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Boone My Hometown 2018-19 | 3

Publisher Gene Fowler Jr. Editor Anna Oakes Contributing Writers Anna Oakes, Kayla Lasure, Thomas Sherrill, Mackenzie Francisco, Sydney Wolford, Boone Area Chamber of Commerce, Leslie Eason and Rennie Brantz Layout & Design Jason D. Balduf Emily Jones Advertising Managers Charlie Price Manuel Zepeda Advertising Representatives Mark Mitchell, Nathan Godwin, James Howell, Ron Brown, Brian Thrush, Teresa Laws and Ron Brown Circulation Manager Andy Gainey Creative Services Meleah Bryan and Kristin Obiso Mountain Times Publications 474 Industrial Park Drive Boone, NC 28607 Phone: 828-264-6397

4 | Boone My Hometown 2018-19

What’s Inside Boone My Hometown 2018-19 Welcome to Boone from the Boone Area Chamber of Commerce ....................................... 6 Welcome to Our Town from Boone Mayor Rennie Brantz .................................................... 8 Map of Watauga County ..................................................................................................... 10 Boone at a Glance: Small Town Living with Big Benefits ................................................... 11 Local Agencies and Important Phone Numbers ................................................................. 15 Boone: A Community That Invests in Itself ......................................................................... 16 Boone Means Business: Town, University Seeing Continued Growth ............................... 22 Education Across the Life Span.......................................................................................... 24 Appalachian State University: The Perks of Living in a College Town ............................... 34 Health and Wellness: Boone Offers Variety of Treatment Options ..................................... 38 Boone, a Great Place to Call Home — or Second Home ................................................... 39 Aging Made Easier: Senior Living and Services in Boone ................................................. 42 So Many Ways to Play: Boone is a Recreation Destination ............................................... 46 Staying on Beat: Arts and Entertainment Thrives in Boone................................................ 50 Sips and Bites around Town ............................................................................................... 55 Boone Area Chamber Recognizes Local Leaders.............................................................. 58 Clubs and Organizations .................................................................................................... 62

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Boone IS on the map! “The Best Places to Live and Play” – National Geographic Adventure magazine

“100 Best Small Towns in America” – Norman Crampton

“50 Best Small Southern Towns” – Sweitzer and Fields

“10 Best Places to Retire in the U.S.” – U.S. News & World Report

“Four North American Adventure Destinations”

Welcome to Boone

TH E H E A R T O F T HE HI G H CO U NTRY Whether you are a newcomer, visitor, local resident, retired person, business owner or student, there is something for you here in Boone. The High Country offers a quality of life that is unique to many regions in the State of North Carolina. Combined with year-long opportunities for outdoor recreation, our economic viability, technology infrastructure, and diverse business community truly make the Boone area a destination that you can work where you play. Boone: My Hometown will help you get to know us as a community Pictured are (front row, from left) Boone Area Chamber of devoted to our local residents as well Commerce Public Relations Director Wysteria White; President as serving the needs of our guests. and CEO David Jackson; (back row) Member Services Manager The stories in this publication are Natalie Harkey; Membership and Marketing Coordinator Bob prepared by journalists who have Campbell and Chamber Representative Susan Norris. witnessed the growth of our area over generations. Their perspectives will help deliver tales of our everyday treasures in a way that connects to your own perspectives.

– Adventure Sports magazine

We encourage you to visit Boone and enjoy our majestic community. You’ll find streets filled with quaint restaurants, art galleries and retail shops that combine a strong local business spirit with brands that resonate regionally and nationally.

“Best Small Towns – Top 10”

If you need any assistance with your business or family relocation, retirement planning or vacation itinerary, just give us a call—we’re here to make you feel at home in the High Country. If you are a local resident, we thank you for continuing to support business interests that help fuel our community.

– Outside Magazine

“Ranked in Top 10 Tri-Towns” – Triathlete magazine

Together we can continue to experience all that makes the Boone area a great place to work and live while extending a warm welcome to the visitors that will help further grow our economy and notoriety. Enjoy!

