Page 1


2012 my hometown

The High Country is a great place to visit ... and a better place to live! Retail ∙ Entertainment ∙ Restaurants ∙ Events ∙ Recreation ∙ Important Numbers Real Estate ∙ Weather ∙ Chamber of Commerce ∙ Civic Groups ∙ Education

Banner Elk, My Hometown 2012

Page 2

December 2012

Photo by Sam Calhoun

Welcome … to Banner Elk, our hometown Banner Elk Mayor Brenda Lyerly


elcome to beautiful and historic Banner Elk. We are so glad you found our unique, special part of Western North Carolina. Did you know that the Banner family settled in the Elk Valley in the 1840s from Scotland by way of Philadelphia? Our area was called Banner’s Elk in the early years, and some of our natives with family roots still use the possessive on occasion. We have all the amenities of a larger area without the traffic. The High Country has highly qualified doctors and a fine hospital. We have great restaurants with accomplished chefs, grocery stores that carry everything your heart desires and we even have Lees-McRae College that has been here for more than 100 years. Our small town is blessed with two snow ski resorts within 15 minutes of our one stoplight. In the summer we are near six golf courses, some of which are considered the best in the country. Summer in our area is a pleasure, because our temperatures are 15 to 20 degrees cooler than off our mountain. We are 3,740 feet above sea level, and the panoramic views in the High Country are picture postcard perfect. With four distinct seasons in Banner Elk, you can imagine that our fall seasons are spectacular with color, and spring is so welcoming with the first flowers of the season. The Christmas season is so special in Banner Elk. The lighted

snowflakes and garland and wreaths are so beautiful and, of course, our town elk statue is adorned with his own special wreath. Banner Elk has scenic greenway trails, a multi-purpose park and a dog park. Our residents and visitors put all of these facilities to good use, so much so that we have plans for expansion. Also very popular in the summer are our Thursday evening free concerts in the park. You must come early to stake out a good seat. Banner Elk’s biggest assets are the citizens and town employees. You will find the staff at Banner Elk Town Hall friendly and helpful. The police department is highly professional, and our fire department goes above and beyond. A lady who rented in Banner Elk for the summer hurt her back and could not pack her things to drive home. She wrote to me later with her saga and said that the fire chief himself came and got her packed, put it all in her car and prepared her to drive back to her home off the mountain. That is how we are in Banner Elk. I am confident that most of our Banner Elk folks would have helped her pack. All she would have had to do was ask. Any of our citizens will tell you that life is just better here. Sincerely, Brenda Lyerly Banner Elk mayor

Banner Elk Mayor Brenda Lyerly

Photo by Sherrie Norris

December 2012

Banner Elk, My Hometown 2012

Banner Elk Town Hall, located at 200 Park Avenue, is home to town staff and town council. Town staff includes Town Manager Rick Owen, Finance Office/Humane Resources Clerk Steve Smith, Tax Collector/ Planning and Zoning Officer Cheryl Buchanan, Police Chief Bill Burleson, Public Works Director Earl Turbyfill, Public Work Assistant Myra Guignard and Finance Officer Assistant Nancy Owen. Banner Elk Town Council includes Mayor Brenda Lyerly, Mayor Pro-Tem Charlie B. VonCanon and council members Gail Draughon, David Lecka, Allen Bolick and Robert Tufts. The town council’s mission statement is to “preserve

Page 3

and protect (the town’s) heritage while progressively supporting the development of the community infrastructure, recreational opportunities and the viability of the business community. Banner Elk will be a responsible steward of its natural beauty and resources, while enhancing the aesthetics of our town. Banner Elk will enhance the quality of life for citizens, Lees-McRae College students and visitors and for those people living in our surrounding communities.” For more information, call (828) 898-5398 or email

Photo by Sam Calhoun

When the Weather Outside is Frightful...

Inside it's so Delightful Enjoy cozy fireside dining in our 4 dining rooms!

Lunch • Dinner • Sunday Brunch • Wine Tastings (Check Website for Current Hours & Menus) Reservations: 828-963-6301 Restaurant & Winery • Valle Crucis Every Christmas, Banner Elk’s elk statue is adorned with a special wreath to mark the holidays – a perfect match to the holiday wreaths, garland and lighted snowflakes installed across the town.

Photo by Sam Calhoun

See Full Menu & Hours at • 828-963-6301

Page 4

Banner Elk, My Hometown 2012

December 2012

Banner Elk School is home to 175 pre-kindergarten through fifthgrade students, and serves as the Professional Development School for Lees-McRae College and is part of the Appalachian State University Public School Partnership.

Photo by Sam Calhoun

Welcome … to our top-tier education system ACS Superintendent Dr. David Burleson


anner Elk School, located in the beautiful community of Banner Elk, enrolls 175 pre-kindergarten through fifth-grade students. The school community strives daily to fulfill their mission to provide a safe, secure environment that is essential to learning and prepare all students to become responsible citizens, life-long learners and to be globally prepared for life in the 21st century. Banner Elk Elementary School opened its doors for the first time in fall 2011. This new state-of-the-art facility offers geothermal heating, a full-size gym, spacious classrooms with ample storage and an abundance of natural lighting for each classroom. The new building is a wonderful asset for both the school and the community. BES was the first school to participate in the one-to-one initiative for Avery County Schools and was instrumental in leading the way for a district-wide initiative to provide an iPad for every student in grades kindergarten through fifth and a MacBook Air for students in grades six through 12. In addition to providing quality education for students, the school serves as the Professional Development School for Lees-McRae College and is part of the Appalachian State University Public School Partnership. Many wonderful events and activities occur throughout the year at Banner Elk School. Favorites include an annual Fall Fling supported by a very involved Parent

