than 40 artisans and craftspeople open their stands at 10 a.m. each day. A sampling of this year’s vendors includes chair caning, wooden toys, oil paintings, stained glass, handmade furniture, dolls, copper art, ceramics, honey, beeswax

candles, bird houses and much more. Enjoy the beautiful fall foliage and a panoramic view of the surrounding area from the mile-and-a-half long chairlift ride to Sugar’s 5,300-foot peak. Everyone, even mountain bikers, are welcome to ride the lift. The children’s activity center, located in the Ski School Play Yard will keep the young ones entertained each day from noon till 4 p.m. A $10 fee per child per day includes hayrides, a chance to meet Sugar’s mascots, Sugar Bear and Sweetie Bear, and several Airwalk stations. Cotton


From beer to crafts to live music to chairlift rides, Sugar Mountain’s annual Oktoberfest boasts a keg-ful of activities. Photos submitted

candy, popcorn, caramel apples, homemade cookies and drinks are also available in the children’s activity center. All ages are welcome to participate. An Oktoberfest isn’t complete without the sounds of an Oom Pah Band. From noon to 4 p.m. both Saturday and Sunday, the Harbour Towne Fest Band guarantees to bring the sounds, dances and enthusiasm of Bavaria to Sugar Mountain. The 15-piece band will enthusiastically play the sounds of Germany’s Bavaria. Bavarian cuisine, including bratwurst,

knackwurst, German potato salad, sauerkraut and pretzels will be available, starting at 11 a.m. both Saturday and Sunday. To help wash it down, an ample supply of authentic Bavarian beverages will be flowing all weekend long. If Bavarian cuisine’s not your preference, hot dogs, hamburgers, soda, cotton candy, kettle corn, caramel apples, and other festive foods will be on hand. Rain or shine, the festival will go on. For more information, call Sugar Mountain Resort at (828) 898-4521 or visit

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A Year-Round Playground By Jamie Shell


f you’re the type of person who can’t get enough of the great outdoors, Sugar Mountain is perfect for you. With trails for biking and hiking, pristine recreational facilities for golf and tennis, a ski lift to get the optimum view of the fall foliage and more, Sugar Mountain Resort promises to leave you breathless from excitement Ski lifts aren’t just for and activities. skiing. Even in the auMany people think of ski tumn, Sugar Mountain lifts as functional only durResort offers lift rides for visitors to take in the ing the winter months, but at Sugar Mountain, visitors area’s scenic vistas. File photo are invited to take a ride on a lift for a unique scenic experience of the mountain and much of the High Country. If heights aren’t at the top of your preference list, there are plenty of walking trails across Sugar. Numerous trails wind throughout the village for path walkers of all skills and sizes, offering prime locations where hikers can see the changing of the seasons from a oneof-a-kind perspective. Cyclists are also welcome, with bike trails and terrain ranging from easy to moderately difficult, providing enjoyment for various levels of ability.

A view from the top, Sugar Mountain offers breathtaking views of the High Country. photo by rob moore

The village of Sugar Mountain is also home to the annual tradition of Oktoberfest, held Oct. 8 and 9, with free parking and admission. More than 40 artisans and craftspeople open their stands with vendor items ranging from chair canning, wooden toys, oil paintings, stained glass, handmade furniture and dolls to copper art, ceramics, honey, beeswax candles, birdhouses and much more. The festival provides attendees with a view of the beautiful fall foliage near its peak season, with the mountain making available ski lift rides during the days of the event. Sugar Mountain becomes a winter wonderland from late November through the end of March. Sugar is home to Sugar Mountain Resort and offers great ski and snowboarding terrain and many amenities to make your ski vacation a great one. Sugar is traditionally the first mountain to open its slopes for the winter season and has been a trailblazer in skiing and winter entertainment since 1976. In addition to the exceptional skiing, snowboarding and other experiences, Sugar Mountain offers a full schedule of extra events throughout the season. Check

out the calendar of events on the Sugar Mountain Resort website by clicking to, or visit the Village of Sugar Mountain online by clicking to For more information, call the Avery County Chamber of Commerce at (828) 898-5605.

The Mountain Times Autumn Guide



Hickory Ridge Homestead A Living History Museum By Lauren K. Ohnesorge


utdoor drama “Horn in the West” may have closed for the summer, but the story lives on at Hickory Ridge Homestead. Turn back the clock to a time of spinning wheels and mountain crafts as interpreters dressed like pioneers tell you how life used to be. Hickory Ridge Homestead was created in 1980 by the Southern Appalachian Historical Association to further a “Horn in the West” audience member’s imagination and understanding of the story. Located on the Horn in the West grounds at Horn in the West Drive, Hickory Ridge Homestead is an 18thcentury living history museum showcasing the lives of early High Country settlers. Along with regular demonstrations in weaving and hearthside cooking (look for the 180-year-old loom), a museum gift shop houses the kinds of toys early settlers used to pass the time. Check out the 1780s-era Tate Cabin, an authentic cabin furnished in frontier style. This fall marks the return of the Tate collection from what used to be the Appalachian Heritage Museum.

Through re-enactments, demonstrations and tours, Hickory Ridge Homstead in Boone takes visitors on a journey back in time. File photos

Boone Heritage Festival On Oct. 8, visit Daniel Boone Park, adjacent to Hickory Ridge Homestead, from 9 to 4 p.m. for the inaugural Boone Heritage Festival. Expect musical performances, historical demonstrations from the colonial/Revolutionary time period, vendors, regional crafts, children’s

activities, food and a raffle. The focus of the event is Appalachian traditions, history and heritage, as well as contemporary Appalachian life. For more information on the homestead, visit www.

Parkway crafts demonstrations By Jeff Eason


trip to the Cone Manor Estate on the Blue Ridge Parkway is like a trip back in time. Not only can you take a tour of Flat Top Manor, a gleaming 20-room mansion built by Moses Cone in 1901, but you can also see how many arts and crafts traditions are kept alive by contemporary craftspeople. Free crafts demonstrations are presented at Flat Top Manor nearly every single day from May through October. Craft demonstrations at the Cone Manor Estate are located on the screened-in portion of the Flat Top Manor front porch. The demonstrations take place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. (unless otherwise noted) and closed

for lunch at the demonstrator’s discretion. Fore more information, call the Cone Manor Craft Center at (828) 295-7938. Sept. 2-5: David Crandall (wood; dovetail boxes) Sept. 6-9: Lynn Jenkins (clay; raku) Sept. 10-12: Judi Harwood (mixed media; drum making) Sept. 15-21: Lynn Jenkins (clay; raku) Sept. 23-29: Jack Rogers (wood turning) Sept. 30-Oct. 2: David Crandall (wood; dovetail boxes) Oct. 3-5: Beth Zorbanos (natural materials; cornhusk doll making) Oct. 6-9: Allen Davis (woodworking) Oct. 10-12: Tom Gow (wood; cottonwood bark carving) Oct. 13-16: Carlos Robledo (clay) Oct. 17-23: Lin Oglesby (fiber; yarn plying, knitting, crocheting)

Oct. 25-27: Lynn Jenkins (clay; raku) Oct. 28-30: Jeff McKinley (glassblowing)

Moses Cone Manor, located on the Blue Ridge Parkway, is home to boundless arts and crafts. File photo


The Mountain Times Autumn Guide



DISC course becomes world renowned

Dustin Eachus plays disc golf at the Ashe County Park Disc Golf Course. Photos submitted

Justin Testerman prepares to throw at the Ashe County Park Disc Golf Course.

By Jesse Campbell

with them, they have taught me a lot. Looking back, I know I made the right decision.” The commitment by Innova disc golf, Patoprsty said, has also been crucial to the course’s success. “The course, unlike some, has been nurtured by Innova for years,” he said. “They have really helped with the maintenance and putting money into this thing.” Unlike the urban courses that often see droves of players and fans flocking to the green, the Ashe County course’s rural setting keeps the traffic coming into the park low, meaning there is plenty of elbow room for players. Although there are no scheduled autumnal events at the park, there are weekly specials and contests planned throughout the year. As for the now, the sky is literally the limit, as the popularity of the course begins to mushroom. “People are starting to plan vacations to come up here and play,” Patoprsty said. “We will be seeing more of that.” More information on the park and scorecards are available at the course kiosk. For more information on the course and disc golf in general, click to or call (336) 982-6185. The park is open throughout the week during daytime hours, closing at dusk. Directions: Coming from Jefferson, take North Main Street to Ashe Park Road, and the park will be located on the left.


ften prided as one of the best venues in the world, the Ashe County Park Disc Golf Course in Jefferson has become a player favorite as a continued collaborative community effort keeps the kudos flying in. Course promoter Todd Patoprsty boasted the Ashe venue is “the highest rated in the state” and has become a destination for players nationwide. “That’s really saying a lot,” Patoprsty said. “The locals (too) have realized what a fun game it is to play and have taken it to the next level to even call it a sport.” That type of commitment is apparent throughout the park. On any given sunny day, players from across the High Country are scattered – like many lost discs – throughout the park, enjoying the uniquely designed course. Through a joint effort by Innova disc golf, local volunteers and Ashe County Parks and Recreation, the course is now home to two annual events, and players of all skill levels frequent the park throughout the year. Having professional guidance by the way of a world disc golf champion, Harold Duvall, was key to the park’s creation. “Being that the course was professionally designed by Harold Duvall really made the difference,” Patoprsty said. “In my years prior to working with the parks, I thought I knew everything in the way of designing a course, but after the time I spent in the woods, working

Through a joint effort by Innova disc golf, local volunteers and Ashe County Parks and Recreation, the course is now home to two annual events, and players of all skill levels frequent the park throughout the year. File photo


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The Mountain Times Autumn Guide


The Mountain Times Autumn Guide



make for a high-flying good time By Matthew Hundley


he High Country of Western North Carolina is a veritable smorgasbord of exhilarating outdoor activities. Hiking, camping, rock climbing, rafting, fishing and many other activities are all available within a few minutes’ drive of most locations in the area. For most visitors, however, one of the area’s most exciting new activities may not be familiar. Throughout the mountains, adventuresome souls can now find one of the area’s most thrilling attractions, ziplines. Many people may remember a zipline from their childhood as a wooden handle attached to a pulley that rolled along a length of cable, carrying giggling children across creeks or backyards. For the modern attractions, the principle is the same, but the scale is vastly greater. Rather than a short ride across the backyard, these ziplines carry visitors high above the forest, crossing rivers, hills and entire valleys. Naturally, safety is a prime concern, so all participants wear harnesses and head protection while flying through the air. Four unique ziplines now serve the High Country and surrounding areas: Hawksnest in Seven Devils, The Beanstalk Journey in Morganton, Plumtree Canopy Tours in Plumtree and Scream Time Zipline in Boone.

Hawksnest Ziplines The 4,500-foot elevation at Hawksnest Ziplines’ starting point has allowed Hawksnest to establish the longest zipline on the East Coast, with more than 1.5 miles of cables ready to thrill adventuresome visitors. The 1.5 miles are divided up across 10 different Continued ON Page 57

A participant at Hawksnest Zipline flies high above the valley floor. Photo BY ROB MOORE



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Ziplines Continued From Page 56

ziplines, and Hawksnest has plans to build eight more. Hawksnest is located in Seven Devils, just off N.C. 105 between Boone and Banner Elk. It is important to call ahead to reserve your trip. Hawksnest cannot offer tours to single participants, so get the family and friends together. Two different canopy tours are available, the Hawk Tour, which costs $65 per person, and the Eagle Tour, which costs $75 per person. Once your reservations are made, try to arrive at least 30 minutes before you are scheduled to begin your tour. Tours begin at 10 a.m. daily. For more information about Hawksnest’s zipline canopy tours, click to or call (800) 822-4295.

The Beanstalk Journey Located in Catawba Meadows in Morganton, The Beanstalk Journey is more than just a zipline. Described as a “life-size Ewok Village,” the attraction includes canopy top ziplines, ropes courses and bridges that connect 15 “islands” tucked away into the foliage. The Beanstalk Journey also includes a 32-foot climbing tower and giant “Spider’s Climbing Web.”


The facility accommodates large groups, birthday parties and participants as young as 4 years of age. For more information about the safety precautions in place at The Beanstalk Journey, click to www. The Beanstalk Journey is currently offering a $29 per person special for groups of four or more who book their visit at least 24 hours in advance. To make reservations, or for more information, call (828) 4303440 or click to

Plumtree Canopy Tours Visitors at Plumtree Canopy tours will have the opportunity to experience a canopy tour and zipline adventure that will take them across 11 ziplines and four sky bridges, all the while learning about the trees, wildlife and community of Plumtree. Visitors can also learn about the history of Plumtree, including its vast mines. Included with all Plumtree Canopy tours is lunch or Sunday brunch at the Vance Toe River Lodge. All participants must be at least 10 years old and weigh between 70 and 250 pounds. Plumtree is located on U.S. 19 East, mere miles from a wealth of hiking, camping and fishing opportunities. Plumtree Canopy Tours cost $79 per person and require reservations. To make a reservation or for more information, call (866) 319-8870.

The 4,500-foot elevation at Hawksnest Ziplines’ starting point has allowed Hawksnest to establish the longest zipline on the East Coast, with more than 1.5 miles of cables ready to thrill adventuresome visitors. Photo by rob moore

The High Country Rocks


The Mountain Times Autumn Guide


Gem-mining in the Mountains By Kellen Moore


veryone needs a souvenir from their trip to the mountains. Visit one of the area’s gem mines, and you’ll take home both great memories and possibly precious stones. “It’s a unique experience,” said Grant Seldomridge, a junior geologist and raft guide at River and Earth Adventures. “When little kids find stuff, their eyes get as big as grapefruits. The kids-at-heart also love it, as well.” One of the perks of gem mining is that a miner can spend as little or as much time — and money — searching as he would like. Each gem mine offers several different bucket sizes. There’s debate among gem mines on the best strategy: Pack the buckets with precious gems, or dump in the raw ore and leave it up to chance? At The Greater Foscoe Mining Co., owner Kenneth Pickett says a bigger bucket guarantees better finds. “As the bucket size gets bigger, we change the formula of the rich gems,” Pickett said. But at Doc’s Rocks Gem Mine, owner Randy “Doc” McCoy said he takes a different approach. “We don’t put anything in or take anything out of the buckets,” he said. “I didn’t agree with that, which is kind of what drove me to do this.” But regardless of which mine you visit, finding gems is almost guaranteed. “Not long ago, I think it was this fall, a young girl found an emerald the size of a tennis ball,” Seldomridge said. “If it was cut and polished, it would be worth thousands of dollars.” For those who do find keepers, several mines offer onsite cutting and polishing. In fact, at The Greater Foscoe Mining Co., the jewelry store came first. “I have a jewelry store here that I started in 1981 or 1982, Facets of Foscoe,” Pickett said. “About six or seven years later, one of my stepchildren said, ‘Let’s go next door and play in the dirt like we’re looking for gems.’ Later I got the idea, ‘What a great idea for the kids,’ so with a garden hose and some scrap lumber, we put together the troughs, and before we knew it, people were coming to beat the band.” Beyond the excitement of sifting for treasure, gem mining is also an educational experience in the High Country. Each find offers a chance for kids and adults to learn a few things about geology. “We sit down with them and teach them stone for

Caleb Wells, front, and his brother, Benjamin Wells, search for gems during a trip to Boone this past April. Photos by Kellen Moore

stone what they found,” McCoy said. McCoy is expanding the learning opportunities with a new fossil museum above Doc’s Rocks, set to open in May. Few other High Country experiences offer the same thrill and excitement brought on by the possibility of finding a giant ruby or emerald. “We guarantee folks are going to find stuff,” Seldomridge said. “We’ve got buckets laden with minerals. … You name it, it’s in there.”