David Jackson “10 Great Small Towns with Huge Backyards”

David Jackson Boone Area Chamber of Commerce

– USA Today

34-page profile in US Airways Magazine



Boone Area Chamber of Commerce www.boonechamber.com

Business/Economic Development www.wataugaedc.org

Boone/Watauga Tourism www.exploreboonearea.com

Blue Ridge Parkway www.blueridgeparkway.org

Boone My Hometown www.wataugademocrat.com

High Country Living www.highcountrylivingnc.com

High Country Host www.highcountryhost.com

News and Events www.highcountrync.com

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Boone My Hometown 2018-19 | 7

Welcome | D

id you know that the town of Boone was officially chartered in 1875 with approximately 850 residents? Today Boone has a population of over 19,000. Did you know that our town’s name was changed from Councill’s Store to Boone in 1875 because the frontier explorer Daniel Boone camped here in the 1760s? Did you know that Boone’s elevation of 3,300 feet above sea level makes it the highest town for its size east of the Mississippi River? As these bits of information suggest, Boone is a very interesting and unique place. My wife, Lana, and I have lived in Boone since 1973. Much has changed over the years. Our downtown is more vibrant Brantz and attractive, with first-rate restaurants, interesting shops and notable historic sites such as our Jones House Community Center and historic post office. In the evenings, you can now find varied musical entertainment, ranging from “old-time” mountain music at the Jones House on Thursday evenings to jazz and other musical styles at numerous downtown venues. Many visitors pause for a moment downtown to admire the recently dedicated Doc Watson sculpture honoring one of our musical legends. The historic Appalachian Theatre is being revitalized for downtown music, movies and plays. Elsewhere in Boone you will find many citizens visiting the farmers’ market on Saturdays during the summer and fall. For five weeks in the summer, Boone’s Southern Appalachian Historical Association presents “Horn in the West,”

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From Boone Mayor Rennie Brantz

the second-oldest outdoor historical drama in the U.S. And throughout the year, there are downtown celebrations from Christmas parades to our Halloween “Boo.” Appalachian State University has grown significantly in the last 44 years, adding enormously to our community with its wide range of cultural, intellectual and sporting events. The 19,000-plus students add energy, enthusiasm, new ideas and considerable public service in our community. As a retired professor of history at Appalachian, I am proud of what Appalachian’s students, faculty and staff have accomplished. Our outstanding schools, efficient municipal government and beautiful greenways and parks also contribute to the unique charm of Boone. In addition, visitors and residents can take advantage of the nearby Blue Ridge Parkway, the Daniel Boone Native Gardens and the Tweetsie Railroad theme park. Boone is a very special place, whether you are hiking or rafting in the summer, skiing in the winter or enjoying our small town culture and atmosphere. And while here, you can always count on help from friendly people in Boone if you get lost or can’t find your destination. Information is also available from the professional staff at the Town Hall at 567 West King St. or the Boone Area Chamber of Commerce at 870 West King St., Suite A. I hope you enjoy your stay in “Boone My Hometown” and plan to visit us many times win the future. Rennie Brantz, Mayor of Boone

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Boone My Hometown 2018-19 | 9

Map of Watauga SOURCE: WATAUGA COUNTY GIS This map of Watauga County shows major highways, the town of Boone city limits and other communities and townships within the area.

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FILE PHOTO An AppalCART bus passes through the Appalachian State University campus.

Boone at a Glance Small Town Living with Big Benefits BY ANNA OAKES

mall town living comes with big benefits in Boone: The county seat of Watauga County is the High Country’s regional economic center, the home of Appalachian State University, a nationally recognized outdoor recreation destination and the headquarters for top-notch education and health care systems. The town of Boone was incorporated in 1872, acquiring its name from the famous pioneer and explorer Daniel Boone, who hunted and camped in the area. Boone has the highest elevation (3,300



PHOTO BY ANNA OAKES Crowds peruse vendors on Howard Street during a street festival in downtown Boone in June 2018.

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BY THE NUMBERS BOONE, WATAUGA COUNTY The following information is compiled from the U.S. Census Bureau, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Watauga County and the N.C. Department of Commerce.