Teacher Organization, an annual Christmas school and community program and a spring parent night that focuses on literacy and on preparing for the end-of-grade assessments. BES is an Arts A+ school that embraces the integration of the arts into curriculum and annually supports an artist in residency program. During the 2011-12 school year, Amy Cooke and Barbara Timberman, local artists, focused on art creations from lessons about birds and their behavior. The artist in residency program was made possible by a generous grant from Banner Elk Kiwanis Club. Banner Elk Elementary School is one of eight schools in Avery County. There are a total of five elementary, two middle and one Avery High School – all fully accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. Avery County Schools is proud to be ranked No. 4 in the state for achieving a 90.1 percent graduation rate. Through diligent work of quality professionals, caring parents and supportive community, students are attending school with conviction. Five schools earned their highest attendance rates ever during the 2011-12 school year, equaling 4,000 more student days in school. Our students continue to surpass state averages in nearly every EOG/EOC-tested area, and rank consistently above the average of the Northwest Region. Based on recently released test results, our school system performed well on the End-of-

Grade and End-of-Course tests. Avery County Schools has achieved some of the highest proficiency ever and our growth status has improved from last year. ACS believes that our children are our greatest resource and the key to a productive future. Our educational pathway begins with a Five Star state-funded prekindergarten program, and aggressively strives to meet the needs of each student. Avery Middle and Cranberry Middle schools are Arts A+ schools. Each focus on basic learning skills so that students will enter high school with a solid academic

foundation. Avery High School, home of the Vikings, is dedicating to assisting each student in gradating college and career ready. As Avery County Schools moves forward into an exciting future, we aspire to become a national model of education graduating every student globally prepared for life in the 21st century. For more information, click to Sincerely, Dr. David Burleson Avery County Schools superintendent

ACS Superintendent Dr. David Burleson, with wife, Beth.

Photo courtesy Avery County Schools

December 2012

Banner Elk, My Hometown 2012

Page 5

Banner Elk, My Hometown 2012

Page 6

December 2012

Welcome … to Banner Elk’s college, Lees-McRae

Photos by Sam Calhoun

LMC President Dr. Barry M. Buxton


s natives of this region, Debbie and I are grateful to have the opportunity to serve LeesMcRae College and to live in Avery County. From our perspective, there is no more beautiful and soulful place than Banner Elk. At Lees-McRae College, we are dedicated to the intellectual, spiritual and physical growth of our students. The college is committed to providing a quality, values-based education, inspiring and enabling individuals to contribute to a changing society with integrity and civic responsibility. While there are many distinguishing characteristics of Lees-McRae College, none is more important than location. At 3,740 feet above sea level, we are the highest campus in the eastern United States. With a campus of more than 460 acres, Lees-McRae is an outdoor enthusiast’s dream graced with forests, rivers, lakes and fields near the base of Beech Mountain, with Grandfather Mountain and Sugar Mountain, the Pisgah and Cherokee National Forests and the Linville Gorge Wilderness nearby. Our natural ecosystems are among the most diverse in the world and serve as laboratories for study

in many disciplines. The beautiful native stone buildings that grace our campus date back to the early 1900s. We are dedicated to their preservation and adaptive reuse. As a matter of fact, the college recently received the Caraway Award from the State of North Carolina for our preservation efforts. I encourage you to visit the Lees-McRae campus and experience the beauty for yourself. Take a campus tour, meet our dedicated faculty and staff and talk with some of our amazing students who come from all across the globe. Stop by the historic Mill Pond and Cheese House (visitor center) and learn more about our history. Tour the Dianne and Dan May Wildlife Rehabilitation Center on the Elk River and see firsthand this unique academic program. Attend some of our highly acclaimed theatre productions or stop in our sports complex and experience the excitement of our student-athletes as they compete in 15 different NCAA sports. We are grateful and we are blessed at Lees-McRae College. Sincerely, Dr. Barry M. Buxton LMC president

Dr. Barry M. Buxton, 15th president of Lees-McRae College, and his wife, Deborah Keyes Buxton, an artist.

Photo courtesy LMC

Page 8

Banner Elk, My Hometown 2012

December 2012

December 2012

Banner Elk, My Hometown 2012

Page 7

LMC President Barry Buxton (second from left) prepares to cycle the famous terrain around Banner Elk with Greg LeMond (center, in white jacket), the first American and the first non-European to win the Tour de France. LeMond visited Lees-McRae College as an adjunct professor for the Principles of Cycling course.

Photo submitted

The Rev. Edgar Tufts founded Lees-McRae in 1900, arriving three years earlier on the orders of Virginia’s Union Theological Seminary to organize a Presbyterian church in Banner Elk. Lees-McRae Institute became Lees-McRae College in 1931, an accredited co-ed junior college, and then transitioned to a senior (four-year) college in 1988. Tufts served the Banner Elk community until his death in 1923.

Learn more ... • Lees-McRae College • 191 Main Street, Banner Elk • (828) 898-5241 •

Photo by Sam Calhoun

OFF your

purchase of $25 or more. One coupon per family visit. Excludes dog and cat food purchases. Expires April 2013.

Home Baked On the boundary of the Lees-McRae College campus in Banner Elk sits the Cheese House, a historic building situated on the Mill Pond off Shawneehaw Avenue that now serves as the college’s visitor center. Staffed by volunteers, the Cheese House acts as a mini-museum for the college stocked with information for visitors and prospective families. Volunteers lead historic walking tours of campus from the center.

Photo by Sam Calhoun


(made from wholesome, natural ingredients)

Special Occasion Cakes & Party Supplies High Quality Dog & Cat Food Raw & Freeze Dried Raw Diets Healthy Treats Natural Supplements Interactive Toys For Dogs & Cats Apparel, Sweaters, Coats & Outdoor Gear Collars, Leashes, Beds, Bath Supplies and much more!