LET THE MINING BEGIN Foggy Mountain Gem Mine: (828) 963-4367 Location: 4416 N.C. 105 south, Boone Doc’s Rocks Gem Mine: (828) 264-4499 Location: 129 Mystery Hill Lane, Blowing Rock The Greater Foscoe Mining Co.: (828) 963-5928 Location: 8998 N.C. 105 South, Foscoe River and Earth Adventures: (828) 963-5491 Location: 1655 N.C. 105 South, Boone

Randy ‘Doc’ McCoy of Doc’s Rocks Gem Mine prepares a bucket of mineral ore for mining.


The Mountain Times Autumn Guide


Rain won’t ruin your vacation By Lauren K. Ohnesorge


on’t let rain dampen your autumn holiday. The High Country boasts dozens of indoor activities to delight even the most restless leaf peeper. Stop by a local coffee shop on the way and pick up a warm brew for your commute.

Rack ’em The High Country takes its pool seriously. Just ask the folks at Foscoe’s Country Retreat Family Billiards, located in Foscoe between Boone and Banner Elk at 9021 N.C. 105 South (828-963-6260). Country Retreat Family Billiards is the perfect family-friendly destination for your pool cue. Rather have a beer while you rack? Check out bars like Murphy’s Restaurant & Pub (747 W. King St.), Café Portofino (970 Rivers St.) and the Boone Saloon (489 W. King St.) in downtown Boone. Murphy’s and Café Portofino also have darts.

Watch it The High Country boasts two movie theaters: Regal Boone Cinema 7 (210 New Market Street Centre, 828262-3330) and Parkway Theatre in West Jefferson (10 East Main St., 336-846-3281). For show times, pick up a copy of The Mountain Times or visit For those less keen on new releases, Appalachian State University’s Greenbriar Movie Theater and Greer SuperCinema offer welcome alternatives. Visit films. for schedules and show times.

Don’t let the weather rain on your autumn parade. The High Country boasts plenty of indoor activities to delight even the most restless leaf peeper. Photos submitted

Strike ’em Does rain make you want to hit walls? Hit pins instead, with a bowling ball. Check out the family-friendly Boone Bowling Center (261 Boone Heights Drive, 828264-3166) or Cardinal Lanes in West Jefferson (787 U.S. 221 Bus. 336-846-7077).

Read it Feel like cuddling up to a good book? Check out the Watauga County Library (140 Queen St., 828-2648784). Conveniently located downtown, it’s the perfect place to read about leaves if it’s too rainy to go see them for yourself. Try the Ashe County Library (336-8462041), as well.

Get cheesy Check out Ashe County’s own cheese factory. With a viewing room open year-round, free of charge, Ashe County Cheese (106 E. Main St., West Jefferson, 336246-2501) will have your mouth watering worse than the rain outside. Ashe County Cheese is the state’s oldest cheese plant, in production since 1930.

Go caving Local adventure companies aren’t just about whitewater. Call and ask about cave adventures, perfect for damp days when it’s too chilly for a whitewater expedition. Try River and Earth Adventures (828-963-5491).

Get thrifty Check out the High Country’s wide variety of thrift shops, the perfect way to save on everything from clothing to furniture. It’s a yard sale every day, without

the rain. Try Ram’s Rack Thrift Shop (877 W. King St., 828-262-5029).

Skate it Strap on your own wheels or rent them at Skate World (6880 U.S. 421 N., 828-297-3296). Listen to DJ music as you whiz by and think of those times, long ago, when roller skates meant holding hands and wearing headbands.


The Mountain Times Autumn Guide



The Mountain Times Autumn Guide

Generally Speaking From staff reports

Mast General Store offers customers a chance to step back into the past. File photo

Mast General Store The Mast General Store is the granddaddy of regional general stores, having opened the door in its Valle Crucis location in 1883, opened by Henry Taylor and eventually co-owned by W.W. Mast. It developed a reputation for living up to the “general” in its name, carrying every-

thing a family might need, from “cradles to caskets.” But besides the goods, the store served as community gathering place, with a post office, wood stove, a porch suitable for checkers or politics, and sometimes both. Today the store is the flagship for a family of general stores owned by John and Faye Cooper in the mountains, including the Old Boone Mercantile downtown location and the Annex in Valle Crucis, famous for its “candy barrel.” The stores now contain an array of clothing, outdoor gear, footwear, food, books, maps, caps, gloves, decorative items, and more. Hours at the main Mast General Store on Broadstone Road in Valle Crucis are 7 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 6 p.m. on Sunday. For more information, call (828) 963-6511. 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


High Country General Stores

information, call (828) 262-0000.

Fred’s General Mercantile Fred’s General Mercantile has just about everything you need, and if you can’t find it there, you might ask yourself if you really need it. Fred and Margie Pohl Fred’s General Merlaunched the cantile in Beech Mounstore in 1979 tain offers a little bit of everything, including on Beech elevation. Mountain, livFile photo ing above the retail space for many years. That helped them maintain a “family” atmosphere

and business. The main store consists of a grocery store, hardware store and clothing store. Its fully stocked grocery store carries everything from canned goods to gourmet foods, and Fred stays price conscious because he jokes that he originally started the store as a protest over a high-priced can of tuna fish. The store carries fresh fruits and vegetables, meat and poultry, homemade breads and a plethora of beers and wines, as well as plenty of snack foods. The hardware section carries tools, supplies, home-improvement goods, tire chains, nuts and bolts, and plenty of fix-it supplies. The clothing store has hundreds of T-shirts, sweatshirts and brand-name clothing. The Backside Deli features sandwiches, soups, desserts, salad, pizza, ice cream, cookies, and beer and wine, and is a cozy place to get warm on those snowy days.

Continued on Page 62

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Generally Speaking Continued From Page 61

Usual hours are 7:30 a.m. to 10 p.m., though the store stays open half an hour later when the ski slopes are open. Through the addition of a ski shop, Fred’s General Mercantile has become a favorite landmark of Beech Mountain.

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, and features guest musicians. The store also features food and antiques. For more information. call (828) 733-5213.

Todd General Store The Todd General Store is open through Christmas in the historic Todd community. It’s open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., daily except Tuesdays and Thursdays, and

Sunday hours are noon to 4 p.m. and it stays open late Friday evenings for supper and traditional music. The store was built in 1914 and features a deli, collectibles, antiques, groceries, rustic furniture and several rooms’ worth of exploration. It’s on the National Register of Historic Places. For more information, call (336) 8771067. Todd Mercantile features a bakery, antiques, local handicrafts and other treats, with a little pot-bellied stove for winter months. The store also holds monthly contra and square dances featuring local musicians. For more information, call (336) 877-5401.

High Country audience. “That’s how we’ll decide the radio drama,” Lamont said. Play readings are open to the public and the community is encouraged to participate. Email info@ for more information. Visit www. for information on upcoming productions.

Appalachian State Theater at Appalachian State University means an evening of professional-quality entertainment. The upcoming fall season is no exception. Visit for more information. •

• •

In autumn 2010, Lees-McRae’s theater lineup included ‘Into the Woods.’

Fall on Stage

By Lauren K. Ohnesorge



lose your eyes and go back in time. That’s the idea behind the annual radio drama put on by Ensemble Stage the last weekend of October. For the past two years, Orson Welles’ classic “War of the Worlds” has dazzled High Country audiences, a Halloween tradition. This year, in honor of its first full season, Ensemble Stage, the High Country’s only full-time professional theater, is doing something different. “It’s going to be a surprise,” Ensemble’s Lisa Lamont said. Lamont and Ensemble’s artistic director, Gary Smith, have had a full summer, with shows like “Pageant Play” and “Catfish Moon” attracting both a regional audience and a regional cast. Equity actor Jessica Peterson came to Blowing Rock

Photo by Frank Ruggiero

from Boca Raton, Fla., to participate in August’s “Going to See the Elephant.” “They’re trying to bring professional theatre back to Blowing Rock,” Peterson said. “It’s just beautiful, what they’re doing, and people need to support it. In this day and age and during this economy, it’s really hard.” Ensemble Stage productions typically happen at the Blowing Rock School Auditorium, across the street from fine dining like the Best Cellar and Crippen’s Country Inn. They’re special because they’re local, Smith said. “We wanted accessible theater in the High Country,” he said. After equity theater Blowing Rock Stage Company shut down, professional theater was non-existent. Non-existent, that is, until Smith brought it back. “And now we’re busy,” he said. “Busy all the time.” Starting this fall, Tuesday play readings return to Ensemble Stage. By reading scripts with the community, Ensemble Stage decides what shows would work for a

• •

“First Year Showcase,” directed by Joel Williams and Marianne Adams I.G. Greer Studio Theatre, Sept. 29-Oct. 1, 7:30 p.m. “Mother Hicks” by Nola Smith, directed by Teresa Lee Valborg Theatre, Oct. 5-8, 7:30 p.m.; Oct. 9, 2 p.m.  “North Carolina Dance Festival” Valborg Theatre, Oct. 27-29, 7:30 p.m.  “How I Learned to Drive” by Paula Vogel, directed by Anna Ward I.G. Greer Studio Theatre, Nov. 3-5, 7:30 p.m.; Nov. 6, 2 p.m.; Nov. 10-12, 7:30 p.m.; Nov. 13, 2 p.m. “Fall Dance Concert” Valborg Theatre, Nov. 16-19, 7:30 p.m. “Playcrafters New Play Festival” I.G. Greer Studio Theatre, Dec. 1-3, 7:30 p.m.

Lees-McRae College Lees-McRae, known for its musicals, adds a classic twist to its fall season this year with “Much Ado About Nothing” by William Shakespeare. For more information, visit • • • •

“Curtains,” music by John Kander, directed by Michael Hannah Hayes Auditorium, Sept. 30, Oct. 1, Oct. 3, 4 at 7:30 p.m. and Oct. 2, 2 p.m. “Much Ado About Nothing” by William Shakespeare Hayes Auditorium, Nov. 17-19, 7:30 p.m., Nov. 20, 2 p.m.

Other area theater • •

Blue Ridge Community Theatre ( Ashe Little Theatre ( html)


The Mountain Times Autumn Guide


Worship in the High Country By Corrinne Loucks Assad


inding a place to worship in the High Country is not a difficult task, regardless of one’s religious preference. In an area known for a predominantly Protestant faith, recent years have found a wide variety of denominations joining the Baptist, Methodist and Presbyterian congregations. There is a long, rich history to organized faith groups in the area, with Three Forks Baptist Church thought to be the oldest church in Watauga County, constituted in 1790, followed by Cove Creek in 1799. Historical accounts point to Bishop Augustus Gottlieb Spangenberg, leader of the Moravian Church in America — and his associates — as being the earliest Europeans to explore the High Country. In a diary, preserved by the Moravian Church, the bishop recorded notes about his journey through Ashe County and especially about the 100,000 acres his fellow Moravians were given on which to settle. The only one of Spangenberg’s group to return and permanently settle in Ashe County was Herman Loesch, in 1771, and was soon followed by many others. Two historical Episcopal churches that played an important role in the area’s foundation and continue to attract thousands of visitors each year are Ashe County’s St. Mary’s Episcopal Church and Holy Trinity Episcopal Church — collectively known as the Churches of the Frescoes. St. Mary’s Episcopal Church is located near West Jefferson and features the murals Crucifixion, John the Baptist, The Mystery of Faith, and Mary, Great with Child. Holy Trinity Church is in Glendale Springs and features the great mural, The Last Supper. The paintings were done by Ben Long, an Italian trained artist. Episcopal missionaries from Valle Cru-

cis held services all over the area as early as 1852 and were recorded as starting an Episcopal Church in 1895, the same year they hired two school teachers and began a school. Each community has its own unique story of how religion became a part of life and how, through the years, various influences expanded opportunities for spiritual growth and worship. Today, Watauga, Ashe and Avery counties embrace multi-denominational churches, including; Assembly of God, Community Church, Orthodox Church, United Church of Christ, Eastern Orthodox, Christian Fellowship, United Methodist, Baptist, Unitarian Universalist, Catholic, Lutheran, Episcopal, Presbyterian, Mennonite Brethren, Christian, Seventh Day Adventists, Baha’i, First Church of the Nazarene, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Eckankar Center, Quakers, Church of Christ, Church of God, Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints, and Jewish Community Center and the forthcoming Temple of the High Country — to name the majority. In addition to formal places of worship, numerous casual and nondenominational gatherings are held on a regular basis through Christian coffeehouses and community centers. Worship music, positive support and an atmosphere of acceptance and love attract those who find comfort in a less-structured environment.   For the past 30 years, the local Jewish community has been served by a Jewish Community Center, which was invited to share facilities with both a Catholic and an Episcopal Church. The community is now building a Temple of the High Country and the Schaeffer Jewish Community Center in downtown Boone.  There is a place for more anyone seeking to worship in the High Country. See listings each Sunday in The Watauga Democrat, at newsstands or online at , for a weekly worship calendar.

St. John’s Episcopal Church in Sugar Grove. File photo

The Mountain Times Autumn Guide



Performing Arts at ASU Classic rockers Kansas headline 2011-12 season By Frank Ruggiero


hostakovich’s “Symphony No. 5.” Stravinsky’s “The Firebird.” Kansas’ “Carry On Wayward Son.” No one can accuse the Appalachian Symphony Orchestra of having a limited repertoire, especially when the student musicians perform with classic rock outfit Kansas this fall, as part of Appalachian State University’s 2011-12 Performing Arts Series. It’s a seemingly unusual collaboration, but exactly what ASU’s Office of Arts and Cultural Programs desired. “We’re sticking with our mission of having a diverse lineup – and a culturally diverse lineup – so we’re giving our students and community a worldwide perspective,” said Megan Stage, the office’s marketing and public relations manager. “We looked at more of what our demographic was asking for, and we listened to what the students were saying.” And now Stage and company are delivering.

The Time Jumpers – Sept. 16 The season opens Friday, Sept. 16, at 8 p.m. with a performance by the Time Jumpers, the popular Nashville Western swing band, featuring Vince Gill, “Ranger Doug” Green, Dawn and Kenny Sears, Paul Franklin and more, at Farthing Auditorium. “They have a huge lineup,” Stage said of the Time Jumpers. “It’s incredible.” The band is best known for its Monday night jam sessions at the legendary Station Inn in Nashville, drawing audiences – and artists – from the world over, including musical luminaries like Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Buffett, Bonnie Raitt and Reba McEntire. In fact, that’s how Gill came to join the Jumpers, Stage said. “It’s going to be a real treat for us to have them in (Farthing) auditorium,” she said. Tickets cost $28 for adults, $16 for students ages 6 to 18, $15 for ASU students and $10 for children 5 and under and are available at the Farthing Auditorium box office or

Kansas with ASO – Oct. 20 With eight gold albums, two multi-platinum albums, a platinum live album and a million-selling gold single under its collective belt, classic rock group Kansas is now going back to school. Last year, the 1970s rock stalwarts embarked on their Collegiate Symphony Tour, performing their wellknown numbers with college orchestras. “They sent us some video samples, and it sounds

Classic rockers Kansas will perform with the Appalachian Symphony Orchestra on Oct. 20.

PAS at a Glance Sept. 16 – The Time Jumpers Oct. 20 – Kansas with ASO Jan. 28 – Soweto Gospel Choir Feb. 17 – Punch Brothers March 22 – ‘Moulin Rouge: The Ballet’ amazing,” Stage said. “It takes all their classic songs, like ‘Carry On Wayward Son’ and ‘Dust in the Wind,’ and enhances them. You don’t realize you’re listening to a symphony when they do it.” This performance in particular, Stage said, captures the essence of the Performing Arts Series. “We really wanted to reach out to the students, and this is a great way to connect what’s going on at the university now with a classic rock band,” she said. On Thursday, Oct. 20, at 8 p.m., fans can see for themselves. Tickets cost $28 for adults, $16 for students Continued on Page 65

The Time Jumpers open ASU’s 2011-12 Performing Arts Series on Sept. 16. Photos submitted

The Soweto Gospel Choir will perform Jan. 28, 2012 at ASU.