• Population, 2017 estimate: Boone, 19,205; Watauga County, 55,121 • Percent population estimate change from April 1, 2010, to July 1, 2017: Boone, 12.2 percent; Watauga County, 7.9 percent


• Land area in square miles, 2010: Boone: 6.13; Watauga County, 312.56 • Persons per square mile, 2010: Boone, 2,792.8; Watauga, 163.4


• Average maximum temperature, July (19812010): 78.9 °F • Average minimum temperature, January (1981-2010): 20.7 °F • Normal annual precipitation (1981-2010): 52.66 inches • Normal annual snowfall (1981-2010):

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35.3 inches


• Percent of persons 25 and older with a high school diploma or higher, 2016: Boone, 90.1 percent; Watauga, 88 percent • Percent of persons 25 and older with a bachelor’s degree or higher, 2016: Boone, 49.7 percent; Watauga, 38.9 percent


• Median household income, 2016: $39,443 • Percent of persons below poverty level, 2016: 31.3 percent* * A 2013 report from the U.S. Census Bureau found that the presence of off-campus college students can skew a community’s poverty rates higher


• Owner-occupied units, 2016: Boone, 21.4 percent; Watauga, 58.8 percent • Median value of owner-occupied housing units, 2016: Boone, $257,000; Watauga, $230,700

FILE PHOTO Nicki Cavuoto, a member of the Inspiral Fire Tribe, uses a hula hoop and represents Mellow Mushroom during Boone’s inaugural St. Patrick’s Day parade in March 2018.


• Property tax rate (per $100 valuation): Boone, $0.41; Watauga, $0.353 • Unemployment rate, Watauga County, August 2018: 3.5 percent • Average travel time to work, 2016: Boone, 13.3 minutes; Watauga, 19.8 minutes

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feet) of any town of its size (greater than 10,000 population) east of the Mississippi River. The altitude contributes to mild summer weather — an escape from the heat and humidity of the greater South — and snowfalls create winter wonderlands. Travelers access Boone via U.S. 421, U.S. 321 and U.S. 221, which provide access to Interstates 40, 77, 85, 81 and 26. The Blue Ridge Parkway — a scenic mountain road and national park that traverses 469 miles in North Carolina and Virginia — also passes through the county. Multiple neighborhoods are within walking distance of downtown Boone, which offers a vibrant mix of college town culture, mountain heritage and arts, as well as commerce, with diverse businesses, restaurants, shops and boutiques. One of the town’s greatest amenities is the AppalCART transit service, which provides free transportation around town, with additional routes in the county available for a small fee.

FILE PHOTO The Boone Greenway Trail is snow covered after the first significant snowfall of the season in December 2017.

Appalachian State University — one of the largest universities in the public University of North Carolina system — provides amenities and economic benefits comparable to those in a much larger city. And the town is actively supportive of the local agricultural sector, with farmers markets and retailers that provide year-round access to locally grown and raised produce and products.

According to the N.C. State Bureau of Investigation, Watauga County and Boone have much lower crime rates than other areas in North Carolina. Watauga County’s 2016 index crime rate of 1,607.8 per 100,000 people is significantly lower than the state average rate of 3,154.5 per 100,000, as is the violent crime rate — 125.6 per 100,000 in Watauga compared to the state average of 374.9 per 100,000.

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Local Agencies and Important Phone Numbers (All numbers are within the 828 area code) Fire, Rescue and Police.....................................................911 Boone Police Department (non-emergency) ....... 269-6900 Boone Fire Department (non-emergency)............268-6180 Watauga County Sheriff’s Office............................ 264-3761 University Police ................................................... 262-8000 Boone Town Hall .................................................. 268-6200 Boone Planning and Inspections.......................... 268-6960 Boone Public Works ............................................. 268-6230 Health Department (AppHealthCare) ..................264-4995 Watauga Medical Center .......................................262-4100 Watauga County Public Library ............................264-8784 Watauga County Schools ....................................... 264-7190 Blue Ridge Energy ................................................ 264-8894 New River Light & Power ...................................... 264-3671 SkyLine/SkyBest.............................963-1350 and 865-1350 Watauga County Parks and Recreation .................264-9511 Appalachian State University ............................... 262-2000 Caldwell Community College .................................297-3811 Boone Area Chamber of Commerce ......................264-2225 High Country Host (Visitor Center) ...................... 264-1299 Boone Tourism Development Authority ............... 266-1345 Watauga Democrat Newspaper .......................... 264-1881

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Boone: A Community That

Invests in Itself ultiple institutions and organizations working in concert are the ingredients for a thriving economy — and Boone has a coveted recipe. David Jackson, president of the Boone Area Chamber of Commerce, commented that among the major drivers of economic development in the area are a strong local education system, quality health care options, recreational opportunities for children and ways to filter money back into local efforts. In order to have a strong local economy, Watauga County Schools Superintendent Scott Elliott said the area must have a highly successful, attractive




PHOTO SUBMITTED Watauga County Schools Superintendent Scott Elliott joins Green Valley students Olivia Bryan, Timothy Richards and Sawyer Weaver at a work station during a STEM day at the school’s library.