(828)898-5625 176 Shawneehaw Ave. Downtown Banner Elk

December 2012

Banner Elk, My Hometown 2012

Page 9

Welcome … to business in Banner Elk Avery Economic Development Director Bret Gardella


n behalf of the Avery County Economic Development office, I welcome you to Banner Elk. We’re pleased that you’ve made time to get to know us. Whether you’re a new visitor or frequent guest, looking to relocate or start a business, we know that the friendly folks in Banner Elk will make you feel at home. Nestled here in the beautiful mountains of Western North Carolina, Banner Elk is a business-friendly community ready to help you succeed. With its current mix of eclectic, quaint shops, and award-winning restaurants, Banner Elk is also the home of the new Avery County Professional and Retail Incubator Development Enterprise (A.C. P.R.I.D.E.). In the A.C. P.R.I.D.E., our commit-

ment extends beyond offering you a place to “hang your shingle;” we’ll help you at every step to start, build and grow your business into the success you deserve. From training and education to marketing and outreach we’ll offer you professional guidance from experienced specialists in the business world because your business success is our business mission. So if you’re ready to explore your entrepreneurial endeavors, we’re ready to help. Please call us at the development office at (828) 737-5150. Thank you again for your interest. Sincerely, Bret Gardella Avery Economic Development Director

Avery Economic Development Director Bret Gardella

Photo submitted

Your Member-Owned Electric Cooperative Mountain Electric Cooperative, Inc. (MEC) is a member owned electric cooperative located in Northeast Tennessee and Northwest North Carolina. Its corporate ofÀce is located in Mountain City, TN, with a district ofÀce in Newland, NC, and a branch ofÀce in Roan Mountain, TN.

Business Services • Energy Right Solutions for Business • Revolving Loan Fund • Comprehensive Services for Commercial and Industrial loads (Power Analysis, Energy Use, and Technical Services)

Residential Services

The business-friendly community of Banner Elk features a shopping experience as diverse as those found in much larger cities, sans nationally recognized chain stores. From men’s, women’s and children’s boutiques, to specialty shops offering handcrafted local wares, from clothing stores to eclectic gift shops, from wineries to award-winning restaurants, Banner Elk is an easy candidate to become your next destination for shopping, dining and entertaining.

Photo by Sam Calhoun

The historic Banner Elk School is the home of the new Avery County Professional and Retail Incubator Development Enterprise (A.C. P.R.I.D.E.).

Photo by Matthew Hundley

• • • • •

Heat Pump Loan Program New Homes Program Water Heater Replacement Rebate Surge Protection CFL Bulb Disposal

Other Programs • Green Power Switch (Invest in power generated by wind and solar) • Operation Pocket Change (Helps neighbors in need and worthy community projects)

For more information visit our website: or call Member Services 423-727-1811 or Newland OfÀce 828-733-0159

Page 10

Banner Elk, My Hometown 2012

December 2012

Looking back on Banner Elk MATTHEW HUNDLEY


anner Elk has a rich history that is preserved both on paper and through oral tradition. Plenty of old-timers are willing to tell stories of how things used to be, and the Banner House Museum offers a wealth of information on the town’s namesake, the Banner Family. The archeological record shows that the high, but fertile, valley of the Elk River was first explored by Cherokee Indians, who most likely used the area as a hunting ground, rather than as a permanent settlement. The first white settlers recorded to have come to the area were Delilah Baird and John Holtsclaw, who claimed 480 acres in 1825. The head of the family for which the town would eventually be named, Martin L. Banner, arrived in 1848. Arriving near the same time period were families bearing other familiar names, including Moody, Dugger, Abrams, Von Canon, Keller, Smith,

Lineback and Foster. Though the area was still practically frontier country at the time that Banner arrived, only 44 years later, in 1892, the community then known as Banner’s Elk, established a hotel to serve the growing number of visitors to the area, a trend that eventually led to a vital tourism industry in the early 1900s. Less than two decades later, in 1911, the town was officially incorporated as Banner Elk. The area has seen many changes in industry of the years, shifting focus from subsistence farming to production crops to Christmas trees, and all the while providing tourists with an immaculate experience of the High Country. Though the history of Banner Elk is not particularly long, it is full of fantastic characters, dramatic twists and the flavor of the High Country. To learn more about Banner Elk’s history, visit Banner House museum or click to The museum’s hours change seasonally, so call ahead, at (828) 898-3634 to plan your visit.

The Rev. Edgar Tufts founded Lees-McRae in 1900, arriving three years earlier on the orders of Virginia’s Union Theological Seminary to organize a Presbyterian church in Banner Elk. Lees-McRae Institute became Lees-McRae College in 1931, an accredited co-ed junior college, and then transitioned to a senior (four-year) college in 1990. Tufts served the Banner Elk community until his death in 1923.

Photos courtesy Michael Hardy

Polly Presnell poses in front of Banner Elk’s Grace Hospital in 1935.

Banner Elk, a once remote Appalachian community, is the home of major and ongoing missions of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). Three church related institutions – Lees-McRae College, Grandfather Home and Orphanage and Grace (now Cannon) Hospital, pictured – were established around the turn of the century, primarily through the efforts of the Presbyterian Church, U.S., and the Rev. Edgar Tufts. In 1923, a makeshift hospital in Banner Elk was averaging five patients per night and the need for more space was critical. Helen Hartley Jenkins donated $22,000 to build a 25-bed hospital, which was named after her sister, Grace. According to historical archives, the new hospital had running water, electricity and a coal-fired furnace. The kitchen was on the first floor along with living quarters for the director of nursing and the dietitian. Patient rooms were on the second and third floors and the operating room and nurses’ quarters were on the top floor.

December 2012

Banner Elk, My Hometown 2012

Page 11

Von Cannon’s Ford dealership in Banner Elk.

Photos courtesy Michael Hardy

The weaving room at Lees-McRae College in the early 1900s.

Banner Elk, My Hometown 2012

Page 12

December 2012

Banner Elk, the home of outdoor sports



f Thornton Wilder had chosen Banner Elk as the guide for his great play “Our Town,” most likely all the characters would have been outdoor sports enthusiasts. Few places on earth can compete with the plethora outdoor activities available to people of all ages right out the front doors of the village. From the backyards of Banner Elk residents, hiking, canoeing, championship biking, whitewater rafting, kayaking, bear and dear and wild-turkey hunting, fly fishing, swimming, golfing, marathon running, horseback riding, caving, hang-gliding, snowboarding, skiing, snow-tubing and snowshoeing are only a stones throw away. In fact, one can cast for native trout within the town limits in crystal clear creeks originating up high on the slopes of Beech and Sugar mountains. Hiking trails begin in the village, too. This abundance fuels the local economy year-round as thousands of visitors flock to the hamlet and enjoy the sport’s paradise. During winter, Sugar and Beech mountains, which tower above Main Street, provide a winter wonderland of snowsports. It’s not uncommon to find a PhD tuning

A young angler casts off into Banner Elk’s Wildcat Lake.