The Mountain Times Autumn Guide


Performing Arts at ASU Continued From Page 64

ages 6 to 18, $15 for ASU students and $10 for children 5 and under and are available at the Farthing box office or

Soweto Gospel Choir – Jan. 28, 2012 Hailed by The New York Times as “meticulous and unstoppable … spirited and spectacular,” the Soweto Gospel Choir brings its emotional, earthy vocals and rhythms to Farthing on Saturday, Jan. 28, 2012 at 8 p.m. Founded in 2002, the South African choir performs traditional and contemporary music in six of their countries 11 official languages. Over the years, the ensemble has garnered numerous awards, including a 2003 Gospel Music Award for “Best International Choir” and a 2007 Grammy for “Best Traditional World Music.” The group has performed with such popular names as U2, Robert Plant and Celine Dion. Tickets cost $20 for adults, $11 for students ages 6 to 18, $10 for ASU students and $5 for children 5 and under and are available online or at the Farthing box office.

The Punch Brothers will perform Feb. 17.

Punch Brothers with Chris Thile – Feb. 17 Although the Performing Arts Series focuses on global entertainment, Stage said it was important to offer students and community members some familiarity, but with a punch. In this case, it’s the Punch Brothers with Chris Thile. Though described as a progressive bluegrass band, the Punch Brothers have also been likened to what The New York Times calls “an emerging style of what might be called American country-classical chamber music.” The critics agree, as the Punch Brothers were nominated for a Grammy for a song (“The Eleventh Reel”) off their 2006 debut album, “How to Grow a Woman from the Ground.” They’ve released two albums since and are now the subject of an upcoming documentary, “How to Grow a Band.” They’ll appear at Farthing on Friday, Feb. 17, at 8 p.m. Tickets cost $20 for adults, $11 for students ages 6 to 18, $10 for ASU students and $5 for children 5 and under and are available online or at the Farthing box office.

‘Moulin Rouge: The Ballet’ comes to ASU March 22.

‘Moulin Rouge: The Ballet’ – March 22 When Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet pirouettes onto the Farthing stage in March, the audience may realize this isn’t a typical ballet. “It’s a classical ballet, however, they’re performing ‘Moulin Rouge,’ which appeals to a wider audience,” Stage said. According to the ballet’s synopsis, “Moulin Rouge” takes place in “turn of the century Paris, a city of exquisite contradiction. The heady elixir of personal freedom bred lifestyles both reckless and addictive. Drawn to Paris by the city’s passion, a flame fueled by the hearts of lovers and the souls of poets, Matthew and Nathalie tempt fate as they seek love and destiny at the infamous

cabaret, the Moulin Rouge.” In 2010, Atlanta inTown called the show “a triumph … stunningly beautiful. It’s moments like this that make ballet fans out of people who think they odn’t like ballet.” Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet performance of “Moulin Rouge” comes to Farthing Thursday, March 22, at 8 p.m. Tickets cost $20 for adults, $11 for students ages 6 to 18, $10 for ASU students and $5 for children 5 and under and are available online or at the Farthing box office. For more information on Appalachian State University’s 2011-12 Performing Arts Series, visit pas.appstate. edu or call (828) 262-6084.

The Mountain Times Autumn Guide



'Rock the World' with Black & Gold

ASU Homecoming 2011 this October By Lauren K. Ohnesorge


ctober brings black and gold front and center, as Appalachian State University preps to host thousands of alumni and current students for a celebration they won’t soon forget: Homecoming 2011, “Rock the World.” “We’re looking at involving our students, our faculty, our staff,” vice chancellor for university advancement Susan Pettyjohn said as she announced the 2011 theme to university’s board of trustees earlier this year. “It’s ‘Rock the World’ the Appalachian way. We’re excited to see how that’s all going to tie in.” Expect a Friday night dance party, Saturday tailgating and Mountaineer magic on the football field when ASU plays Samford.

FRIDAY Fifth annual Running of the Knob This black and gold tradition kicks off Friday, Oct. 21, Continued on Page 67

Homecoming usually draws a big crowd. This year, the Mountaineers take on SoCon foe Samford on Oct. 22 at Kidd Brewer stadium. Photos BY ROB MOORE


The Mountain Times Autumn Guide

'Rock the World' Continued From Page 66

at 5:30 p.m. from the Watauga County Library. Part of the Triple Crown, this run showcases an excellent view of both fall foliage and the town of Boone. To register, visit

Spirit Under the Stars Lip Sync and Pep Rally Prepare for a party as students showcase the finals of their annual Lip Sync Finals. Come for the music, stay for the costumes. The show is at 6 p.m. followed by a bonfire and fireworks at 8 p.m. It all happens at Duck Pond Field on campus.

Under the Boardwalk Boogie ASU’s annual homecoming dance happens at 8 p.m. at Legends, the on-campus nightclub. Rock out to beachy tunes by the Craig Woolard Band and expect heavy hors d’oeuvres. BYOB, six-pack limit. Tickets are $15 in advance and $18 at the door. Call (866) 756ALUM for details.

Hypnotist Prepare to be dazzled as hypnotist Jim Wand makes his return to Farthing Auditorium at 9 p.m.

Open Houses Friday also means open houses at the Turchin Center

for the Visual Arts (noon-8 p.m.), the Hayes School of Music (1-3 p.m.), Reich College of Education (3-5 p.m.), College of Health Sciences (3-5 p.m.) and the Walker College of Business (5:30-7:30 p.m.). Visit for more details.

SATURDAY Midnight Gospel Celebration Starting at midnight, the Gospel Choir and the African American Alumni Association team up at Rosen Concert Hall.

Appalachian Friends Breakfast Kick off the day with complimentary biscuits from Dan’l Boone Inn and coffee from Stick Boy Bread Company. ASU alumni and friends are welcome. RSVP by Oct. 20 by calling (866) 756-ALUM. It all happens at McKinney Alumni Center at 9 a.m.

Homecoming Parade See how ASU clubs and organizations interpret the theme at this year’s parade. It happens at 10:30 a.m. in downtown Boone.

The Don’t Stop Believin’ Tailgate Party Alumni, student groups, departments and friends come together at Duck Pond Field at 11 a.m. for a pregame party with live ’80s rock from the Breakfast Club, door prizes and food vendors.


Football The main event pegs ASU against Samford at Kidd Brewer Stadium. Kickoff has yet to be announced, but tickets can be purchased at or by calling (828) 262-2079. For a complete list of homecoming events, visit www. and remember to wear your black and gold.


The Mountain Times Autumn Guide


NO EQUAL Appalachian State University Mountaineer football By Steve Behr


ack in 2004 when Appalachian State head coach Jerry Moore felt a change was needed on offense, he switched from the “I” formation to the spread offense. The result was three straight Division I-AA/Football Championship Subdivision national championships. Appalachian State has not returned to the finals since 2007, the third of those championships. After seeing the Mountaineers fall 42-24 to Villanova in the quarterfinals of the playoffs last year, a change, this time in the defense, was made. Defensive coordinator Dale Jones said the way Villanova was able to moved the ball on the Mountaineers sparked the idea of looking for a change. “Looking at it, I think quite a bit,” Jones said. “For me personally, we didn’t perform for whatever reason and what they were able to do kind of hurt what we were doing defensively. I don’t want to say it determined whether we were going to change or not, but it made me think and the other coaches what could we do to be the best we could be.” Even with the loss, the Mountaineers, who finished 10-3 last year and won their sixth straight conference championship, switched its basic defense from a 4-3 front to a 3-4. They return seven starters they hope will make it work and get the Mountaineers back to the FCS finals, which are in Frisco, Texas. “I’m probably not much different than any other coach, but at this time of the year everybody’s excited about their teams,” Mountaineers head coach Jerry Moore said. “I don’t feel we’re any different.” Appalachian State is slightly favored to win its seventh straight Southern Conference championship, though Georgia Southern is expected to push the Mountaineers. Appalachian State tied Wofford for league honors in 2010. A seventh conference title would set a SoCon record. They host Georgia Southern in a highly anticipated showdown Oct. 29 at Kidd Brewer Stadium. ASU plays at Wofford on Oct. 1 Appalachian State debuts its new defense at Virginia Tech on Sept. 3. “A key thing for us is to get a few, not a lot, but a few players in the right positions,” Moore said. “We’ve got 75 percent in the right spot during spring practice. There are still a few players that could play multiple position players. We’ve got to get them in the right spot and then make good decisions with them.” The Mountaineers lose two defensive players who were drafted into the NFL. The Seattle Seahawks took safety Mark LeGree, who was picked in the fifth round,

ASU tight end Ben Jordan slings a Chattanooga player off during the comback victory last season. UTC comes to Boone this year for a SoCon showdown. Photos BY ROB MOORE

and the Green Bay Packers drafted linebacker D.J. Smith one round later. Appalachian State also lost returning linebacker Brandon Greer to a season-ending injury. But Appalachian State returns a core of key players from last year, particularly along the front line. Dan Wylie and Gordy Witte, both seniors, return to the lineup. Another senior, Chris Aiken, adds depth. John Rizor, who finished with 5.5 sacks in 2010, moves to linebacker. Lanston Tanyi, who missed last season with turf toe, returns to convert from defensive end to rush linebacker. Tanyi, a redshirt junior, made 75 tackles, 11 for a loss, in 2009. Jeremy Kimbrough, Justin Lloyd and Demery Brewer all return from last year at linebacker. “One of the reasons we made the change was it gives us a better opportunity to come after people,” Jones said. “It also changes how the offensive line has to block. It’s not like they know where those four guys rushing are coming from. It kind of fits with the talent we have. We’re getting Tayni back and John Rizor is Continued on Page 69


No Equal Continued From Page 68

ing to be one of our outside backers, and they’re guys who are good pass rushers, and they’re guys who can drop and move pretty well.” Troy Sanders moves from cornerback to replace LeGree at strong safety. Patrick Blalock returns at free safety, and senior Ed Gainey returns at cornerback. Demetrius McCray, who was a quarterback in high school but moved to defense at ASU, is the other cornerback. Appalachian State has never struggled scoring since converting to the spread offense. The Mountaineers averaged 34.3 points and 430.8 yards per game. It all starts with quarterback DeAndre Presley, the 2010 Southern Conference Offensive Player of the Year. Presley, who also finished third in the Walter Payton Award balloting, passed for 2,631 yards and ran for 1,039 more yards in 2010. He was also responsible for 35 touchdowns, throwing for 21 and running for 14. And he did it while replacing two-time Walter Payton Award winner Armanti Edwards, who rewrote the Appalachian State and Southern Conference record books.

The Mountain Times Autumn Guide Presley, a senior, has plenty of weapons at his disposal. Wide receiver Brian Quick, a 6-foot-5 senior, is a third-team preseason All-American who caught 47 passes last year for 844 yards and nine touchdowns. Travaris Cadet, who played running back last season, but was moved to the slot, also returns. The Mountaineers have several young receivers, most notably Tony Washington, Andrew Peacock and Jamill Lott, who have potential but must mature quickly. Cedric Baker Boney replaces Cadet at running back. The Mountaineers must also replace three offensive linemen, one of them being tackle Daniel Kilgore, who was drafted in the fifth round by the San Francisco 49ers in April. Orry Frye and Matt Ruff anchor the line. Ben Jorden returns as a preseason All-Southern Conference tight end. “In one respect, we’re a young team and in another way we’ve got good experience where it counts the most,” Moore said. “We’ll start with our quarterback — he proved himself after the first game last year to all of us, me included. We had one of the best quarterbacks to ever play the position and he’s gone. All of a sudden, here comes a guy and it’s like pulling a rabbit out of a hat. Here comes

a guy, and he’s magic.” Conference accolades are nice, but winning national championships are better. Paying attention to detail is critical to making that goal come true, according to Cadet. “If you look at out talent, everybody in the world will predict us to be there,” he said. “We’ve got to start doing the little things right. Maybe more film time, com-


ing in to meetings on time and doing the little things right. At the end of the day, it’s the team. It’s not about the individual, it’s not about me or anybody. It’s about the team and about us as a unit. At the end of the day we’re going to win or die together.” For more on Appalachian State University football, visit and

2010 results 2011 schedule Sept. 3 - at Virginia Tech - 12:30 p.m. Sept. 10 - NORTH CAROLINA A&T - 3:30 p.m. Sept. 17 - SAVANNAH STATE - 6 p.m. Sept. 24 - *CHATTANOOGA - 3:30 p.m. Oct. 1 - *at Wofford - 3 p.m. Oct. 15 - *at The Citadel - 2 p.m. Oct. 22 - *SAMFORD - 3:30 p.m. Oct. 29 - *GEORGIA SOUTHERN - 3 p.m. Nov. 5 - *at Furman - 1:30 p.m. Nov. 12 - *WESTERN CAROLINA - 3:30 p.m. Nov. 19 - *at Elon - 3 p.m. *Denotes Southern Conference games

Sept. 4 - *at Chattanooga - W 42-41 Sept. 11 - JACKSONVILLE - W 45-14 Sept. 18 - NORTH CAROLINA CENTRAL - W 44-16 Sept. 25 - *at Samford - W 35-17 Oct. 9 - *ELON - W 34-31 Oct. 16 - *THE CITADEL - W 39-10 Oct. 23 - *at Wester Carolina - W 37-14 Oct. 30 - *FURMAN - W. 37-26 Nov. 6 - *at Georgia Southern - L 14-21 (OT) Nov. 13 - *WOFFORD - W 43-13 Nov. 20 - at Florida - L 10-48 Football Championship playoffs Dec. 4 - WESTERN ILLINOIS - W. 42-14 Dec. 11 - VILLANOVA - L. 24-42 *Denotes Southern Conference games


The Mountain Times Autumn Guide


Fall Festivals in the High Country Compiled by Ashley Wilson


s the days slow and the temperatures cool, there still remains plenty to do in the High Country. Fall is welcomed in the area, evidenced by the numerous festivals and events that complement the season. Beer, pumpkin carving and bluegrass music can all be enjoyed while taking in the beautiful collage of fall color. From woolly worms to Dorothy’s ruby slippers, visitors and residents are sure to find an event that caters to their interests.

animals and learn about farming, while also enjoying music, food, wagon rides and more. Hands-on activities and agricultural demonstrations throughout the day provide an exciting and enriching experience for children and adults alike. Farm Heritage Day begins at 10.a.m. and ends at 4 p.m. Admission is $3 for adults, $1 for children ages 6 to 12 and free for children 5 and under. The event takes place at the Historic Cove Creek School, located at 207 Dale Adams Road in Sugar Grove. For more information, call (828) 297-2200 or visit

Festival at an elevation of 4500 feet. The fall color backdrop, live music, fireworks and a view of the Mountain Biking Gravity Nationals make Brews ’n’ Views a one-ofa-kind beer tasting event. Tickets to the festival are $20 in advance and $25 at the gate. Designated driver tickets are free. The Brews ’n’ Views Festival takes place at Beech Mountain Resort from 2 to 6 p.m. The resort is located at 1007 Beech Mountain Parkway in Beech Mountain. For more information, contact the Beech Mountain Chamber of Commerce at (828) 387-9283 or visit www.