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school system that is aligned to community needs and also helps to draw people in. The answer to benefiting local economy as well as the school system is to work “hand-inhand,” he added. “We have to work closely together, and when we do the community benefits,” Elliott said. Jackson said one of the first questions the chamber is asked during the relocation process for a family centers around the quality of local education options. “We are fortunate here in Watauga County to house one of the best public school districts in the state of North Carolina, and we promote Watauga County Schools as a true benefit families can enjoy should they choose to live here,” Jackson said. Elliott said he meets families often that tell him they have moved to the community because of the school system. Elliott mentioned that he knew a local family where the father commutes from multiple states away every week for work, as the family lives in the area because the family wanted the children to attend WCS.

PHOTO BY KAYLA LASURE The Watauga High School/Innovation Academy class of 2018 are pictured during the June commencement ceremony.

Molly Chamness said that when she and her family moved to Boone about a year and a half ago, the supportive business community and the quality of the schools was a big draw for them. Chamness recently started a new mobile art studio — Wild at Heart Design Co. — and said she hopes to contribute to the economic quality of the area. WCS employs 700 people and operates on a $50 million budget. Elliott said the

district tries to spend as much of its money locally as possibly by finding local contractors as well as goods/services and parts. Not only this, but Elliott said the Watauga Innovation Academy — a cooperative innovative high school operating on the Watauga High School campus — works to develop programs that it believes are aligned to local economic development SEE INVESTS ON PAGE 18

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needs. WIA partners with Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute to educate students in vocational programs to begin training and gain certifications that allow them to go on to obtain associate or bachelor’s degrees, Elliott said. “Many employers want to understand our talent pipeline and how we can help produce and retain workers for their specific businesses,” Jackson said. “Watauga High School’s CTE program helps identify skill sets at an early age, and in many cases can aid in placing talent with employers while students are still in high school.” Elliott said that WCS understands that health care is a field in huge demand in the area as well as automotive technology. It has also implemented computer science programs and programs to assist students with small businesses and entrepreneurship. Elliott said he attends EDC meetings and sits on the board for the Boone Area Chamber of Commerce. “We’re looking to expand into other areas that we know the (Economic Development Commission) and chambers of commerce see as areas for our future,” Elliott said. “We are working to implement specific industry credentials in our vocational programs so students can come out of the high school with credentials in hand that they can take into a local work force.” WCS’s vision statement is to be the “best place to learn and work in North Carolina.” “If we have an experienced, stable work force within our school system, then they will continue to grow in their wages and be more personally invested in the community by buying

homes, having children and families here,” Elliott said. “As they grow in their careers and make more money then they’re spending more, money locally and making a greater investment in the local economy.” Adding to this, Elliott said the more committed employees are to living and working in a community, they’re typically more involved and likely to be members of a civic organization or make donations to nonprofit organizations. Jackson said providing quality health care is another essential component in reassuring families and businesses looking to relocated that they can have their needs met locally. Rob Hudspeth, senior vice president of Appalachian Regional Healthcare System, stated that the provision of healthcare represents a major economic engine for the High Country region of North Carolina. Appalachian Regional Healthcare is the second largest employer in the High Country — providing jobs for more than 1,400 employees, according to Hudspeth. In 2017, Hudspeth said ARHS provided over $23 million in charity and uncompensated care. ARHS also provided $1,215,087 through its safety net programs — Latino Health Program and Appalachian Healthcare Project — and $725,043 in free medications through its Medication Assistance Program. “ARHS continues to invest in new programs and facilities to meet the demands of modern healthcare delivery,” Hudspeth said. “In the past five years, ARHS has constructed new facilities and initiated leases on several properties.” In 2015 ARHS donated 10 acres of land to Appalachian State University for its new SEE INVESTS ON PAGE 19

PHOTO SUBMITTED Appalachian Regional Healthcare system is comprised of two hospitals, 13 medical practices and a rehabilitation facility. Photographed are: Tim Edmisten, Donald Graham, Callie Crump and Kevin Wolfe.