Photo Submitted skis at the resorts or in a local ski shop; having traded a past life for the grandeur

of the highest Appalachians. As well as serving the piedmont popula-

tions of the Southeastern states, the resorts attract an international clientele from all over the world. A local ski instructor kept track last winter and reported that his clients came from more than 50 countries. Minutes away, the venerable Grandfather Mountain and state park dominates the landscape, providing it’s own Mecca of outdoor challenges, exhilarating climbs and breathtaking views. In summer, professional and amateur highland athletes from all over converge to compete in the Annual Grandfather Mountain Highland Games. World-class downhill bikers participate in several local events annually and the Lees-McRae College downhillers are known nationwide for their winning competitive skills. Waitresses can tell you about serving the many visiting bicyclists who use the area’s steeps to train for the Tour de France. Private and public golf clubs are a golf cart ride away from the center of town. It’s not uncommon to see helicopters overhead ferrying club members or private planes landing, delivering patrons to the area’s exclusive golf communities. Both Beech and Sugar mountains have challenging golf courses that are open to the public. CONTINUED ON PAGE 13

December 2012


Wildcat Lake, a comfortable bike or horse ride from town, offers swimming, canoeing, picnic facilities, a playground, volleyball and a beach. Sailors, boat fishermen, water skiers and houseboat owners can travel in about 30 minutes from Banner Elk to the grand and huge TVA Watauga Lake, located near the Tennessee state line.

Banner Elk, My Hometown 2012

Page 13

If you are a world-class athletic looking for a challenge or someone just wanting a stroll through the rhododendron, Banner Elk is the place you want to be; with this one caution: when a resident of Banner Elk talks about racing, they mean “wacing.” Every October, more than 20,000 people attend Banner Elk’s Woolly Worm Festival. The event features thousands of competing woolly worms “wacing” up strings for prizes.

Kim Jochl carves fresh tracks at Sugar Mountain Resort.

Photo by Sam Calhoun

Photo courtesy Sugar Mountain Resort

Banner Elk, My Hometown 2012

Page 14

December 2012

Bite into Banner Elk MATTHEW HUNDLEY There are plenty of reasons to come to Banner Elk, but the best may be dinner. Despite its relaxed, rural atmosphere, Banner Elk boasts a lineup of restaurants from casual to formal that will keep any foodie absorbed in new and exciting experiences for years. Whether looking for a quick bite, an elegant meal for a special night or a banquet hall to feed the entire company, Banner Elk has the restaurant you are looking for. Many Banner Elk restaurants change their hours depending on the season, so it can be a good idea to check your chosen destination online or by calling ahead. To help with that, a comprehensive list of Banner Elk restaurants, their contact information and some information about the food and services they offer is listed below. Peruse the list, make your pick and head to Banner Elk for a high-altitude feast. Artisanal 1200 Dobbins Road (828) 898-5395 For those seeking the elegance of an upscale experience, Artisanal is the restaurant of choice. With daily menu changes to reflect the availability of the finest ingredients, Anita and Bill Greene take pride in creating a memorable experience down to the finest detail. Banner Elk Cafe and Lodge Espresso Bar and Eatery 119 Central Way (828) 898-4040 Settled squarely in the heart of downtown, Banner Elk Cafe is ready and able to

serve up three meals each day, ensuring that diners can always have a destination in Banner Elk, no matter the time or season. The Lodge Espresso Bar and Eatery adds a coffee-house atmosphere along with a selction of coffees, drinks, fresh-baked goods and gourmet food. Banner Elk Subway 3579 Tynecastle Highway (828) 898-8544 Located in Sugar Mountain Village Shopping Center, Banner Elk Subway ensures that folks on the go can always find their favorite sandwich made fresh to order, whether they are visiting for the first time or running their errands around town. The menu is focused around game-time favorites, wings and pizza, accompanied by an ample menu of wine, beer and drinks. Barra Wings Cafe and Sports Bar 140 Azalea Circle (828) 898-7727 With seven flat-screen televisions mounted around a room filled with comfortable leather couches and Boston-style wood bar, Barra Wings Cafe and Sports Bar is the place to sit back and watch the game with friends in style. Bayou Smokehouse and Grill 130 Main Street East (828) 898-8952 Bayou Smokehouse and Grill is the place for a good time in Cajun style, offering everything guests need to eat, play and shop under one roof. In addition to deepSouthern style food, Bayou Smokehouse and Grill maintains a general store where

coffees, teas and fresh pastries, Fred and Larry’s Coffee Shop maintains a relaxed atmosphere with the help of open-mic nights on Fridays and Saturdays. Whether they are on the lookout for an early morning pick-me-up or a late evening jam session, visitors can find what they are looking for at Fred and Larry’s.

Bayou Smokehouse and Grill visitors can lay claim to any of dozens of hot sauces, local crafts and North Carolina and Louisiana gourmet cooking ingredients. Bella’s Italian Restaurant 3585 Tynecastle Highway (828) 898-9022 Bella’s carries on a tradition of neighborhood Italian restaurants with something for everyone. From chicken marsala to lasagna to pizza, Bella’s offers a wide variety of crowd pleasers as well as caters to sophisticated tastes. Blue Ridge Bistro Inc. 142 East Main Street (828) 898-3325 Blue Ridge Bistro offers a charming combination of Southern dishes crafted from scratch using only local, organic ingredients all in a casual atmosphere. Whether stopping in for lunch, dinner, a cup of coffee, a glass of wine or a craft beer, Blue Ridge Bistro is the place to settle in for a relaxed dining experience. China House 3581 Tynecastle Highway (828) 898-3533 Dunn’s Deli 134 Main Street West (828) 898-6731 Mike Dunn makes his sandwiches to order from high quality ingredients, and he makes them overstuffed, a perfect companion to a relaxing bottle of beer, bowl of soup or cup of coffee. Dunn’s Deli is easy to find at the crossroads of downtown Banner Elk.