Avery County A & H Fair Sept. 6-10 An old-fashioned county fair, the Avery County Agricultural and Horticultural Fair features midway rides, live bluegrass and gospel music, a beauty pageant and a petting zoo with barnyard and exotic animals. Blue Ribbon contests are held for livestock, produce, and arts and crafts. Admission for the Avery A & H Fair is $5 for persons 13 and older, $2 for kids ages 6 to 12, and free for children 5 and under. One-day ride bracelets are $15 per adult and $7 per child. The fair is held in the field behind the Ingles supermarket in Newland, located at 661 Old Vale Road. For more information, call (828) 387-6870 or visit

Kidfest at Grandfather Mountain Saturday, Sept. 10 Grandfather Mountain’s eighth annual Kidfest is dedicated to getting children excited about the nature and culture of the North Carolina mountains. The full day of entertaining activities includes guided hikes, games, storytelling, crafts, a live demonstration of birds of the Blue Ridge and visits to the animal habitat area. Kidfest is included in regular admission to Grandfather Mountain. Grandfather Mountain’s fall hours are 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Admission is $15 for adults ages 13 to 59, $13 for seniors, $7 for children ages 4 to 12, and children under 4 are admitted free. Grandfather Mountain is located off of U.S. 221, 1 mile from the Blue Ridge Parkway at milepost 305. For more information call (800) 468-7325 or visit

Cove Creek Farm Heritage Day Saturday, Sept. 17 Hours of family fun in a old-time country fair atmosphere, Cove Creek Farm Heritage Day is a celebration of Watauga County’s rich farming community. Meet

Boone favorites The Native Sway will perform at this fall’s Harvest Boone festival, scheduled for Sept. 23-25. Photo by Frank Ruggiero

Harvest Boone Sept. 23-25 Harvest Boone is a community-centered celebration of mind, body and spirit. It will feature music from local talent, such as The Native Sway, BPL and Inverted Sea. Activities throughout the weekend include yoga, meditation, a drum circle, farmers’ market, acupuncture, massage, workshops and belly-dancing. Local vendors will also be on site with a variety of items. Camping and campsite amenities will be available to attendees. Admission is $25 or 20 non-perishable food items and $5. Youth under 15 are admitted free. Tickets are on sale at Green Mother Goods (116 W. King St.) in Boone. A charitable event, all ticket proceeds will be donated to the Hunger and Health Coalition. Harvest Boone takes place at Grandfather Campground, located at 125 Riverside Drive in Banner Elk. For more information, contact Christina Bailey at

Brews ’n’ Views Beer Festival Saturday, Sept. 24 Beech Mountain hosts the inaugural Brews ’n’ Views

Tweetsie’s Ghost Train Halloween Festival offers thrills and chills for visitors of all ages, running Sept. 30 through Oct. 29. Photo submitted

Ghost Train Halloween Festival Sept. 30-Oct. 29 During the Ghost Train Halloween Festival, the Tweetsie Railroad theme park transforms into a Halloween enthusiast’s dream. Friday and Saturday evenings, Tweetsie re-opens its gates to ghosts and ghouls of all ages, providing family-friendly Halloween fun. Ghost Train features a plethora of activities, including trick-or-treating, ghastly entertainment, Ghost Train rides and attractions like the haunted house, 3-D maze, black hole and a freaky forest. Gates open at 7:30 p.m., and a limited number of guests are admitted nightly. Tickets are $28. Children 2 and under enter free. Tweetsie Railroad is located at 300 Tweetsie Railroad Lane in Blowing Rock. For more information, call (877) TWEETSIE, or visit

Autumn at Oz Oct. 1-2 Follow the Yellow Brick Road to the Land of Oz, the one-time Beech Mountain theme park centered on “The

Continued on Page 71


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Wizard of Oz.” Operating from 1970 to 1980, the park is now open only two days a year during Autumn at Oz. Dorothy, Tin Man, Lion, Scarecrow, the Witches and the Wizard will be on hand for the celebration, which includes a walk through the Enchanted Forest and a visit to Dorothy’s house. Food, music, hayrides, and memorabilia are also a part of the experience. Tickets to Autumn at Oz are $16.50 in advance and $20 at the party. Children 2 and under are admitted free. Autumn at Oz is located at 2669 Beech Mountain Parkway in Beech Mountain. For more information, call the Beech Mountain Chamber of Commerce at (800) 468-5506 or visit

High Country Bluegrass Festival Oct. 7-8 In its fifth year, the High Country Bluegrass Festival showcases the music and art of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Bridging the gap between genres, generations and cultures, the festival features more than 20 performers on three stages. Friday’s festivities start at 5 p.m. and end at 11 p.m., while Saturday’s lineup begins at noon and ends at 11 p.m. The High Country Bluegrass Festival takes place at the High Country Fairgrounds, which is located at 748 Roby Greene Road in Boone. For more information, call (828) 733-8060 or visit

Oktoberfest at Sugar Mountain Oct. 8-9 The 21st annual Oktoberfest at Sugar Mountain is a Bavarian-themed party packed with German music, food and, of course, beer! Chairlift rides to the peak of Sugar Mountain, children’s activities, and craft vendors are also a part of Oktoberfest. The Oom Pah Band, the Avery Smooth Dancers and Mountain Laurel Cloggers are the featured entertainment. Oktoberfest starts at 10 a.m. and ends at 5 p.m. both days. Admission is free. Oktoberfest takes place at Sugar Mountain Resort, located at 1009 Sugar Mountain Drive in Banner Elk. For more information, call (828) 898-4521 or visit

per vehicle. The festival takes place at Cook Memorial Park, which is located on Railroad Grade Road in Todd. For more information, visit

Arts, crafts, food and music are just a few highlights of the Valle Country Fair, coming to Valle Crucis Oct. 15. Photo by Frank Ruggiero

At the 34th annual Woolly Worm Festival, hundreds of worms will compete, but only one will win the title of official winter forecasting agent. More than 20,000 spectators gather to watch woolly worms race for the privilege of having their stripes interpreted to predict the severity of the coming snowy season. The festival is a family favorite, as it provides hours of light-hearted competition and entertainment, as well as plenty of food, arts and crafts vendors, and rides. The festival begins at 9 a.m. both days of the festival and ends at 5 p.m. on Saturday and 4 p.m. on Sunday. Admission is $5 for adults, $3 for children, and kids 3 and under are admitted free. For those racing worms, the entry fee is $5 per worm. Worm racers have a chance to win a cash prize of up to $1,000. The Woolly Worm Festival is held on the grounds of Banner Elk Elementary School, located at 185 Azalea Way in Banner Elk. For more information, call the Banner Elk Chamber of Commerce at (800) 972-2183 or visit

Valle Country Fair Saturday, Oct. 15 Founded in 1978 by the Holy Cross Episcopal Church in Valle Crucis, the Valle Country Fair is an overgrown church bazaar. More than 10,000 people come out to enjoy mountain music, fine art and crafts from over 150 vendors and an assortment of foods, including apple butter and cider made on site. All proceeds from the fair fund organizations that assist the High Country’s people in need. The Valle Country Fair begins at 9 a.m. and wraps up at 4 p.m. Admission is free, but parking is $5 per vehicle. The fair takes place in the field across the street from the Valle Crucis Conference Center, which is located at on N.C. 194 in Valle Crucis. For more information, call (828) 963-4609 or visit

Todd New River Festival Saturday, Oct. 8 The sounds of bluegrass music will be heard along the banks of the New River at the 18th annual Todd New River Festival. Storytelling, puppet shows, athletic competitions and other recreational activities contribute to the neighborly atmosphere. More than 30 vendors with a variety of arts and crafts will be on hand, as well as delicious barbecue and other eats. The Todd New River Festival is free, but parking is $5


Human coaches urge their contesting woolly worms in one of many woolly races at the annual Woolly Worm Festival in Banner Elk, set for Oct. 15-16. File photo

Woolly Worm Festival Oct. 15-16

The annual Punkin Festival in Valle Crucis, set for Oct. 22, offers fun, games and pumpkin carving for visitors of all ages. Photo submitted

Valle Crucis Punkin Festival Saturday, Oct. 22 Welcome the pumpkin harvest season with oldfashioned fun at the sixth annual Valle Crucis Punkin Festival. Kids can carve their own jack-o-lanterns, bob for apples, get their faces painted and hear live music. Food and crafts will also be available for sale. The theme of the Punkin Festival is “Carving for a Cause.” All proceeds from the event go to the Western Youth Network, which serves youth and families in Ashe, Avery and Watauga counties. Admission is free, but there is a fee for pumpkin carving and games. The Punkin Festival starts at 11 a.m. and ends at 4 p.m. It takes place at Valle Crucis Elementary School, which is located 2998 Broadstone Road in Valle Crucis. For more information, call Mast General Store at (828) 963-6511 or visit punkin.

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The Mountain Times Autumn Guide


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Boone Boo! Monday, Oct. 31 Trick-or-treaters will get their fill of Halloween goodies and excitement with the 11th annual Boone Boo! There will be scary stories, songs and activities for kids at the Watauga County Library before venturing on a ghost walk to the Jones House and later to trick-or-treat at participating downtown Boone merchants.


The Boone Boo! is a free event. It begins at 4 p.m. and ends at 6:30 p.m. The Watauga County Library, the first stop of the Boone Boo!, is located at 140 Queen St. in Boone. For more information call the Downtown Boone Development Association at (828) 262-4532 or visit www. For more events as autumn continues, pick up The Mountain Times at area newsstands and visit www.

Now in its 11th year, the annual Boone Boo! lets trick-or-treaters hit downtown Boone for first dibs on the treats. Photo by Frank Ruggiero

Ashe is On the Same Page Literary festival in West Jefferson


eptember in West Jefferson brings the High Country’s premier literary event: On the Same Page Literary Festival. In its fourth year, the festival will again fill the streets of downtown with readers and writers, and the stirring voices of award-winning and best-selling authors. With the great literary tradition of North Carolina, “the writingest state,” as its inspiration, the festival was created to encourage and develop a love of the written word, to celebrate authors who move and inspire us, and to bring visitors to Ashe County to enjoy the scenery, the festival, and a healthy dose of local hospitality. The festival is held at the Ashe County Public Library, the Ashe Arts Center and other downtown West Jefferson venues. In 2011, the festival will host:

Wayne Caldwell, author of the novels, “Cataloochee” and “Requiem by Fire” Mark de Castrique, author of the mystery novels in the “Buryin’ Barry” series and “Death on a Summer Breeze” Georgann Eubanks, “Literary Trails of the North Carolina Mountains” and “Literary Trails of the North Carolina Piedmont”

Jaki Shelton Green, the poetry books, “Dead on Arrival” and “Breath of the Song” Michael Malone, author of the novels, “Handling Sin” and “The Four Corners of the Sky” Sharyn McCrumb, author of the Appalachian “Ballad” novels, including her upcoming “The Ballad of Tom Dooley” Suzi Parron, author of the upcoming “Barn Quilts and the American Quilt Trail Movement” (joining in conjunction with the Quilt Guild show taking place at West Jefferson’s Jefferson Station during this year’s festival) Allen Paul Speer, author of the memoir trilogy, “Voices from Cemetery Hill,” “Sisters of Providence” and “From Banner Elk to Boonville.”

The festival will have something for everyone: A writing workshop, Hourwith-an-Author sessions, an author panel discussion, Cinnamon Cinema! featuring the movie, “Life is Beautiful,” readings by featured authors and a writing competition. The theme for the festival, to be held

Wednesday through Saturday, Sept. 14-17, is Family Matters. Authors were selected based on their works featuring family themes, and during the festival they will share how “family” has influ-

enced and played a role in their writing. For more information, visit www. or call the Ashe Arts Council at (336) 846-2787. The festival is also on Facebook.


The Mountain Times Autumn Guide


The Mountain Times Autumn Guide


LOVE THE By Frank Ruggiero & Lauren K. Ohnesorge




ome of the High Country’s finest entertainment never even sees the light of day. That’s because it’s reserved for nightlife. The area is packed with enough nighttime entertainment to satisfy any visitor’s tastes, from bluegrass and beer to jazz and wine and all or none of the above. Though your conscience might be your usual guide for nocturnal excursions, let the Autumn Times lend a hand.

Boone Black Cat Burrito 127 S. Depot St. (828) 263-9511 A college favorite, expect to sample the best burritos in Boone (we like the “build it yourself” nachos and the “white trash” burrito). With beer specials and a full bar, it’s a great post-work place to unwind. When bands are playing, expect a cover charge.

From left, Jeff Tickle and Nate Solberg enjoy a post-work brew at the Mellow Mushroom in Boone. Photo by Jeff Eason

(828) 264-7772 Though its bar is officially called the Tap Room, most regulars simply go to “Portofino’s.” Offering a variety of drinks and a late-night dinner menu, Portofino also has billiard room and dart range. Grateful Dead tribute band Cosmic Charlie performs at the Boone Saloon, one of the area’s premier music venues. Photo by Frank Ruggiero

Boone Saloon 489 W. King St. (828) 264-1811 Located in the heart of downtown Boone, the Boone Saloon is host to some of the area’s premier musical acts. There’s also pool and darts. Check for show schedules. Café Portofino 970 Rivers St.

Char 179 Howard St. (828) 266-2179 Offering modern dining by day, Howard Street’s newest restaurant and bar offers equally modern drinking by night. Capone’s Pizza & Bar 454 W. King St. (828) 265-1886 Voted the High Country’s favorite purveyor of pizza, Capone’s offers prime pies at criminally affordable prices, along with a variety of draft and bottled beers to

wash it down. Crave World Inspired Tapas & Martini Bar 203 Boone Heights Drive (828) 355-9717 Boone’s only tapas bar offers an evolving menu of nearly 100 items, representing all corners of the world and accompanied by an equally diverse martini list. Though Crave offers a fine dining atmosphere, prices are quite affordable with pretentiousness nowhere to be found. Plus, a quality late-night bar menu makes an after-hours excursion all the more palatable. Crossroads Grill & Pub 125 Graduate Lane (828) 266-9091 Right where Geno’s used to be (look for the famed waterwheel), Crossroads, the High Country’s newest watering hole, offers a chill atmosphere and plenty of opportunities to catch your favorite sports. Check out

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Love the Nightlife Continued From Page 74

the karaoke on Fridays. Speaking of Geno’s, the old High Country staple is back, or will be soon. With an undetermined opening date, look for Geno’s next to Crossroads Pub on N.C. 105 in the near future. Flipside 421 Blowing Rock Road (828) 268-9708 It’s where you go for some of the best beer specials ($1 beer specials on Thursdays) in Boone. It’s also where you go for an authentic sampling of Chicago-style pizza. The building has some history (or infamy, take your pick) as well, as its previous occupant, was a locale highlighted by MTV a few years back. The crowd? Definitely college heavy at night. Galileo’s 1087 W. King St. (828) 355-9591 Galileo was known for looking up, but his namesake restaurant in Boone is known for keeping prices down, offering a variety of sandwiches, affordable drinks and gourmet coffee and desserts, along with more nightly goings-on than you can shake a telescope at.

Klondike Café 441 Blowing Rock Road (828) 264-9988 Part of the Flipside/Parthenon trifecta, drink specials and a dedicated group of Klondike faithful keep the crowd coming. Here, it’s all about college, evidenced both by the crowd and the enthusiastic employees. As with its cohorts, parking is the biggest issue with Klondike, so plan ahead or walk. Macado’s Restaurant & Bar 539 W. King St. (828) 264-1375 A King Street staple, Macado’s serves more sandwiches and drinks than you can shake a stick at. Offering a full menu till 2 a.m., the tavern is a popular spot to quench those late night munchies and have a few while you’re at it. Mellow Mushroom 805 W. King St. (828) 865-1515 After a year away, Boone’s Mellow Mushroom has reopened, now on King Street. Apart from tantalizingly tasty pizza, the new ’shroom also boasts a full-service bar and beer club. Murphy’s Restaurant & Pub 747 W. King St.


(828) 264-5117 A hub in the downtown music scene, Murphy’s offers live performances throughout the week and weekend, as well as an open mike night on Wednesdays. In the meantime, there’s enough pool, darts and shuffleboard to go around. Paolucci’s Italian Bar & Grill 783 W. King St. (Marketplace at King Street) (828) 268-7525 After serving homemade Italian fare in the daytime, Paolucci’s Italian Bar & Grill offers a full bar and late-night menu during the nighttime. Parthenon Café 455 Blowing Rock Road (828) 263-0900 With ‘Once a Week, Go Greek’ as its informal slogan, it shouldn’t surprise you that this bar can be frat heavy. When the sun comes out and class lets out, this is where party-ready college students come to unwind and be seen. The kitchen closes at 10 p.m., so come early if you’re planning to eat. Primo’s 1180 Blowing Rock Road (Boone Mall) (828) 355-9800

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Along with homemade pizza, pasta and all foods Italiano, Primo’s at Boone Mall also serves live music on weekends. The Town Tavern 208-A Faculty St. (828) 264-2226 Packed with a full bar, seven flat-screen televisions, high-quality munchies and beaucoups of specials, the newly opened Town Tavern is on its way to becoming one of Boone’s popular hangouts.