Beaver College of Health Sciences. Hudsepth said the hospital maintains a relationship with ASU to provide more than 600 internships, clinical rotations, professional training and volunteer opportunities each year. In the next two years ARHS will modernize the campus of Charles A. Cannon Jr. Memorial Hospital into a nationally recognized, rural hospital model of the future. In 2018 The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation ranked Watauga County eighth out of 100 counties in North Carolina’s overall health rankings, according to Hudspeth. “Patients no longer need to


consider leaving the mountain for many cardiac or orthopedic procedures, because ARHS can provide those services with the same quality you’ll find in larger cities — without the headache of having to travel,” Jackson said. In addition to education and health care, folks can also find locally grown and produced foods and goods. In an effort to strengthen the area’s local food system, the Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture created the High Country Food Hub in 2016 with an online marketplace created in 2017. Food Hub Coordinator Shannon Carroll said the Food Hub started out as a way for local farmers and producers to store their products.

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PHOTO BY HAYLEY CANAL The High Country Food Hub provides various products from local producers.


“Once we got products stored there and started working with farmers and producers in the area, we looked for ways to provide other markets for them,” Carroll said. BRWIA created an online market where people can order products from local producers. The operation has grown to more than 50 producers with more than 1,000 products to choose from. The hub has currently sold approximately $75,000 worth of products; BRWIA hopes to sell about $100,000 worth of products by the end of the year, Carroll said. “If we want to have farmers and producers adding to and supporting our local economy, then we have to support them,” Carroll said. “We have to buy their products for them to continue to be in business.” The quality of recreation options in the community is often what pushes a relocation decision over the top, Jackson said. While outdoor recreation options — such as the local trails, adventure parks and attractions — are highly sought after, Jackson said the addition of the new Watauga County Community Recreation Center

will further enhance area recreational opportunities. “The new rec center will provide an enhanced hub for programming while also giving access to indoor options, especially in the colder months, that no facility has been able to match in this community before,” Jackson said. The rec center is planned to be equipped with four multiuse courts, a competition swimming pool, a leisure pool and an indoor walking track. Looking to the future, Watauga County Planning and Inspections Director Joe Furman stated that the county Economic Development Commission is continuing to focus on the development of entrepreneurs and small businesses as well as work with partners to provide co-working space to add to our entrepreneurial infrastructure. “We have good working relationships with private organizations who share those goals as well as with (Appalachian State University),” Furman said. “We plan to continue to partner with them to provide training and mentoring opportunities for new and growing local small business, and to market Watauga County to small businesses not currently located here as an ideal location to move or expand.”

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Boone Means Business Town, University Seeing Continued Growth BY THOMAS SHERRILL

ith visitor spending, real estate numbers and a business community that continue to grow, Boone has positioned itself as one of the economic drivers in rural North Carolina. With a robust population of government employees either working at Appalachian State University or Watauga County and strong private sector growth, the unemployment rate dropped to 3.7 percent in July 2018, down from 4.1 percent in 2017. The county employs 28,319 people as of July 2018, according to data from the N.C. Department of Commerce. That number was up from 27,401 recorded in 2017. Tourism remains the heartbeat of Boone, with Watauga County seeing $253.72 million in visitor spending in 2017, up 2.08 percent from 2016. The total is the 19th highest of all 100 counties in the state and one of the highest totals in a rural county. Watauga County saw 6.34 percent growth in tourismrelated payroll at $60.22 million

W PHOTO BY THOMAS SHERRILL Shops and restaurants line the streets of West King Street in downtown Boone.

— one of the highest numbers for a rural county in the state, according to an August 2018 North Carolina Department of Commerce report. According to the report, Watauga County has 2,830 people employed as a result of tourism, a 0.74 percent increase in 2017. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 38.9 percent of residents in Watauga County and 48 percent of residents of Boone are college graduates. The proximity of the university leads to collaborations and growth of knowledge in several subjects such as renewable energy, business management, health sciences, sustainable development and much more. Real estate sales in August were the highest in 13 years in the region, according to the High Country Association of Realtors, continuing a trend of residential growth to meet the demand. The Boone Area Chamber of Commerce continues its #SpendLocalInBoone campaign, where visitors and locals alike are encouraged to invest in SEE ECONOMY ON PAGE 23