Banner Elk Cafe and Lodge

Fred and Larry’s Coffee Shop 3591 Tynecastle Highway (828) 898-2110 In addition to an ever-updating list of

The Frog and the Monkey 128 Banner Road (828) 898-3764 A recent edition to the Banner Elk dining scene, The Frog and Monkey has been welcomed by discerning diners of the High Country. Frontier Barbecue 4235 Highway 105 South (828) 898-6777 At Frontier Barbecue, the wide selection of barbecue is prepared fresh each and every day, ensuring that guests get only the most tender chicken, pork and brisket around. Those barbecue delights share the menu with other favorites like trout and hamburgers. In addition Frontier Barbecue takes orders for carryout turkeys for Thanksgiving or Christmas. The Inner Harbor Seafood Bar and Grill 1615 Tynecastle Highway (828) 898-4571 Conveniently located in Best Western Mountain Lodge in Banner Elk, The Inner Harbor Seafood Bar and Grill ensures that the people of the High Country are not deprived of their favorite coastal dishes by providing top-notch seafood cuisine. Louisiana Purchase Food and Spirits 397 Shawneehaw Avenue (866) 734-4124 Since 1984, Louisiana Purchase has provided Banner Elk’s residents and visitors with an appetizing assortment of Cajun, Creole, French and Northern Italian cuisine. Seasonal selections and an awardwinning wine list add variety to a menu that has garnered Louisiana Purchase a three-diamond AAA-rating. Mountain Grounds Coffee and Tea Company Suite 10, 3390 Highway 105 (828) 898-5878 Looking up at Grandfather Mountain,


December 2012

Banner Elk, My Hometown 2012

Page 15

Scott’s Pizza Place 2591 Tynecastle Highway (828) 898-4646 Offering dine in, take out and even delivery to Banner Elk, Sugar Mountain, Tynecastle and surrounding gated communities, Scott’s Pizza Place offers a menu of family favorites, including pizza, calzones, stromboli, wings, subs and spaghetti.

Louisiana Purchase Food and Spirits


Mountain Grounds Coffee and Tea Company offers a lodge-style shop with a cozy atmosphere that is perfect for warming up on a winter’s day or relaxing after a long day hiking or skiing the local slopes. Mountain Grounds maintains a full staff of fully trained baristas to guide guests through a comprehensive menu of coffee and tea choices. Nick’s Restaurant and Pub 4527 Tynecastle Highway (828) 898-9613 After more than 25 years in business, Nick’s Restaurant and Pub knows a thing or two about how to give its guests the casual, relaxed dining experience they are looking for. Visitors can always stop in for lunch, dinner, drinks or to watch the game on one of Nick’s big screens. Friday night is Karaoke starting at 8 p.m. Puerto Nuevo 2120 Tynecastle Highway (828) 898-3332 With authentic Mexican cuisine, a full bar and a fun, stylish atmosphere, Puerto Nuevo offers a complete Mexican dining experience. Puerto Nuevo features a full bar with two big screen televisions and a separate banquet hall for large events.

Sugar Mountain Cafe 2989 Tynecastle Highway #2 (828) 898-9866 Sugar Mountain Cafe has a range of choices that are sure to meet the needs of any diner passing through Banner Elk. With smoothies, wraps, burgers, chili, rice bowls and breakfast all day all on the same menu, Sugar Mountain is the ideal choice for satisfying that car full of picky eaters. Sushi Club 140 Azalea Circle (828) 898-1940 Banner Elk’s Sushi Club combines good food and dancing in an atmosphere designed to provide a lively escape. The Painted Fish Cafe and Beer Bar 2941 Tynecastle Highway (828) 898-6800 Great food with fun beer and superb wines is the combination The Painted Fish looks to offer guests. Guests can always expect to find familiar dishes with a new twist to keep them exciting. Quizno’s Unit 8, 4004 Highway 105 South (828) 898-7838

Sorrento’s Italian Bistro Stonewalls has developed a reputation over the past 27 years for its prime rib, other specialty steaks and expansive salad bar.

Unwind and enjoy a margarita on the deck of Valle De Bravo Mexican Grill, Banner Elk’s newest Mexican restaurant.

Tokyo Express 100 High Country Square (828) 898-4121 Offering sushi, seafood and steaks and other delicacies in both Japanese and Vietnamese styles, Tokyo Express provides a comprehensive Asian dining experience.

Zuzda Tapas Restaurant and Bar 502 Main Street West (828) 898-4166 Zuzda provides the unique and creative dining experience of tapas to Banner Elk. With more than 100 items on the menu, Zuzda has something to please any palate all in a relaxed but classy atmosphere. The expansive menu insures that every trip to Zuzda’s is as unique as you make it.

Valle De Bravo Mexican Grill 431 Beech Mountain Parkway (828) 898-7771

A Banner Elk Staple Since 1986

Sorrento’s Italian Bistro 140 Azalea Circle (828) 898-5214 Sorrento’s menu is a classic array of regional Italian delights, and the bistro takes special pride in accommodating large groups for events and parties. Stonewalls Restaurant 344 Shawneehaw Avenue (828) 898-5550 A long time staple of Banner Elk dining,


Puerto Nuevo

4527 Tynecastle Highway · Banner Elk Located in the Shoppes of Tynecastle at the corner of 105 & Tynecastle Highway

Page 16

Banner Elk, My Hometown 2012

December 2012

Artistic expression in Banner Elk MATTHEW HUNDLEY


hether it is on a stage, hanging in gallery, adorning a restaurant wall or standing in a garden, art abounds in Banner Elk. The stunning landscape and rural settings surrounding Banner Elk draws artists from around the world to the High Country. The addition of Lees-McRae College’s performing arts productions and Summer Theater programs mean that Banner Elk will always have a cultural, artistic experience ready to share with residents and guests. While a great many Banner Elk shops feature the art and craft of local artists, many of the area’s finest artists choose The Art Cellar and The Clark Gallery as the setting for their work. The Art Cellar has provided a venue for artists for 20 years. The Art Cellar includes a fine art gallery displaying paintings, pottery and sculptures created by the High Country’s finest artists. The gallery also includes an ample supply of local folk art. For more information on The Art Cellar, including a list of featured artists, click to

LMC student actors preform in ‘Beguiled Again’ in April 2011.