Blowing Rock Canyons of the Blue Ridge 8960 Valley Blvd. (828) 295-7661 Known for having one of the most outstanding views of the Blue Ridge Mountains from its spacious deck, Canyons is also known for a good live show. There’s also karaoke. Check for a schedule and more information. Foggy Rock Eatery & Pub 8180 Valley Blvd. (828) 295-8084 One of Blowing Rock’s newest eateries, Foggy Rock was founded by the founder of Boone’s popular Café Portofino, meaning a unique (try a mojito chicken sandwich) and decidedly delicious meals (like a trio of trout) accompanied by a full bar. Glidewells 1182 Main St. (828) 295-9683 One of Blowing Rock’s newest restaurants, Glidewells offers a late-night menu to accompany the many varieties of drinks offered at its well-stocked bar. Green Park Inn 9239 Valley Blvd. (828) 295-4258 The iconic Green Park Inn may have its rich share of history, but it also has a well-stocked and popular bar. Meadowbrook Inn 711 Main St. (828) 295-4300 The inn comes equipped with a comfortable bar and lounge, along with monthly music courtesy of the Blowing Rock Jazz Society.

The Mantras perform at Murphy’s Restaurant & Pub, another popular music venue in Boone. Photo by Frank Ruggiero

Six Pence Pub 1121 Main St. (828) 295-3155 Drink the Queen’s health at the Six Pence Pub, a British-themed bar with an extensive beverage list and late-night menu. Twigs Restaurant & Bar 7956 U.S. 321 (828) 295-5050 A favorite of locals and visitors, Twigs offers fine dining in the evening and a relaxed, intimate bar at night, with live music to boot. Check www.twigsbr. com for a schedule and more information. Woodlands Barbecue & Pickin’ Parlor 8304 Valley Blvd. (828) 295-3651 Though Woodlands is home to some of the High Country’s most popular barbecue, plenty of local musicians practically reside there, offering live music on a nightly basis.

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

Cardinal Lanes 787 U.S. 221 Bus. (336) 846-7077 Knock down a few pins while knocking back a few beers at the High Country’s only full-service bowling alley.

Banner Elk Bayou Smokehouse & Grill 130 Main St. East (828) 898-8952 It’s not only the drinks that come with a bite at the Bayou Smokehouse, but also the down-home Cajun cuisine, including alligator tail. Nick’s Restaurant & Pub 4501 Tynecastle Highway (828) 898-9613 Located just off N.C. 105, Nick’s offers food, spirits and a rollicking karaoke night. Zuzda Tapas 502 Main St. West (828) 898-4166 With its menu of nearly 100 items, Zuzda Tapas Bar can practically offer diners a different experience with each visit. The same can be said for its fully stocked bar.

The Mountain Times Autumn Guide



T h e H i g h C o u n t r y ’s


By Ashley Wilson


rt buyers and enthusiasts will find that the High Country’s art galleries have much to offer. Home to almost countless venues that host a variety of styles and mediums, there’s a gallery for just about every artistic disposition.

Something for Everyone ArtWalk, Boone’s largest arts emporium, may have the most eclectic mix of art in the High Country. Earrings made from guitar picks, picture frames constructed from twigs and junkyard materials transformed into animals liven up a downtown hotspot that also features paintings, photography and pottery. Three floors of space are covered with the works of local and regional artists. ArtWalk is located at 611 W. King Street in Boone. Hours are 10 a.m to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Shopping is available around the clock at ArtWalk’s website. For more information, call (828) 264-9998 or visit

Fine Art Carlton Gallery in Banner Elk is one of the largest fine galleries of the area, featuring more than 300 artisans. For more than 25 years, Toni Carlton has selected aesthetically pleasing pieces, ranging from traditional to contemporary. Showcased in a casually elegant atmosphere, visitors will find blown glass, wind sculptures, jewelry and paintings, among other attractive pieces. Carlton Gallery is located at 10360 N.C. 105 South in the Grandfather Mountain community, 10 miles south of Boone and 7 miles north of Linville. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday. For more information, call (828) 963-4288 or visit

International Flavor Open Door Global Gifts brings arts the world round to the High Country’s doorstep. Handcrafted items from Africa, the Philippines, Thailand and Indonesia include grass necklaces, woven bowls, rice dresses and elephant

‘Autumn Pathway on the Blue Ridge’ by Edigio Antonaccio, whose artwork is on display at Carlton Gallery in Banner Elk. ArtWalk in Boone is home to painting, sculpture, crafts and photography, such as this shot by Bruce Cole.

dung stationary. Open Door prides itself as a fair trade business, paying fair prices to the producers of the art. Open Door Global Gifts is located at 703 W. King St. in downtown Boone. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday. For more information, call (828) 355-9755.

Pottery Doe Ridge Pottery is the High Country’s premier local pottery dealer. Bob Meier opened the gallery and store in 1988 and remains a resident potter with 14 other artisans. With a freshly designed showroom and new displays, Doe Ridge’s collection of fine pottery includes functional, specialty and home decor pieces. Doe Ridge Pottery is located at 585-D W. King St. in Boone. Hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Sunday. For more information, call (828) 264-1127 or visit

Learning Appalachian State University’s Turchin Center for the Visual Arts, the largest educational arts facility in the region, presents exhibitions, workshops and visual arts activities. With a focus on new and historically important artwork, the Turchin Center displays nationally and internationally renowned artists, as well as regional

artists. The Turchin Center for the Visual Arts is located at 423 W. King St. in Boone. Hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. Friday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday. For more information, call (828) 262-3170 or visit

Other Galleries Banner Elk Art Cellar 920 Shawneehaw Ave. (828) 898-5175 Clark Gallery 393 Shawneehaw Ave. (828) 898-2095

Blowing Rock Art & Artifacts 159 Sunset Dr. (828) 414-9402

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Blowing Rock Frameworks & Gallery 7935 Valley Blvd. (828) 295-0041 Morning Star Gallery 257 Sunset Dr. (828) 295-6991 Rock Galleries of Fine Art 1153 Main St. (828) 295-9752 blowingrock

Boone Hands Gallery 543 W. King St. (828) 262-1970 Jones House Community Center 604 W. King St. (828) 262-4576 The Nth Degree Gallery 683 W. King St. Open for First Friday Art Crawls

Linville Avery Arts Council Gallery 77 Ruffin St. (828) 733-0054 87 Ruffin Street Gallery 87 Ruffin St. (828) 733-6449

Crossnore Crossnore Fine Arts Gallery The Crossnore School 205 Johnson Lane 828) 733-3144

Valle Crucis Alta Vista 2839 Broadstone Rd. (828) 963-5247

Autumn scenes by Joan Sporn are showcased at Alta Vista Gallery in Valle Crucis.

West Jefferson Ashe Arts Center Gallery 303 School Ave. (336) 846-2787 Acorn Gallery 103 Long Street (336) 246-3388 Bohemia 106 N. Jefferson Ave. (336) 846-1498

Broomfields Gallery 414 E. 2nd St. (336) 846-4141 Ripples Gallery 101 N. Jefferson Ave. (336) 246-2607 R.T. Morgan Art Gallery and Glass by Camille 120 N. Jefferson Ave. (336) 246-3328 The Artists’ Theatre 8 E. Main St. (336) 846-3355 Ashe Custom Framing & Gallery 105 S. Jefferson Ave. (336) 846-2218 Originals Only 3-B N. Jefferson Ave. (336) 846-1636


The Mountain Times Autumn Guide


The Mountain Times Autumn Guide



Crawling with

Art Art crawls abound in the High Country

By Lauren K. Ohnesorge & Heather Canter

DOWNTOWN Boone Art Crawl The Downtown Boone Art Crawl brings food, music and culture to King Street this fall. Held on the first Friday of every month, the art crawl is downtown’s chance to show off its greatest asset: Culture. With wine, hearty appetizers and music fueling your trek, you’ll experience firsthand the kismet that happens when local art and local business collide. Look for art crawl flags at area businesses, businesses like Art of Oil, Hands Gallery and Howard Street Antiques. With a run of eclectic galleries and studios downtown (not to mention Appalachian State University’s Turchin Center for the Visual Arts), it’s no surprise that tourists from all over hit Boone for an aesthetic overdose. After all, there’s just something about the High Country that does more than attract tourists. It attracts artists, and, on the first Friday of every month, downtown unites to celebrate. You’ll see retail businesses showcasing handcrafted jewelry and local paintings, restaurants celebrating with bar specials and music and galleries like the Jones House showing off the area’s finest. To crawl, check out businesses on King Street, Depot Street and Howard Street. The Downtown Boone Art Crawl lasts from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m., though shops typically close at 7:30 p.m. The monthly event is sponsored by the Downtown Boone Development Association Public Art Program For a list, visit or visit

The Downtown Boone Art Crawl, held the first Friday of every month, brings art and live music to the streets of Boone. Photo by Frank Ruggiero

Avery Tour de Art Avery County has its own trek. Entitled “Tour de Art,” it’s an opportunity for area residents and visitors to Continued on Page 81

Stephen Shoemaker, right, greets visitors to his studio during Gallery Crawl. File photo


Crawling with Art Continued From Page 80

check out art by local residents. The tour takes participants along and around the byways of Avery and western Watauga counties. You’ll get to visit studios and galleries where the Avery environment inspires its artists. The event happens every fourth Saturday through October. For more information, contact Caitlin Morehouse at the Avery Arts Council at (828) 733-0054.

West Jefferson Gallery Crawl The Friday night Gallery Crawl in downtown West Jefferson is the place to be for cool weather, friendly people and an abundance of artistic talent. The Ashe County Arts Council will again sponsor Gallery Crawl from 5 to 8 p.m. on Sept. 9 and Oct. 14. Crawlers are invited to stroll the streets, visit the galleries, view the downtown murals and take advantage of the downtown restaurants. Fourteen galleries will be open after hours to showcase the latest exciting artwork of talented local and regional

The Mountain Times Autumn Guide artists. The participating galleries include Acorn Gallery, Ashe Arts Center, Ashe Custom Framing and Gallery, Backstreet Beads, BC Photography, Bohemia Gallery, Broomfields Gallery, Originals Only Gallery, Ripples Gallery, RT Morgan Art Gallery, Simply Ashe Gallery, Stephen Shoemaker Studio, The Artists’ Theatre and Tin Roof Gallery and Studio. Some genres of art that are featured in the crawl include photography, paintings, pottery, stained glass, quilts, fiber arts, furniture, toys, jewelry, wood turned art and more. Many artists greet visitors and some even offer demonstrations of their craft. Gallery Crawl is a free event, supported by the West Jefferson Business Association and sponsored by the Ashe County Arts Council. Visit for crawl map and contact information about the galleries. For more information, call (336) 8462787. ‘Three Birds on a Limb’ by Vae Hamilton at Carlton Gallery, a regular stop on the Avery Tour de Art.



The Mountain Times Autumn Guide

Arts Councils


in the High Country

By Ashley Wilson


ich in traditions that span the gamut from music to crafts, the High Country is home to a vibrant arts community. Storytellers who carry on the tales of years past, musicians who play instruments crafted by their ancestors and artists who create mesmerizing representations of mountain landscape are all patches in the quilt representing the culture of this section of the Appalachian Mountains. Arts councils in the High Country work diligently to preserve and promote the artistry of the past, while also inspiring the creativity that keeps the area a much sought-after arts destination. By providing support to artists, educating youth and enriching the community, arts councils are an invaluable High Country asset. Programs, gallery exhibitions, festivals and performances fill art council schedules this fall, supplying many opportunities to maintain and grow the arts community of the High Country.

The Avery Arts Council houses a gallery that showcases area artwork, including the photography of John Weber. Photo submitted

In 2001, Stephan Shoemaker’s ‘Cut at Devil Stairs’ was completed on the Dollar Tire Building in West Jefferson. The mural, one of many in downtown West Jefferson, was funded, in part, by the Ashe Arts Council. Photo submitted

Ashe Arts Council The Ashe County Arts Council originated in 1977 as one of the first small, rural arts councils in the state. Through steady, sustained growth over the years, the arts council has maintained its mission of enriching the culture of the region. The Ashe Arts Council is a leader in using the arts as a vehicle for downtown revitalization, economic development, beautification, education and as an enhancement to the quality of life. Council offerings include tours of

public art and barn quilts, concerts, art competitions and programs like Arts in Education and Junior Appalachian Musicians. The following are some of the fall arts activities and events:

Art on display at Ashe Arts Center Trees: Exhibit centered on the theme of trees, wood and paper, “Trees” features paintings, photography, sculpture and craft. Runs Sept. 7-Oct. 8. An opening reception will be held in conjunction with the gallery crawl on Sept. 9. Art on the Mountain: Juried arts and crafts show on Sept. 24, 9 a.m.–2 p.m.  Best of the Blue Ridge Exhibit: Best of the Blue Ridge is an annual juried exhibition of paintings by artists in Ashe, Alleghany, Wilkes, Watauga, Johnson and Grayson counties. Opening reception and awards presentation is Oct.14, 5-8 p.m.  Tree Fest: An annual exhibit of thematically decorated Christmas Trees. Opens Nov. 21.

Live performances An eclectic array of performances will be offered at both the Ashe Arts Center and the Ashe Civic Center with theater, bluegrass music, chamber music, comedy and other offerings. Tickets are available one month in advance of performances. All programs begin at 7:30 p.m. unless otherwise noted. • • •

• • •

Sept. 10 – Tickling the Ivories Concert, Ashe Civic Center Sept. 24 – Bill Leslie in Concert, Ashe Arts Center Sept. 30–Oct. 2 - Ashe County Little Theatre’s production of “A Streetcar Named Desire,” Ashe Civic Center Oct. 8 – Snyder Family Band, Ashe Civic Center Oct. 22 – Blue Ridge Chamber Players Concert, Ashe Arts Center Oct. 29 – Missoula Children’s Theatre production of “The Tortoise and the Hare,” Ashe Civic Center. Show times are 3 and 7:30 p.m. Nov. 5 – Adam Growe Comedy Show, Ashe Civic Center

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Nov. 19 – Coffee House Live! variety entertainment show at Hensley Hall in West Jefferson

On The Same Page Literary Festival The fourth annual festival celebrates reading, writing and literacy in Ashe County. Runs Sept. 14-17 with eight authors and 24 events, including author readings, question and answer sessions, discussion groups, film showing, a community read, lunch with an author, panel discussions and an awards ceremony for the writers’ competition. For more information on the Ashe Arts Council, call (336) 846-ARTS or visit

Avery Arts Council

The Avery Arts Council was founded in May 1977 by a group of educators to provide funding and support to arts and cultural programs. A nonprofit organization, the Avery Arts Council has been recognized by the state of North Carolina as the designated county partner responsible for administering funds awarded by the N.C. Arts Council. For more than 30 years, the council has helped provide arts enrichment programs to county schools and has presented art exhibitions and programs to locals and visitors. Activities this fall include barn quilt tours, a Halloween Trunk or Treat, and several art exhibitions.

The Watauga Arts Council is based in the historic Jones House Community Center in downtown Boone. Photo by Frank Ruggiero

Art on Display through the Avery Arts Council Linville Gallery at Avery Arts Council September: “The Stone Speaks,” a collaboration between Cindy Michaud and Faye Picardi, featuring mixed media and poetry October: Collaborative mixed media of Barbara Timberman and Amy Cooke November: Oils by Jessie Schmidtt T. Alan Dickson Gallery at Cannon Memorial Hospital September: Pastel landscapes of Craig Franz and Gaylene Petcu October: Life Care Center of Banner Elk group show November: Benefit exhibition for Avery County Humane Society For more information on the Avery Arts Council, call (828) 733-0054 or visit www.averycountyartscouncil. org.