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businesses owned by locals. Watauga County, more specifically the town of Boone, continues to be a hub of new construction and development. Hobby Lobby is set to open its 55,000-square-foot Boone Mall location in 2019. Ben and Jerry’s will bring its ice cream to Boone in the fall of 2018, joining fellow new West King Street restaurant My Pho, which opened in early 2018. Local favorites such as Black Cat Burrito and Macado’s in downtown Boone are undergoing renovations to enhance the customer experience and Ransom Cafe and Pub, the former Murphy’s, reopened in fall after months of renovations. Appalachian State University remains the county’s largest employer with over 3,000 employees. The employees oversee a growing university that reached the 19,000 student mark in August 2018, over 18,000 of which are located in the Boone area most months of the year. The university is expanding and updating its assets, recently cutting the ribbon on the 203,000-square-foot Leon Levine Hall of Health Sciences, next to the Watauga Medical Center. The school recently acquired the property that was the former Watauga High School and has announced athletic plans for the site, including tennis, track and field and softball facilities. Future potential uses of the space identified by ASU include a hotel with conference rooms and retail space. In 2018, ASU started moving forward with its most ambitious building plan in its history as plans for a 2,100-bed housing project, which is scheduled to take place through 2022. The project is estimated to cost at least $182 million. Boone My Hometown 2018-19 | 23

Education Across the Life Span Boone Offers Various Choices for Educational Opportunities



rom birth to lifelong continued education, Boone oers a variety of educational opportunities for area residents. Folks coming to the area are able to find options whether it be early childhood, public/private or higher education. Staying informed on the options helps a family to make the best decision for their needs.

EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION The Watauga County Children’s Council oversees several programs in the area that target the development and preparation of children to be ready to succeed in school. These program consist of family support, early literacy SEE EDUCATION ON PAGE 25

24 | Boone My Hometown 2018-19

PHOTO SUBMITTED Green Valley students Olivia Bryan, Timothy Richards and Sawyer Weaver work with their teacher Brynn Cleveland to build superhero vehicles.


programs, child care technical assistance and professional development as well as community outreach. Two of its main programs it helps to facilitate that target early childhood education are the NC Pre-K program as well as its bilingual preschool. The NC Pre-K program is for 4-year-olds and typically has students attend a full school day — about six and a half hours — for a full school year. These programs can be provided in classrooms in the public schools, licensed child care centers or Head Start programs. The Department of Family and Consumer Sciences at Appalachian State University manages the Lucy Brock Collaborative Classroom that operates three of the NC Pre-K classrooms — Parkway, Blowing Rock and Cove Creek. NC Pre-K is now in seven of the K-8 schools in the county. The only school that does not currently have a Pre-K program is Mabel. However, Watauga County Schools is interested in placing a program in that school as well. For more information on the Watauga

NC Pre-K program, visit www.thechildrenscouncil.org/nc-prekindergarten.html. The Children’s Council also offers a bilingual preschool called Diverse Unified Appropriate Learning School, or DUAL School. The classroom serves 3 to 4-yearolds and has both students who speak English and those who speak Spanish. To learn more about the DUAL school, visit www.thechildrenscouncil.org/dualschool.html.

PUBLIC SCHOOLS Watauga County Schools is the district’s public school system with more than 4,600 students and 700 employees. WCS encompasses 10 schools — eight schools serving students in grades K-8, one consolidated high school and a cooperative high school known as the Watauga Innovation Academy. The eight K-8 schools consist of Hardin Park, Green Valley, Parkway, Valle Crucis, Cove Creek, Mabel, Blowing Rock and Bethel. Students then attend Watauga High School for ninth through 12th grades, or attend the Watauga Innovation Academy. WIA allows students to earn high school

and college credit simultaneously. Students are able to take courses in automotive technology, cosmetology, mechanical engineering technology in drafting and mechanical engineering technology in welding. For the past two years, Niche.com — a company that analyzes public data to generate reports on every K-12 school in the United States — ranked WCS as the second best in the state. WCS also ranks as a top academic contender statewide, scoring in the top five for End-of-Grade and End-of-Course testing and netting the top spot statewide in eighth-grade reading. Last year, the system brought home the second-best composite ACT scores in North Carolina. Overall, WCS ranks in the top five across 12 of the state’s district ranking summary categories. The system is home to two North Carolina Green Schools of Excellence — Watauga High School and Cove Creek School. The designation recognizes schools that show the highest level of commitment to a sustainable campus and environmental edSEE EDUCATION ON PAGE 26

Boone My Hometown 2018-19 | 25

PHOTO SUBMITTED Two Rivers Community School student Hannah Critcher and science teacher Clint Byers open a package for a mummification experiment.


ucation curriculum. Students in Watauga County Schools have access to strong arts, music and outdoor education programs. Elementary and middle school students have physical education classes every day and a variety of exploratory options, from programming to robotics. Watauga County Schools charges no admission for outof-county enrollees, and is open to home school students who wish to dual enroll at Watauga High School. Home school students can earn high school and college credit by attending classes at WHS, or virtually through the North Carolina Virtual Public School. For more information, call (828) 264-7190 or visit to www.wataugaschools.org.