Photo submitted Right in downtown Banner Elk beside the acclaimed Louisiana Purchase restaurant, Clark Gallery has provided Banner Elk residents and guests with access to the best in painting and sculpture since 2001. Gallery owner and artist Chris Clark compiled his expertise from years of travel and collecting combined with a formal education in art and art history. For more information on Clark Gallery, click to

For those who like their art in motion, LMC provides both productions from its performing arts departments and its Summer Theater. Each semester, LMC’s performing arts students put on a new production, sometimes reaching back to classics like “Much Ado About Nothing” or “Pride and Prejudice,” and sometimes keeping the productions more contemporary, such as with its spring 2013 production of Neil Simon’s “Rumors: A Farce,” scheduled for late February and early

March at LMC’s Hayes Auditorium. When the students are away for summer, the auditorium does not lay idle; LMC Summer Theater takes over to provide three musical productions. Lees-McRae Summer Theater is a professional company dedicated to producing three largescale musicals each summer. The plays are always presented in Hayes Auditorium on the campus of Lees-McRae College. For a great example of art that functions, check out Blue Mountain Metal Works, by visiting its Banner Elk gallery or by clicking to www.bluemountainmetalworks. com. Owner Dirk Brown gained experience first at ASU and then through working at Charleston Forge before setting out on his own to become one of Banner Elk’s premier sculptors of steel and other metals. Gates, railings, firescreens, decorations and other metal creations can be found or commissioned by visiting Brown in Banner Elk. These are just a few examples of the many ways to engage in the arts while in Banner Elk. For residents, that means endless opportunities to explore the work of creative minds. For visitors, it means that there is always some new masterpiece ready to be experienced whenever their visit falls.

Banner House Museum, located at 7990 Hickory Nut Gap Road in Banner Elk, is located in the 19th century home of Samuel Henry Banner, one of Banner Elk’s original settlers. The museum hosts daily guided tours mid-June through mid-October by volunteer docents who introduce guests to life in the 1800s. For more information, call (828) 898-3634 or click to

Photo by Sam Calhoun

Banner Elk, My Hometown 2012

December 2012

Page 17

A place for all seasons … Banner Elk’s comfortable climate brings four seasons to life SAM CALHOUN


When Banner Elk and the surrounding area became an even-more popular recreation destination in the 1960s and 1970s, it was marketed nationally as “a place for all seasons,” and aptly so, as it remains one of the few locales in North Carolina with four distinct climates and evolving scenery throughout the year. Nearing 4,000 feet above sea level, Banner Elk’s temperatures average 15 to 20 degrees cooler than off the mountain, resulting in amazingly pleasant summer temperatures that draw visitors, summer homeowners and outdoor sports enthusiasts from all over the United States and world. That same temperature differential means a winter climate ideal for natural snowfall (Banner Elk usually receives approximately 45 inches of natural snow per winter) and for blowing manmade snow, a crucial element for the local ski slopes. Historically, winter temperatures in Ban-

ner Elk remain near or below freezing during the day, but recent winters have been slightly warmer, with daytime temps averaging between 35 and 40 degrees. Banner Elk is framed with high peaks and rolling hills, and home to hundreds of species of flora and trees, which all combine to create a show of blossoming life in the spring and a colorful tapestry in autumn, everywhere you look. Temperatures in Banner Elk are so pleasant throughout the spring, summer and fall, in fact, that most homes, until recently, were built without air conditioning – a striking fact, given the sweltering heat of the surrounding lowlands.

Photos by Matthew Hundley

The “ONLY” Coldwell Banker Franchise Serving the Tri-Cities since 1983! Jason Johnston Fully Firm Licensed and Broker Fully Firm Insured in 423-446-0148 TN, VA, and NC

SECURITY REAL ESTATE Independantly owned and operated.

285 Cable Hollow, Butler, TN 37640 $849,000 MLS#321838

765 Sage Valley Circle, Mtn. City, TN 37683 $674,900 MLS#325865

Watauga Lake Front

Championship Golf Course

Erika Santucci Affiliate Broker 423-773-4600

Call us at 423-282-2595 or Toll Free 866-998-8196

Janice Barker Affiliate Broker 423-340-0648

200 Princeton Road, Johnson City, TN 37601

Banner Elk, My Hometown 2012

Page 18

December 2012

Regularly at Banner Elk Concerts in the Park attendees leave their seats to dance and interact with bands, as took place last summer with a popular performance by Billy Scott and the Party Prophets, pictured.

Photo submitted

Summer comes alive with Concerts in the Park JAMIE SHELL


othing quite brings people together better than music … especially when it’s of high quality and free of charge. Realizing this, countless citizens and visitors alike make Banner Elk Concerts in the Park one of the must-do events to experience throughout the summer. Banner Elk Concerts in the Park commence at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday evenings beginning in mid-June and continue weekly until late-August at Tate-Evans Park stage, located off Highway 194 behind Bank of America in Banner Elk. Numerous local businesses help make Banner Elk Concerts in the Park possible. In addition to great music from local and regional artists, raffle tickets are sold each week for prizes, in addition to a cash drawing. A number of food vendors are on hand with a variety of meal and snack options, or patrons are welcome to bring their own food. Concertgoers are encouraged to bring chairs or blankets and coolers, and friendly, well-behaved and leashed dogs are permitted.

The Johnson Brothers, a longstanding local bluegrass group, is a popular act to grace Tate-Evans Park stage for Banner Elk Concerts in the Park.

Photo submitted Banner Elk Concerts in the Park feature a variety of bands and genres varying from week to week, promising something which appeals to everyone.