Watauga Arts Council The Watauga Arts Council was founded in 1981 in an effort to improve the presence of art in Watauga County. Housed in the Jones House Community Center in downtown Boone, it is a diverse and growing organization heavily involved in economic development and cultural tourism planning in the community. The arts council’s mission is to sponsor and encourage the

cultural arts, with an emphasis on arts in education and the traditional arts. Programming this fall includes the Watauga Quilts Trail, Arts in Education and Junior Appalachian Musicians. The Jones House will feature Thursday night jams from 7:30 to 11 p.m. From those with little music experience to veteran pickers, everyone is invited to come out and entertain or be entertained. Art exhibitions at the Jones House open on the first Friday of every month, with receptions from 6:30 to 8 p.m.

Art on Display at the Jones House Open Door Gallery September: pottery and paintings from Tara Belk October: books and book-making display from Sharon Sharp Mazie Jones Gallery September: colored pencil from Robert Stephens October: Juried Art Show Serendipity Gallery September-November: Art from the Lois E. Harrill Senior Center and Western Watauga Community Center For more information on the Watauga Arts Council, call (828) 264-1789 or visit

Ashe Arts Council 303 School Ave. West Jefferson, N.C. 28694 (336) 846-2787 Avery Arts Council 77 Ruffin Street Linville, N.C. 28646 Watauga Arts Council 604 W. King St. Boone, N.C. 28607 (828) 264-1789


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The Mountain Times Autumn Guide



The Mountain Times Autumn Guide


An artist’s rendering depicts the Blowing Rock Art & History Museum, opening Oct. 1 in Blowing Rock.

A New Jewel for the

Image submitted

Crown of the Blue Ridge Blowing Rock Art and History Museum to open Oct. 1 By Jeff Eason


f Blowing Rock is the “Crown of the Blue Ridge,” as some say, that tiara is about to get a new crown jewel. The Blowing Rock Art and History Museum will celebrate its grand opening in downtown Blowing Rock on Saturday, Oct. 1, bringing a new cultural focus to a town with a rich legacy of art and history. The new BRAHM building will display from its permanent collection, along with rotating exhibits that will fulfill its mission to promote the visual arts, history and heritage of the mountains. The new facility will allow BRAHM to expand its schedule of art and cultural events, educational programs and travel opportunities. As it grows, the museum will continue to work with local cultural and historic organizations, such as the Blowing Rock Historical Society to enhance Blowing Rock as a culturally attractive town. Opening exhibits for the new museum include “Elliott Daingerfield: Art and Life in North Carolina,” “The Blowing Rock: A Natural Draw” and “The Historic Hotels of Blowing Rock.” The three exhibits are being presented under the umbrella banner of “What Draws

You Here.” Elliott Daingerfield (1859-1932) was raised in Fayetteville, N.C. and spent many summers in Blowing Rock. Heavily influenced by the European Symbolist Movement, Daingerfield was one of North Carolina’s most prolific and popular artists. BRAHM’s new exhibit will feature dozens of Daingerfield paintings, as well as personal items that belonged to the artist. “The Historic Hotels of Blowing Rock” is an exhibit

that will look back to an era when visitors clamored to Blowing Rock each summer to stay at places, such as the recently reopened Green Park Inn, and mainstays of the past, such as Mayview Manor and the Watauga Hotel. BRAHM will hold a number of pre-grand opening events at the museum. BRAHM will host a North Carolina Pig Roast on Saturday, Sept. 24, from 5 to 8 p.m. The event will feature food, fun, live bluegrass music and a chance for an early peek into the new museum. The event is $50 per person. On Sunday, Sept. 25, the public is invited to BRAHM’s Community and Family Day. From 2 to 5 p.m. the entire family will enjoy food, festivities and look into the new museum, including the education center, a facility that will be used for a number of events, including art classes for children. The event is free and open to the public. Once open, the new museum will also feature six galleries, a meeting room, kitchen, gift shop, office spaces, lobby and double decker parking deck in the back. The museum will also be home to the Blowing Rock Tourism Development Authority. For more information, call BRAHM at (828) 2959099 or visit


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Take a walk, pooch in tow By Lauren K. Ohnesorge


ou aren’t the only one dazzled by the fall leaves. The autumn High Country can serve as a playground for that furry friend you just can’t leave home without. Big or small, your canine can find him or herself racing up a rocky crag, splashing in a creek or even leaf peeping beside you on a quiet Blue Ridge Parkway afternoon. “We have a lot of dog lovers in this area,” Blue Ridge Parkway ranger Tina White said. “And they love our trails.” With the red, orange and yellow hues, neither of you will be able to stay away. Dogs are encouraged on parkway trails, as long as they’re on a leash. Be sure to bring plenty of water, and watch your furry friend to make sure he or she doesn’t sample poisonous mushrooms, plants or get into trouble with snakes.

Valle Crucis Community Park is a particularly pet-friendly spot in the High Country. Photo by Frank Ruggiero

The Boone Greenway Complete with creeks, greenery and pretty views, the most popular place to walk your pooch is the Boone

Greenway. Expect paved trails with river access points in case your dog wants to take a quick dip. Close to 5 miles of Greenway means plenty of places for a stroll.

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Just be sure to take advantage of the dog litter stations and obey the leash law. Softball fields do not allow dogs, but you and your canine can sit by the fence and watch Watauga County kids run the bases. Want a shorter trek? Check out Clawson-Burnley Park on Hunting Hills Lane, next to the Deerfield Road greenway access. The short loop is full of pretty views, from the marsh to the trees. With plenty of benches, it’s a great place for napping, people-watching and (a favorite pastime of many dogs) squirrel-gazing.

The old Watauga High School property Located off N.C. 105 and High School Drive, the old track is a favorite of locals. While the county contemplates offers on the property, Boone residents and their pets frequent the area. Don’t be surprised to see a few neighbors walking the track.

Rocky Knob Park Boone’s new 185-acre locale serves as a favorite spot for area mountain bikers. While the trail hosts beautiful scenery and lush fall foliage, it also hosts enthusiastic cyclists. Keep an eye out for wheels. The trails are perfect for well-behaved dogs. The park is located on U.S. 421 just east of Boone city limits, seven-tenths of a mile south of the Marathon Gas Station on Bamboo Road.

Grandfather Mountain State Park With 11 trails of varying difficulties, Grandfather Mountain is the perfect place for both the experienced and inexperienced trail dog. Just bring plenty of water. Home to 16 distinct natural communities or ecosystems and 73 rare or endangered species, it’s the perfect place for nature watching. Trailheads are located off-mountain on U.S. 221 or N.C. 105, and a trail map will be supplied when you register for a free permit.

Elk Knob State Park At 5,500 feet, Elk Knob State Park is the perfect hike for a stamina-heavy dog. Bring plenty of water. With views of Long Hope Valley, an Elk Knob hike isn’t complete without a camera. The summit hike is along an old logging road and steeper than you might anticipate. But, once you reach the top, the views and photo ops are worth the trek. Expect to see Mount Jefferson, Grandfather Mountain and Mount Mitchell from the summit. Elk Knob State Park is located off N.C. 194 on Meat Camp Road. Make sure to bring a 6-foot leash. Rangers tell us the leash isn’t just about containing your pet. It’s also about protecting endangered plants. Round trip, expect a 3.6-mile trek, but it’s a tough one. Bring plenty of water for you and your furry friend.

New River, Todd If river watching’s your game, take a trek down Big Hill Road in Todd. Here, you’ll see kayaks, canoes and inner-tubes full of people enjoying the sunshine and fall leaves. Try a picnic at Cook Memorial Park across from

The Watauga Humane Society’s dog park in Boone offers pups a tail-wagging good time on 3.5 acres of fenced-in land. File photo

the Todd General Store on Railroad Grade Road.

Valle Crucis Community Park This super-family friendly park has picnic shelters, playground equipment and the perfect walking trail for your pet. There’s even a fishpond. Leash laws are enforced here. The park is located behind the Mast General Store at 3657 N.C. 194.

Moses Cone Memorial Park Twenty-five miles of carriage trails make Moses Cone Memorial Park ideal for canine and company. Think mountain views and the sparkling blue of Bass Lake. Try the Craftsman’s Trail, a 20-minute loop walk around the Manor where the Cones themselves walked every morning. Check it out at milepost 294 on the Blue Ridge Parkway and keep driving. The parkway has plenty of trails (Julian Price Park is another favorite).

Downtown Boone Take a trek down King Street and get a double dose of downtown culture. Think quaint window-shopping with the occasional artistic masterpiece. Be sure to check out the Doc Watson statue on the corner of King and Depot streets. Downtown loves dogs. Just ask the Mast General Store (630 W. King St.), which is actually dog-friendly, and look for the water container outside of M-Prints (713 W. King St.). And dogs make great lunch dates at Melanie’s Food Fantasy (664 W. King St.), as long as they are tied to the outside of the gate. Enjoy food on the patio with your dog a few feet away. Additionally, the patio of Café Portofino (970 Rivers St.) is dog-friendly. Just bring a leash and enjoy the sunshine.

Downtown Blowing Rock Main Street is the perfect place to show off your pooch. Take a detour to Barking Rock (1179 Main St., No. 104) for a treat on the go. While Memorial Park downtown isn’t dog-friendly, the benches at the front of the park on Main Street allow dogs, as does Broyhill Park and Davant Field, all within easy walking distance of your favorite window-

There are plenty of places to get your dog that much-needed exercise. Patch here prefers her own yard, but loves a walk in a local park. photo by rob moore

shopping. Remember to leash your pet!

Howard’s Knob County Park At 4,406 feet, expect a view. From the top, you’ll see downtown Boone and beyond. It’s where photographers get the best shots of Kidd Brewer Stadium. From King Street, turn north onto Grand Boulevard, then left on Bear Trail, then left on Eastview Drive/East Junaluska Road. From there, you’ll go up a steep road, and then turn right onto Howard’s Knob Road.

Watauga Humane Society Dog Park Feel like ripping off that leash? The Watauga Humane Society’s dog park is the place to go. The dog park is located along Don Hayes Road between Rutherwood Baptist Church and the Boone Stockyard and consists of 3.5 acres of fenced land. A small dog-section is perfect for the shy Yorkie. To play in the park, you have to be a member. Visit for more information.

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Back in the Saddle Horse lovers have plenty of places to ride in the High Country

By Jeff Eason


hat better way to enjoy a crisp fall day in the mountain than from the saddle of a horse? Visiting horse lovers will find plenty of other equine enthusiasts to share a trail with while viewing our gorgeous autumn scenery. You can find information about horseback riding in the High Country at Appalachian by Horseback (828297-1289), Dutch Creek Trails (828-297-7117), River Run Farm (828-963-9204) and the Yonahlossee Saddle Club (828-387-0390).

Cone Park Carriage Trails One of the most popular destinations in the High Country for horse lovers is the Moses Cone Estate in Blowing Rock. Operated by the Blue Ridge Parkway and the National Park Service, the 3,516-acre estate grounds are home to the Cone Park Carriage Trails. Moses “the Denim King” and Bertha Cone were naturalists before the term became popular, and the couple’s estate contains some of the most breathtaking flora and fauna in the country. Combine that with the 25 miles of carriage roads available at the estate, and you have a full day of horseback riding adventure. For more information on the Cone Park Carriage Trails, call the National Park Service information desk at the Cone Manor at (828) 295-3782. The estate is located at Blue Ridge Parkway Milepost 295.

4-H Charity Horse Show Watauga County 4-H will host the Blue Ridge Open Charity Horse Show on Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 24 and 25, at the Blowing Rock Equestrian Preserve. The show will feature a varied class list for all ages. Day one will include halter, western non-trotting, and fun and games. Day two will include English, hunters, jumpers and dressage suitability. The start time is 9:30 a.m. on Saturday and 8:30 a.m. on Sunday. For more information, call (828) 264-3061, or visit www.

Dutch Creek Trails The trail rides, which are open year-round for everyone ages 6 and older, cost $50 each and last just more than an hour. There are both wooded trails and fields on the trail, and scenery abounds. Dutch Creek Trails takes cash and check, and rides step off at 10 a.m., noon, 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. in the summertime, and 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. in the winter. The trails are closed Sundays. To call ahead for reservations, call (828) 297-7117. Dutch Creek Trails is located at 793 Rubin Walker Road in Vilas, near Boone. Visit for

FILE photo

more information.

Leatherwood Mountains Leatherwood Mountains promises a horse-lover’s paradise, featuring full-service boarding accommodations for horseback riding trips and miles on miles of trails for riders of all skills, ranging from wide forest paths to rugged mountain passages. Facilities include 75 stalls, show arena and a round pen. Leatherwood also offers horseback riding lessons (reservations are a must), as well as horseback riding birthday parties. Leatherwood Mountains is located at 512 Meadow Road in Ferguson, just a short drive from Boone. For more information, call (336) 973-5044 or visit www.

The Saddle Club at Yonahlossee The Saddle Club at Yonahlossee offers a full-service, year-round equestrian facility in Boone. The club specializes in boarding, training, lessons and sales, while treating members and visitors to use of its large indoor arena, outdoor arena, cross-country course and miles of scenic trails that showcase the area’s natural beauty, including views of Grandfather Mountain and Sugar Mountain. Yonahlossee caters to riders of all experience levels, from the simple enthusiast to the accomplished rider. The Saddle Club at Yonahlossee is located at 223 Pine Hill Road. For more information, call (828) 387-0390 or visit

Banner Elk Stables Banner Elk Stables promises year-round horseback riding for the entire family. Tours follow a high-mountain trail through the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains, offering scenic vistas of

When it comes to horseback riding in the mountains, the High Country is hot to trot. photo by rob moore

Beech Mountain. With a sizable stable of horses to match anyone’s riding ability, Banner Elk Stables also boasts a connection to Hollywood, with some of its horses having appeared in feature films like “Cinderella” and “National Treasure.” Banner Elk Stables is located at 796 Shomaker Road in Banner Elk. For more information, call (828) 8985424 or visit

Burnt Hill Stables Nestled in Laurel Springs in Ashe County, Burnt Hill Stables offers miles of trails that explore the Blue Ridge Mountains and their abundant scenery, all from atop horses ideal for any skills levels. Still apprehensive? Neigh! Burnt Hill also offers riding lessons. Carriage weddings and horse boarding are also available. Burnt Hill Stables is located at 1102 Burnt Hill Road in Laurel Springs. For more information, call (336) 9822008 or visit


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The Mountain Times Autumn Guide




The Mountain Times Autumn Guide


Farmers’ markets keep it fresh through fall By Sherrie Norris


ith ever-increasing concerns over food production and safety, local farmers continue to do their best to put our apprehensions to rest by connecting consumers with their products at local in-season venues. Most farmers’ markets open in early May and continue through October, with special holiday markets in November and December, weather permitting. This year, numerous markets have produced an abundance of garden goods in nearly every corner of the High Country. While the summer season has now passed, there are still ample opportunities to purchase those luscious late-season specialties. According to the Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project, buying locally allows us to: • • • • • •

Eat fresher, better tasting, and healthier food Help your farming neighbors stay in business Sustain our rural heritage Protect the natural beauty of the mountains by preserving farmland Encourage sustainable, environmentally-friendly agricultural practices Strengthen the local economy.

The Watauga Farmers’ Market runs Saturday mornings through October in Boone. Photo by Lauren K. Ohnesorge

And, that’s just the beginning. Visit for related information.

Local Farmers’ Markets Watauga County Farmers’ Market Saturdays, morning till noon, through October

photo submitted

591 Horn in the West Drive, Boone Wednesday mornings through September at K-Mart parking lot.

Ashe County Farmers’ Market Saturdays, 8 a.m. to 1p.m., through October Wednesdays, 1 to 5 p.m., through Oct. 1 Holiday market times to be announced. 108 Backstreet, West Jefferson

Avery County Farmers’ Market Saturdays, 8 a.m. to noon, through October Newland Elementary School Parking Lot N.C. 181 Newland

Banner Elk Farmers’ Market Thursdays, 5 to 7 p.m. (seasonal) Tate Lawn, Lees McRae College campus in Banner Elk

Blowing Rock Farmers’ Market Thursdays, 4 to 6 p.m., through Oct. 20 (subject to change), rain or shine.