Attendees are invited to ‘shake a leg’ on the dance floor, listen to great music and socialize with neighbors and newcomers alike. For more information about Banner Elk

Concerts in the Park, call Banner Elk Chamber of Commerce at (828) 898-8395, email or click to www.

December 2012

Banner Elk, My Hometown 2012

Page 19



ate-Evans Park represents the dedication of the Town of Banner Elk to providing its residents with the best in public services, including recreation. Rather serving any single purpose, Tate-Evans Park is designed to be utilized for a staggering variety of purposes and events, and the residents of Banner Elk put it to good use. Whether for daily exercise, family functions or community congregations, Tate-Evans Park serves a central gathering place for the tight-knit community that is Banner Elk. While Tate-Evans Park provides a setting for a variety of familiar, family-oriented outdoor activities – the park includes a walking trail, wading pools, volleyball court, picnic tables, picnic shelter, a playground area for smaller children and the renowned Fort VonCanon for more active children – the park also serves as a venue for a variety of exciting scheduled events sponsored by the town, local organiza-

tions and businesses. For example, Tate-Evans Park includes an amphitheatre that plays host to the Concerts in the Park each Thursday night beginning in June. See page 18 for more on the Concerts in the Park. A variety of other festivities are also centered around the park, including Fourth of July celebrations, the annual gathering around the campfire (a final farewell to summer), a Spook-tacular event at Halloween, the annual Christmas Tree Lighting, caroling and various public classes. In addition to community events, families often take advantage of the park’s many facilities, which include restrooms open from April to September. Banner Elk families regularly host birthday parties, reunions and weddings at different sites around the park’s beautiful grounds. While Tate-Evans Park and its walking trails meander near much of downtown Banner Elk, the most direct entrance is right next to Banner Elk Town Hall, located at 200 Park Avenue.

Photos by Matthew Hundley

Get the Ultimate You Wrap yourself up for the New Year! Tighten, tone and firm wherever you choose, and see measurable results in 45 minutes.

Looking for the perfect gift?

Banner Elk, My Hometown 2012

Page 20

December 2012

“ N O T H I N G E L S E C O M PA R E S ”

Rich in Design Rich in Savings!

us Ask our ut abo erior ! sup oofing r ndp sou

Starting at $299,900 (1,583 sq. ft.)

(828) 898-3380

317 Penny Lane, Banner Elk, NC 28604

(1/3 Mile Up Beech Mountain Parkway on the Left)

December 2012

Banner Elk, My Hometown 2012

Page 21

Annual Events Residents in Banner Elk and surrounding communities are not an idle sort; they keep their communities alive and vital with concerts, festivals, celebrations, shows, arts and more. While it is too early to list all of the events that Banner Elk residents will cook up in the coming months, here is a list of annual events to look forward each year. Dates may vary from year to year, so check regularly with your local newspapers when the season arrives for your favorite event. Summer (Beginning mid June) Banner Elk Independence Day Parade Banner Elk celebrates its independence in style, with a large-scale parade and celebration each year. Banner Elk Summer Concert Series Each week throughout the summer, Banner Elk’s Tate-Evan’s Park serves as host to one talented band after another, giving residents the chance to gather and enjoy a lively time. For more information on Banner Elk’s Summer Concerts in the Park see page 18 of this guide.

Fine Arts and Master Craft Festival Held each year in downtown Banner Elk, the Fine Arts and Master Craft Festival is a celebration of all of the artistic ingenuity in and around the Banner Elk area. The region’s best artists and craftspeople converge on Banner Elk to offer their wares to eager crowds.

Autumn at Oz In 1970, Land of Oz opened on top of Beech Mountain. Though the popular park was ultimately lost, it touched the lives of many. Now, former employees and dedicated fans reopen the park one weekend each year to give guests a chance to see the world of Oz.

Mile High Kite Festival Beech Mountain Chamber of Commerce hosts a kite festival as part of the town’s Labor Day weekend festivities. Established kite clubs attend the festival each year, bringing their astounding kites and expertise. Lees-McRae Summer Theater Lees-McRae Summer Theater is a professional company dedicated to producing three large-scale musicals each summer. The plays are always presented in Hayes Auditorium on the campus of Lees-McRae College.

Autumn (Beginning late Sept.) Woolly Worm Festival For those who are not familiar with

A good time to make Banner Elk your hometown

The High Country real estate market continues to rebound, with sales hitting a three-year high in August 2012, according to High Country Association of Realtors. There were 133 Realtor-assisted sales that month, the most since 133 were sold in August 2009. The total value was $31.4 million; the second straight month sales surpassed $30 million. The High Country hasn’t had back to back $30 million months since July and August 2009, according to High Country Multiple Listing Services. The median price of a home sold was $195,300, which indicates buyers’ market conditions continue. “Summer is traditionally a strong buying season with an additional market influx in the fall,” said Laurie Phillips, executive officer of High Country Association of Realtors. “With low interest rates and a solid inventory, we are seeing more buyers looking

woolly worm races, an international variety of food vendors, dozens of craft vendors and live music.

to invest in the High Country.” Between May and August 2012, 475 listings were sold, the most in a four-month period since 514 were sold from July to October 2008. Sales are speeding up. The average time a sold listing spent on the market in August 2012 was 213 days, the shortest such time span in more than a year. According to the National Association of Realtors, the average rate on a 30-year fixed rate mortgage has been below 4 percent all year. Sales of previously occupied homes jumped 10 percent in July from a year before, while sales of newly built homes increased 25 percent in the same period. “From a buyer’s standpoint, it’s probably one of the best investments you can make,” said Nena Alsaker, president of High Country Association of Realtors.

Oktoberfest Sugar Mountain’s Oktoberfest includes all of the staples of a proper Oktoberfest, an Oom Pah band, handmade crafts, Bavarian Cuisine and, of course, plenty of beer. Payton Franklin welcomes visitors to Autumn at Oz at Beech Mountain in August 2012.