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Wallingford St., behind the Main Street Park.

Blue Ridge Farmers’ Market Mondays and Thursdays, 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Lunch served 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. (using local foods) Ashe Family Central, 626 Ashe Central School Road in Jefferson

High Country Farmers’ Market Sundays, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. 178 W. King St., Earth Fare parking lot Boone

The Watauga County Farmers Market offers the following market- going tips to help vendors, as well as visitors: • • • •

Bring small bills so that making change is easier for sellers. Checks are generally accepted; most vendors are not set up to take credit cards. Many shoppers bring large bags or baskets to consolidate their purchases. Most vendors are happy to recycle or reuse: Egg

The Banner Elk Farmers’ Market is seasonally open on Thursdays. File photo Farmers’ markets not only offer fresh fruits and veggies, but also social opportunities to make new friends, young and old. Photo by Lauren K. Ohnesorge

cartons, flowerpots, berry baskets and bags. Please do not bring pets into the market area. Service animals are welcome.


Bring a picnic. Desserts, fruits, vegetables, cheeses, bread and coffee are usually sold at the market.


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327 Main Street, Jefferson • 336-846-1044



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The Mountain Times Autumn Guide




The Mountain Times Autumn Guide



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The Mountain Times Autumn Guide


High Country is Wine Country By Frank Ruggiero


s vintner Dick Wolfe will tell you, “The High Country is wine country.” Wolfe is vintner and co-owner of the award-winning Banner Elk Winery in Banner Elk, one of many area vineyards that, like their grapes, have thrived in the higher elevations, despite a certain amount of naysaying. About a decade ago, people scoffed at the idea of viably growing grapes in the mountains, but the experts sought out to prove them wrong. In other words, they could put a cork in it.

Grandfather Vineyard & Winery The High Country’s newest winery, Grandfather Vineyard & Winery isn’t just a clever name. Owner Steve Tatum’s 1,500 grape plants sit on three acres facing a picturesque view of Grandfather Mountain, a welcome perk for the winery’s many visitors. “It really has kind of overwhelmed us,” said Tatum, who only opened the winery in May. “We had people sitting at the gate when we opened this morning. It’s pretty amazing.” But then again, so is the wine. Grandfather just released its signature Profile Red,

which is a blend of eight different varieties grown on site, the largest percentage of which is cabernet franc. Presently, Grandfather features nine wines, including an ice wine. Tatum described the unique variety. “The grapes are actually frozen on the vine,” he said. “Most of the grape is water, which gets frozen and thrown out, leaving us with the essence of the grape. We have to wait until late in the year to pick it, usually the end of November or into December, and it has to be 16 degrees or less.” And it’s also very limited. The ice wine’s running out fast, as is the winery’s Terraced Gold, a chardonnay and pinot grigio blend. Other popular varieties include Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, Rosé of Pinot Noir, Pinot Noir and the Big Boulder Red. Visitors can enjoy a wine-tasting flight of eight wines for $6, while also enjoying light snacks. Folks are welcome to bring a picnic, and there’s also croquet, cornhole and bocce to keep the younger ones occupied. “A lot of times, people will just let their kids play, while they sit here and sip wine on the porch or by the river,” Tatum said. Grandfather Vineyard & Winery is located at 225 Vineyard Lane in Banner Elk. Hours are noon to 6 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, and 1 to 5 p.m. on Sunday.

Vintner Dick Wolfe tends to the vines at Banner Elk Winery.

For more information, call (828) 963-2400 or visit

Banner Elk Winery It’s been another banner year for Banner Elk Winery, having won six medals out of eight submissions for last year’s N.C. State Fair wine competition. That brings its award total to nearly 40. Banner Elk Winery offers six wines – Banner Elk Red, Cabernet Sauvignon, Marechel Foch, High Country Rosé, Banner Elk White and Seyval Blanc – along with

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some specialty wines, including blueberry and ice wine. “People are coming to our winery, and they’re starting to recognize our label,” Wolfe said. “We’re selling a lot of wine, more in July than we did last year.” It’s only natural, considering Banner Elk Winery is preparing to go statewide with its distribution. The wines can already be found locally in stores and restaurants. “And really, what’s happening is the grape production up here is increasing,” he said. Banner Elk Winery uses grapes not only grown on site, but also from area farmers. “We’re really encouraging farmers to grow grapes,” Wolfe said, “and now we’ve got Grandfather Vineyard. We’re telling our visitors that there’s now another win-

ery down the road here, so we’re glad to be playing off each other.” Wolfe hopes that there’s more to come, even envisioning a wine tour in the near future. “Then we can draw more people here just to taste the wines of the mountains, because that’s what’s happening,” he said. But in the meantime, Wolfe is happy to welcome visitors to taste the fruits of the local vine in Banner Elk. Banner Elk Winery also has a bed and breakfast and an outdoor amphitheater, ideal for celebrations of all sorts, including weddings. Banner Elk Winery is located at 60 Deer Run Lane in Banner Elk, just off N.C. 194. The winery is open for wine tasting ($6 per flight) and tours from noon to 6 p.m., Tuesday through Sunday. For more information, call (828) 260-1790 or visit www.bannerelkwinery. com.


Grandfather Vineyard & Winery opened in May and has already become a popular destination. Photos by Frank Ruggiero

Area Wineries 1861 Farmhouse 3608 N.C. 194 South Valle Crucis (828) 963-6301

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

New River Winery 165 Piney Creek Rd. Lansing (336) 384-1213

Chateau Laurinda Vineyard 690 Reeves Ridge Road Sparta (800) 650-3236, (336) 372-2562

Woolly worms wiggle into spotlight in Banner Elk


he 34th annual Woolly Worm Festival returns to downtown Banner Elk on Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 15 and 16. The grounds of the historic Banner Elk Elementary School will swell with thousands of people for the weekend, as the festival marks a sure sign that autumn in the High Country has arrived. The brown and black stripes of the woolly worm have been used for many years by mountain residents to predict the severity of the coming winter. The woolly worms are raced on strings during individual heats, and the champion will be used to make the “official” woolly worm forecast on Saturday. Additional races are held for fun and prizes on Sunday. This family event welcomes more than 23,000 people to the community to make family memories and also to win the prestigious title of predicting the High Country weather, not to mention a chance to win the $1,000 top prize. Come early because the fun begins at 9 a.m. on both Saturday and Sunday, with entertainment all day. Bring your dance shoes because you never know when a line dance will begin. Local groups and impromptu guests provide quality music and entertainment during the weekend. Artists, craftsman and food vendors add to the entertainment of the festival. Contestants may bring their own woolly worm, or worms can be purchased onsite to train and race.

Avery County’s popular Woolly Worm Festival wiggles into Banner Elk Oct. 15 and 16. File photos

“Mr. Woolly Worm” Roy Krege serves as host during the event. “It’s a great festival, as it has something for everyone,” Krege said. The 34th annual Woolly Worm Festival is co-sponsored by Banner Elk Kiwanis and the Avery County Chamber of Commerce. Admission is $5 for adults, $2 for children age 5 to 12 and children under age 5 are admitted free.

Mark Your Calendar! What: 34th annual Woolly Worm Festival When: Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 15 and 16 Time: 9 a.m. Where: Historic Banner Elk Elementary School Cost: $5 for adults, $2 for children ages 5 to 12 and free for children younger than 5 years old

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Your Autumn Times Calendar

MAY - OCTOBER MAY 7-OCT. 29 Watauga County (Boone area) Farmers’ Market: Open Saturday mornings from 8 a.m. till noon in the Horn in the West Parking Lot. The Watauga County Farmers Market has been in operation since 1974 and is located at the Horn in the West facility in Boone. The market is a direct link between local farmers and the consumer. A Wednesday market is held in the Kmart parking lot on Blowing Rock Road from 8 till 11 a.m. For more info: MAY 12-OCT. 20 Blowing Rock Farmers Market: Farm fresh produce, meat and whole foods at the Blowing Rock Farmers’ Market located on Wallingford Street. Open every Thursday, 4-6 p.m., rain or shine. Ample parking is available at the American Legion Parking Facility. (828) 295-7851.

SEPTEMBER SEPT. 2 Concerts on the Lawn: The Watauga County Arts Council presents weekly Concerts on the Lawn, featuring local musical aficionados and acts. 5-6 p.m. on the Jones House Lawn, downtown Boone. Call (828) 2641789 for details. Downtown Boone First Friday Art Crawl: 5:30 p.m. until . . . Stroll to galleries along King Street, meet artists, listen to music, and enjoy a meal with friends! Free to the public. Sponsored by the Turchin Center for the Visual Arts. SEPT. 3 Cycle 4 Life Bike Race: Begins at 8 a.m. in Banner Elk. Call (828) 898-8395 for details. Heritage Day: 11 a.m.-4 p.m. 7990 Hickory Nut Gap Road in Banner Elk. Features turn of the century arts and crafts. Artisans will be onsite to give demonstrations of early mountain crafts. Call (828) 898-3634 for more information. Street Dances: 7 p.m. at the Town Hall of Beech Mountain Centennial 100-Mile Fun Ride: Banner Elk. Call Banner Elk Chamber at (828) 898-8395 for details. High Country Beer Fest: 3-7 p.m. at Broyhill Inn & Conference Center, Boone. The High Country Beer Fest is the annual celebration of great craft beer from around the region and the world. Come sample craft beers, club beers, and delicious food in the beautiful high country of North Carolina. Educational seminars will cover all aspects of beer, brewing, and pairing food and beer. All proceeds to benefit local charities and the first non-profit, educational brewpub in the country! Call (800) 951-6048 for details.

Bluff Mountain Hike: 9 a.m.-12 p.m. Location: 962 Mt. Jefferson Rd. in West Jefferson. Bluff Mountain Hike leader Kim Hadley is the volunteer steward for Bluff Mountain Nature Preserve. Call (336) 497-1972 for more information. SEPT. 3-4 Labor Day Weekend Arts & Crafts Show: Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. at the Banner Elk Elementary School Field in the downtown area of Banner Elk, near the intersection of N.C. 184 & N.C. 194. More than 70 booths of artists and crafters from around the country travel in with their handmade work trying their hand for cash awards and ribbons. Admission is free. Call (828) 733-0675 for more information.

SEPT. 10 Kidfest on Grandfather Mountain: 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Guided Woods Walk, the Thicket Game, facepainting, Appalachian storytelling and music, and a Gamelan, and Indonesian-style music ensemble. Other activities include a book reading by representatives from the Watauga County Library, followed by a craft-making session. Read more at htm?article=244. Call (800) 468-7325 for details. 49th annual Art in the Park: This series of juried art and fine handcraft shows has garnered numerous awards through the years and showcases 100 exhibitors at each show. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. at the American Legion Grounds, Blowing Rock. Call (828) 295-7851 for details or check the website at

SEPT. 4 Mountain Home Music Presents: “A Labor Day Celebration” featuring The Mountain Home Bluegrass Boys. A tribute through story and song to those who labor, such as construction workers, clerks, waitresses, truck drivers, railroad men, miners, factory workers and farmers. A blend of country songs, folksongs and old hymns. 8 p.m., location TBA. Call (828) 964-3392 for more information. New River Blues Festival at the River House: 12 p.m. at River House Country Inn & Restaurant in Grassy Creek. Call (336) 982-2109 or check for more information. Ninth annual Mile High Kite Festival: The Beech Mountain Chamber of Commerce hosts its annual Mile High Kite Festival as part of the town’s Labor Day Weekend festivities. The party starts the night before with a street dance outside the Beech Mountain Town Hall. Events continue the following day from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Two kite clubs will demonstrate flying techniques, staff kite clinics and help folks build their own kites. Free kites will be given to the first 150 children under the age of 13. Prizes will be awarded. The event location is beside Brick Oven Pizza in Beech Mountain. Admission is free. Call (800) 468-5506 for details. SEPT. 6-10 19th annual Avery Agricultural and Horticultural Fair: The fair is held at Heritage Park in Newland. Events include rides, petting zoos, car racing, cross cut saw competition, chicken judging, tractor drawing, talent show, music and more. For more information, call (828) 733-8270 or (828) 387-6870. SEPT. 9 Concerts on the Lawn: The Watauga County Arts Council presents weekly Concerts on the Lawn, featuring local musical aficionados and acts. 5-6 p.m. on the Jones House Lawn, downtown Boone. Call (828) 2641789 for details. Downtown West Jefferson Art Crawl: 5-8 p.m. in downtown West Jefferson, Ashe County. Enjoy openings, demonstrations, new artists, and a creative atmosphere. Free to the public.

SEPT. 10-11 Railfan Weekend at Tweetsie Railroad: 9 a.m. Sept. 10 till 6 p.m. Sept. 11. An event for railroad enthusiasts of all ages. Take a journey back in time behind Tweetsie’s historical coal-fired steam locomotives and learn about the historic era of the narrow-gauge East Tennessee & Western North Carolina Railroad. New and improved for 2011! Call (800) 526-5740 for details. SEPT. 11 Concert in the Park: 4-6 p.m. in Memorial Park, Blowing Rock. Take a trip down memory lane with the tribute band The Flying Saucers, featuring oldies and rockabilly. Bring your dancing shoes along with a chair or blanket and enjoy this free concert. Call (828) 295-

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Southeast. The streets of downtown North Wilkesboro are filled with more than 425 arts and crafts vendors, 100 food concessions, four different music stages consisting of bluegrass, country, folk, gospel and Appalachian heritage. Cloggers, folk dancers, rope skippers and square dancers provide additional entertainment venues for festivalgoers. Local apple growers set up throughout the festival selling their apples, apple cider and dried apples. This festival pays tribute to the fruit grown and harvested each fall by apple orchardists from Northwestern North Carolina. APPLE JAM is a musical event held at the corner of 10th and Main in downtown North Wilkesboro the Friday evening preceding the festival. The music starts at 6 p.m. Bring your lawn chair, relax and enjoy the music. Call (336) 984-3022 for details.

7851 for more information. Blowing Rock Jazz Society: 7-9 p.m. at Meadowbrook Inn, Blowing Rock. Ron Brendle Trio, featuring vocalist Dawn Anthony in concert. Call (828) 295-4300 for more information. SEPT. 16 ASU Performing Arts Series Presents: The Time Jumpers featuring Vince Gill, “Ranger Doug” Greene, Dawn & Kenny Sears and Paul Franklin. Call (800) 8412787 or visit for more information. Concerts on the Lawn: The Watauga County Arts Council presents weekly Concerts on the Lawn, featuring local musical aficionados and acts. 5-6 p.m. on the Jones House Lawn, downtown Boone. Call (828) 2641789 for details. Newland Car Show: 6 a.m.-9:30 p.m. Location: Avery Senior Center parking area at 165 Shultz Circle in Newland. Classic cars, trucks and motorcycles roar into Newland for eight Main Street Cruz-in shows. All vehicles are welcome at the shows, and there is not cost to participate. More than 50 hotrods of all makes and models are regularly displayed at each event. Call (828) 733-3558 for more information. SEPT. 17 Farm Heritage Days: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. at Historic Cove Creek High School. Come enjoy an old-time country fair! The Heritage Museum, located at the Cove Creek High School is open during all events. Call (828) 297-2200 for details. Mountain Heritage Festival: Downtown Sparta in Alleghany County. A celebration of mountain life with demonstrations, crafts, food, dance and music! Call (800) 372-5473 for details. 41st annual Girl Scout Day: Grandfather Mountain, Linville. All Girl Scouts and troop leaders are admitted free with proof of membership. Discount admission for other family members. Staff naturalists provide free nature programs throughout the day. Call (800) 468-7325 for details. SEPT. 17-30 Hawk Migrations: Linville Gorge Wilderness. Anticipated the third or fourth week of September, sightings of up to 200 hawks have been seen in the past at the lower end of Linville Gorge Wilderness. There is a new viewing platform at Pinnacle Rocks, just south of the wilderness boundary off the Kistler Memorial Highway, to facilitate viewing of the hawks this fall and for spring viewing of the Peregrine Falcons. Other locations for good viewing are Table Rock and Wiseman’s View. For more information, contact the USDA Forest Service, Grandfather District. Call (828) 652-2144 for details SEPT. 23-25 Bob Timberlake Birthday Celebration: Chetola Resort, Blowing Rock. Celebrate the birthday of Bob Timberlake, internationally acclaimed artist, designer and innovator. Enjoy delicious food, wonderful enter-

tainment, great company and a beautiful setting, while celebrating the birthday of one of North Carolina’s greatest icons. Call (828) 295-5509 for more information. SEPT. 24 Todd TimberTown Day: Begins at 9 a.m. in Todd. Timber was the engine behind the economic boom of Todd’s heyday in the early 20th century. Step back in time for a day to learn and experience life in the community with guided history tours and demonstrations. Call (336) 877-5401 for more information.

OCT. 1-2 Autumn at Oz: Beech Mountain. Walk the Yellow Brick Road and meet your favorite Oz characters, Dorothy, Tin Man, Lion, Scarecrow, Witches and the Wizard. They’re all there. Visit Auntie Em’s farm and hide from the tornado in the basement. Lots of fun, food, music, hay rides, memorabilia and more. Tickets are $16.50 in advance and $20 at the party. Children 2 years and under are admitted free. A limited number of 7,000 tickets will be sold and are available on line. Contact (828) 387-4236 or visit www.townofbeechmountain. com for details.

OCTOBER OCT. 1 Grand Opening of the Blowing Rock Art and History Museum: Located at Main Street and Chestnut in Blowing Rock. The long-awaited opening of Blowing Rock’s very own Art & History Museum. Call (828) 295-9099 for more information. REAPfest: 9 a.m.-1 p.m. at Ashe County Park in Jefferson. This is a community outreach by the United Methodist Churches focusing on child fitness and nutrition with games and activities. 49th annual Art in the Park: This series of juried art and fine handcraft shows has garnered numerous awards through the years and showcases 100 exhibitors at each show. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. at the American Legion Grounds, Blowing Rock. Call (828) 295-7851 for details or check the website at Brushy Mountain Apple Festival: 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Wilkesboro. The Brushy Mountain Apple Festival is one of the largest one-day arts and crafts festivals in the

OCT. 1-31 Ghost Train Halloween Festival: Tweetsie Railroad, Blowing Rock. This festival’s high-energy entertainment has made it the most popular Halloween celebration in the High Country. Admission price includes festival activities, as well as a ride on Tweetsie’s Ghost Train. For more information, contact (800) -5265740 or visit OCT. 2 Concert in the Park: 4-5 p.m. in Memorial Park, Blowing Rock. The traditional end of the Concert in the Park season: The Rhinelanders Oktoberfest Band! En-

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Your Autumn Times Calendar tions, which serve people in need. Free admission. $5 per car parking fee. www. Harvest Celebration: 10 a.m.-4 p.m. United Methodist Women present a Harvest Celebration and Church Bazaar at Jefferson United Methodist Church, 115 E. Main St., Jefferson, NC. Call 336-8469512 for more information.

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joy a fall day in Memorial Park with this rollicking Oktoberfest band, back for its 24th year. Call (828) 295-7851 for more information. OCT. 7 Downtown Boone First Friday Art Crawl: 5:30 p.m. until 2 a.m. Stroll to galleries along King Street, meet artists, listen to music and enjoy a meal with friends! Free to the public. Check www. for more details and participating galleries. Newland Car Show: 6 a.m.-9:30 p.m. Location: Avery Senior Center parking area at 165 Shultz Circle in Newland. Classic cars, trucks and motorcycles roar into Newland for eight Main Street Cruzin shows. All vehicles are welcome at the shows, and there is not cost to participate. More than 50 hotrods of all makes and models are regularly displayed at each event. Call (828) 733-3558 for more information. OCT. 7-8 Fifth annual High Country Music Fest: Johnson Entertainment presents the High Country Music Fest at the Boone Fairgrounds, Roby Greene Road. For more information, visit OCT. 8 18th annual Todd New River Festival: 10 a.m. in Todd. For nearly two decades, Todd Ruritan Club has hosted the Todd New River Festival on the second Saturday in October. Against the backdrop of a mountain autumn leaf show, the festival features food, music and crafters. Mountain Home Music presents: “The Piano Man of the Blue Ridge.” Jeff Little with Steve Lewis & Josh Scott. Jeff Lewis, bluegrass piano player, is joined by National Banjo Champion Steve Lewis and bass player Josh Scott. Location: Blowing Rock School Auditorium. Time TBA. Call (828) 964-3392 for more information. OCT. 8-9 Oktoberfest: Grab your beer stein, put on your lederhosen and head to Sugar Mountain Resort for the 20th annual Oktoberfest celebration. The weekend is packed with activities from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. Admission and park-

ing are free! More than 40 artisans and craftspeople will be offering chair caning, wooden toys, oil paintings, stained glass, handmade furniture, dolls, copper art, ceramics, honey, beeswax candles, bird houses, and much more. Experience Bavarian cuisine, including bratwurst, knackwurst and German potato salad. Enjoy the sounds of Bavaria brought to you by the 15-piece Harbour Towne Fest Band. A children’s activity center will be keep the little ones entertained with hay rides, Airwalk stations, cotton candy, popcorn and more. For additional information, call (828) 898-4521. www. OCT. 14 Downtown West Jefferson Art Crawl: 5-8 p.m. in downtown West Jefferson, Ashe County. Enjoy openings, demonstrations, new artists and a creative atmosphere. Free to the public. Bluff Mountain Hike: 1-4 p.m. Location: 962 Mt. Jefferson Rd. in West Jefferson. Bluff Mountain Hike leader Kim Hadley is the volunteer steward for Bluff Mountain Nature Preserve. Call (336) 497-1972 for more information. OCT. 15 Mountain Home Music Presents: “Banjo Jubilee.” Steve Lewis, Edwin Lacy, & Butch Robbins. Three super banjo pickers will team-up to present Banjo Jubilee showcasing bluegrass style, as well as old-time clawhammer style. Location: Blowing Rock School Auditorium. Time TBA. Call (828) 964-3392 for more information. Valle Country Fair: 9 a.m.-4 p.m. The Valle Country Fair is set in the center of one of the most picturesque valleys in the North Carolina mountains at the peak of the fall color season. All monies raised go to fund High Country organiza-

both old and new friends to the annual Woolly Worm Festival. This family event co-hosted by the Avery County Chamber of Commerce and the Kiwanis Organization of Banner Elk welcomes more than 23,000 people to the community to make family memories and also to win the prestigious title of predicting the High Country weather and the chance to win the $1,000 bounty. Admission is free. Call (828) 898-5605 or go to for more information. OCT. 20 ASU Performing Arts Series Presents: Kansas performing with The Appalachian Symphony Orchestra. Call (800) 841-2787 for more information.

OCT. 15-16 34th annual Woolly Worm Festival: 9 a.m.-5 p.m Saturday, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday. Worm races, crafts, food, rides – fun for the whole family! Each year the town of Banner Elk welcomes

OCT. 21 The Knob: 5:30-7:30 p.m. The Knob is the annual sprint up Howard’s Knob overlooking historic downtown Boone. This race is two miles of pure hill with unparalleled views of the High Country from the top. The Knob is the last race in the Triple Crown Series and culminates with a celebratory awards ceremony. More than $1,000 in cash prizes will

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be given to Triple Crown winners. (828) 262-6116 or, OCT. 22 Mountain Home Music Presents: “Celtic and Classical” featuring the Forget-Me-Nots. The ForgetMe-Nots are three young musicians whose forte is Celtic Music – airs and reels and jogs. They also perform classical music as well as original compositions. Location: Blowing Rock School Auditorium. Time TBA. Call (828) 964-3392 for more information. OCT. 22 Sixth annual Valle Crucis Punkin Festival: 11 a.m.-4 p.m. at Valle Crucis Elementary School at N.C. 194 and Broadstone Road. A kid-friendly festival featuring no-muss, no-fuss punkin carving, old-fashioned games like Punkin Sack Races, Punkin Bowling, and Apple-Bob, crafts, and music. Come out and see why “Punkin” is so much more fun than “Pumpkin.” www.

NOV. 25 Christmas in the Park: Memorial Park, Blowing Rock. See Santa, enjoy hot chocolate and witness the ceremonial Lighting of the Town. Call (828) 295-5222 or go to for more information. NOV. 26 Mountain Home Music Presents: “A Celtic Christmas,” featuring Little Windows and Anne Lough.

Little Windows is a Celtic duo and Anne Lough is a master mountain and hammer dulcimer player. Location: St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, Boone. Time TBA. Call (828) 964-3392 for more information. Christmas Parade in Blowing Rock: Annual holiday celebration on Main Street in Blowing Rock. Call (828) 295-5222 or visit for more information.

OCT. 23 Watauga Community Band Concert: 3-4:30 p.m. Held in Rosen Concert Hall on the ASU Campus. Admission is free, public is welcome. Call (828) 2623020 for more information.

NOVEMBER NOV. 4 Downtown Boone First Friday Art Crawl: 5:30 p.m. until . . . Stroll to galleries along King Street, meet artists, listen to music, and enjoy a meal with friends! Free to the public. For more details and participating galleries, visit NOV. 8 Harlan Boyles Distinguished CEO Lecture: All day event in Farthing Auditorium on the ASU Campus featuring John & Chuck Sykes. Since 1988, this lecture series has attracted more than 50 top business leaders to campus. Admission is free. Open to the public. Call (828) 262-6247 for details. NOV. 13 Blowing Rock Jazz Society: 7-9 p.m. at Meadowbrook Inn in Blowing Rock. Ashlyn Parker in concert. Call (828) 295-4300 for more information. NOV. 18-20 Wedding Show in the Mountains: All you need to plan your destination wedding in the mountains! Located at Meadowbrook Inn in Blowing Rock where you can walk one block to the center of downtown. Call (828) 295-4300 for more information.

The sixth annual Valle Crucis Punkin Festival will be held Oct. 22 at Valle Crucis Elementary School, just off N.C. 194 and Broadstone Road. Family fun with loads of pumpkins awaits. Photo BY ROB MOORE


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Advertising Index The 1861 Farmhouse Restaurant & Winery – 91 4 Seasons Vacation Rentals & Sales – 48 Addison Inn – 61 Alta Vista Gallery – 81 Animal Emergency & Pet Care Clinic – 45 Anna Banana’s – 24 App Urgent Care – 99 Appalachian Performing Arts Series – 85 Appalachian Regional Healthcare System – 73 Appalachian State Mountaineers – 66 Art of Oil – 90 ArtWalk – 24 The Artists Theatre – 48 Ashe Arts Council – 48 Ashe County – 48 Ashe County Chamber of Commerce – 49 Avery Animal Hospital – 45 Banner Elk – 42 Banner Elk Winery & Villa – 93 The Best Cellar & The Inn at Ragged Gardens – 31 Blowing Rock – 31 Blowing Rock Chamber of Commerce – 30 Blowing Rock Inn – 98 Blue Ridge Mountain Club – 108 Boone Bagelry – 24 Broyhill Home Collections – 30 Brushy Mountain Apple Festival – 62 Buffalo Tavern – 48 Cabin Fever – 30 The Cabin Store – 37 Café Portofino – 90 Canyons of the Blue Ridge – 96 Carlton Gallery – 87 Carolina Orthopaedic Specialists – 54 Casa Bella – 49 Casa Rustica – 95 Cha Da Thai – 25 Char – 25, 97 Christmas in Blowing Rock – 31 Country Retreat Family Billiards – 91 Crippen’s Country Inn & Restaurant – 98 The Crossnore School – 23 Dancing Moon Earthway Bookstore – 24 DeWoolfson – 79 Doe Ridge Pottery – 24. 73 Doncaster Outlet – 30 Dos Amigos – 95 Downtown Boone – 24 Dunn’s Deli – 96 Erick’s Cheese & Wine – 97 Footsloggers – 24 Foscoe Fishing Company – 8 Frasers – 48

Fred’s General Mercantile – 13 Frog & Butterfly – 81 Galileo’s – 25 Gamekeeper Restaurant & Bar – 63, 90 Gems by Gemini - 30 Gladiola Girls – 24 GoSkiNC – 19 Grandfather Vineyard & Winery – 84 Green Park Inn – 16 Gregory Alan’s – 30 Hampton Inn – 55 Hawksnest Zipline – 99 Hickory Furniture Mart – 79 High Country Dulcimers – 69 High Country Stone – 67 Hill Top Drive-In – 25 Hobby Barn – 48 The Homestead Inn – 98 Honda of Wilkesboro – 92 Honey Bear Campground & Nature Center – 51 The Impeccable Pooch – 45 J&J Chophouse – 94 Jim’s Corner Furniture – 57 Joe’s Italian Kitchen – 95 Kawasaki of Wilkesboro – 27 Kincaid Furniture – 107 Kojay’s Café – 31 The Knoll – 10 Lansing – 60 Libby’s – 49 Life Store – 78 Linville Caverns – 13 Logs America – 103 Lucky Penny – 25 M.C. Adams Clothier – 25 Maggie Black Pottery – 33 Magic Cycles – 27 Makoto’s Japanese Steak House & Sushi Bar – 93 Mast General Store – 2 McDonald’s – 91 McNeil Furniture – 49 Melanie’s Food Fantasy – 94 Mellow Mushroom of Boone – 3 Mellow Mushroom of Blowing Rock – 30 Modern Toyota of Boone – 11 Moonstar Gallery – 33 Mountain Aire Golf Club – 57 Mountain Bagels – 94 Mountain Dog – 45 Mountain Run Properties – 27 Mountainaire Inn & Log Cabins – 98 The Mustard Seed Market – 92

New York Life – 75 Nick’s Restaurant & Pub – 97 The Open Door – 25 Paolucci’s Italian Bar & Grill - 25 Parker Tie Company – 49 Peabody’s Wine & Beer Merchants - 8 Pepper’s Restaurant – 94 Pet Supplies Plus – 17 Proper Southern Food – 25 Puerto Nuevo – 97 Ram’s Rack Thrift Shop – 25 Recess – 51 River and Earth Adventures – 10 Rivercross Market – 67 Rock Dimensions – 25 Rooster Ridge Stairlifts – 87 Scarlett Creek – 69 Seven Devils – 78 Shatley Springs – 49 The Shoppes at Farmers Hardware – 25 SkyLine/SkyBest – 75 Sledgehammer Charlie’s – 31 Southern Highland Craft Guild – 66 Stonewalls – 96 Sugar Mountain – 43 Sugar Mountain Café – 43 Sugar Mountain Lodging – 43 Sugar Mountain Resort – 19 Sugar Ski & Country Club – 43 Sugar Top Resort – 43 Sunalei Preserve – 106 Tatum Galleries – 84 Tazmaraz – 31 Tom’s Custom Golf – 43 Tuckers Café – 91 Turchin Center for the Visual Arts – 24, 85 Tweetsie Railroad – 16 UPS Store – 48 Under the Sun – 24 Valle Crucis – 36 Vidalia Restaurant & Wine Bar – 90 The Village Inns of Blowing Rock – 98 The Vistas at Banner Elk – 23, 30 Watauga Lakeshore Resort & Marina – 60 Wilkes Chamber of Commerce – 62 Wilkes County – 61 Wolf Creek Traders – 73 The Woodlands Barbecue & Pickin’ Parlor – 95 Woof Pack Pet Services – 45 Woolly Worm Festival – 72 Yamaha of Wilkesboro – 51 Zuzda Tapas – 96

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Autumn Times 2011  

Season publication for the Mountain Times.

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