Photo by Sam Calhoun Banner Elk’s Woolly Worm Festival, it is exactly what it sounds like, a festival dedicated to celebrating, collecting and racing woolly worms. One of the regions biggest festivals, the event features cash prizes for

SugarFest Late in autumn each year, Sugar Mountain Resort hosts SugarFest, a grand kickoff to the winter ski season. To get people in the skiing state of mind SugarFest includes ski clinics with Olympians, ice skating, gourmet food tastings, fireworks and more.

Avery County Schools Four Year Cohort Graduation Rate: 90.1%, Fourth in the State Vision: to become a national model of education Mission: to graduate every student from high school globally prepared for life in the 21st century through supportive relationships with students, parents, and community “Our schools and administrators oͿer programs, innovative classes, extra-curricular activities and the latest technology to every student. WE believe in meeting the need of each student, helping them to discover their talents and abilities so they will be abler to pursue their dreams upon graduation.” David Burleson, ACS Superintendent All Avery County Schools are fully accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. • 8 Schools: 5 elementary, 2 middle and one Avery High School • Total Enrollment: 2,221 • Highly QualiÀed Teachers: 99.4% • 2012 Graduates: 165 • One to One District-wide: All students: grades K-5, an iPad - grades 6-12, Macbook • 100+ Volunteers District-wide • 6 Five Star State-Funded NC Pre-K Programs

Page 22

Banner Elk, My Hometown 2012

Important numbers Fire, Rescue or Police in an emergency Town of Banner Elk: Avery County Chamber of Commerce: Banner Elk Chamber of Commerce: Beech Mountain Chamber of Commerce: The Avery Journal-Times newspaper: Banner House Museum: Banner Elk Town Hall: Banner Elk Police Department: Banner Elk Fire Department: Banner Elk Exxon: Lees-McRae College: Avery County Sheriff’s Office: Avery County Schools: Cannon Memorial Hospital: Mountain Electric Cooperative: Williams YMCA of Avery County: Beech Mountain Resort: Sugar Mountain Resort: Avery County Board of Elections: Avery County Emergency Management/Burn Permits: Avery County Communications/911 Office: Avery County Board of Commissioners Office: Avery County Emergency Medical Services: Avery County Health Department: Avery County Mapping: Avery County Planning Department: Avery County Register of Deeds: Avery County Parks and Recreation: Avery County Social Services: Avery County Senior Services: Avery County Solid Waste: Avery County Tax Office: Avery County Transportation Department: Avery County Veteran’s Services: Avery County Museum:

911 (828) 898-5398 (828) 898-5605 (800) 972-2183 (828) 898-8395 (828) 387-9283 (828) 733-2448 (828) 898-3634 (828) 898-5398 (828) 898-4300 (828) 898-4623 (828) 898-5210 (828) 898-5241 (828) 733-2071 (828) 733-6006 (828) 737-7000 (828) 733-0159 (828) 737-5500 (828) 387-2011 (828) 898-4521 (828) 733-8282 (828) 733-8213 (828) 733-5855 (828) 733-8212 (828) 733-8286 (828) 733-6031 (828) 733-7001 (828) 733-8204 (828) 733-8260 (828) 733-8266 (828) 733-8230 (828) 733-8220 (828) 737-5420 (828) 733-8214 (828) 733-0005 (828) 733-8211 (828) 733-7111

Photo by Sam Calhoun

December 2012

Places of worship in Banner Elk and Avery County Aaron Baptist Church All Saints Mission Altamont United Methodist Arbor Dale Presbyterian Avery United Methodist Banner Elk Church of Christ Banner Elk Presbyterian Banner Elk Seventh Adventist Banner Elk United Methodist Beech Mountain Baptist Belview Baptist Church Big Meadows Baptist Chapel In The Woods Chestnut Dale Baptist Church of Jesus Christ Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints Church of the Savior Crab Orchard FWB Cranberry Baptist Crossnore Baptist Crossnore Presbyterian Curtis Creek Baptist Elk Mountain FWB Elk Park Baptist Elk Park Christian Elk Park United Methodist Emmanuel Baptist Evangelical Methodist Faith Baptist Fall Creek Baptist Fellowship Baptist Fellowship Presbyterian First Baptist Church Forest Home Community

Fletcher Presbyterian Green Valley Baptist Heaton Christian Henson Creek Baptist Ivey Heights FWB Jehovah’s Witnesses Jonas Ridge Baptist Linville Falls Community Church Linville United Methodist Midway Holiness Church Minneapolis Baptist Minneapolis Christian Minneapolis Methodist Mt. Calvary Baptist Mt. Pleasant Baptist Mountain View FWB Newland Christian Newland Presbyterian Newland United Methodist Open Door Baptist Pineola Baptist Pineola Church of God Pineola Presbyterian Pleasant Hill Baptist Plumtree Presbyterian Powdermill Baptist Roaring Creek Baptist Roaring Creek FWB St. Bernadette Catholic Stamey Town Baptist Sugar Mountain Baptist Yellow Mountain Baptist Vale FWB Victory Baptist Walnut Grove Presbyterian

Banner Elk clubs and organizations Appalachian Women’s Fund APPEL – Avery Partnership for People at the End of Life Avery Association for Exceptional Citizens Avery County Cooperative Extension Avery County Farmers’ Market Avery County Habitat for Humanity Avery County Habitat for Humanity ReStore Avery County Historical Museum Avery County Humane Society Avery County JobLink Avery County Pregnancy and Resource Center Avery County Shrine Club

Avery Smooth Dancers and Mt. Laurel Booster Club Banner House Museum Beech Mountain Club Beech Mountain Bike Club Disabled American Veterans Chapter 87 Grandfather Home for Children High Country Caregivers Foundation High Country United Way Holston Center Kiwanis Club of Banner Elk MAY Coalition Rotary Club of Avery County VFW Pat Ray Post 4286 Volunteer Avery County and Community Service

December 2012

Banner Elk, My Hometown 2012

Page 23

Page 24

Banner Elk, My Hometown 2012

December 2012

Banner Elk My Hometown  

Banner Elk My Hometown

Banner Elk My Hometown  

Banner Elk My Hometown