CHARTER SCHOOLS Boone is home to one tuition-free public charter school — Two Rivers Community School — that serves grades K-8. Director David Rizor said Two Rivers currently has 170 students coming 26 | Boone My Hometown 2018-19

from Watauga, Ashe, Avery, Wilkes and Caldwell counties with approximately 25 full- and part-time staff. Two Rivers was founded in 2005, and was recognized as an Honor School of Excellence by the state of North Carolina for the 2010-11 and 2011-12 academic years as well as recognized as a NC Green School of Quality in 2015-16. Rizor said the school has a focus centering on academics, the environment and engagement in the community. He said the school tries to approach things in a more relaxed manner rather than worrying about state tests. Rather than focusing on testing, Rizor said Two Rivers staff work hard on helping students develop as whole people by emphasizing student support as well as social/emotional development. Two Rivers operates on a positive behavior system throughout the school while helping the students to work on character development. Open enrollment for Two Rivers is typically in March or April. The school will accept applications through the beginning of the school year, Rizor SEE EDUCATION ON PAGE 28

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said. To try to enter a student into Two Rivers for the spring, applications are accepted through January, he added. For more information on Two Rivers, visit trcsboone. org. 2013





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For those looking for a Montessori experience for their students, Boone offers two opportunities — Mary’s Montessori School and Mountain Pathways. There are certain components necessary for a program to be considered authentically Montessori, according to the American Montessori Society. AMS state that these components include multiage groups that foster peer learning, uninterrupted blocks of work time and guided choice of work activity. Mary Willis, owner of Mary’s Montessori, said these types of school programs are known for using hands-on materials for learning, allowing freedom of movement and often having time outside. Willis said she received her training in 1994, worked at Mountain Pathways and then started her own school in 2002. Students at Mary’s currently attend a half-day school with a curriculum that focuses on sensorial topics, practical life tasks, self care, math, language, art and science. Mary said her school currently takes in students who are ages 2 and a half to 6 years old. Those interested in Mary’s Schools are asked to contact the school, schedule a parent visit, arrange a child visit, plan a parent conference, fill out an application and then be placed on a waiting list. For more information on

Mary’s Montessori School., visit www.marysmontessori. com. Mountain Pathways School — founded in 1987 — is a Montessori school serving children from the ages of 18 months to 14 years old, according to its Interim Director Ellen Lewis. The school is parent-owned and aims to create a safe place to explore and express individuality, encourage internal motivation in each individual, acknowledge the uniqueness of each individual and seek the positive in all situations. “It is a community that fosters respect and a lifelong love of learning by nurturing the spiritual, emotional, intellectual and physical wellbeing of its children,” Lewis said. “Learning is focused on the whole child.” The child’s personal learning style and rate of learning are met with instructional strategies and a prepared environment that are suited to his or her developmental needs, Lewis said. The school offers an experiential learning environment where children can learn in a hands-on manner. The school values creativity, independence, self-confidence, empathy and self-expression. Those wanting to enroll a student at Mountain Pathways are asked to schedule an observation of the classroom, fill out an online application and set up an interview with the student’s potential teacher. Mountain Pathways teachers and administration then meet to discuss the potential acceptance. For more information on Mountain Pathways, visit mountain-pathways.org.

CHRISTIAN SCHOOL Serving the Boone area for approximately 10 years is Grace Academy — a K-8 school SEE EDUCATION ON PAGE 29


that offers a classical Christian school experience for students. Jennifer Privette, the office manager at Grace Academy, said the school currently has 104 students enrolled with about 17 teachers/faculty members. Privette said the school operates on a college-model type schedule where students meet with teachers on Monday and Wednesday to go over curriculum and do school work either at the school or at home on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. Privette said this model allows parents to be involved in the students’ education. Classes focus on reading, writing, Latin, arithmetic and Bible history. Privette said Grace Academy is unique in that students start to learn Latin in second grade in addition to students learning history in chronological order — with the beginning of the world through present day — with each grade learning a different section of history. Families in search of more information on Grace Academy can attend the school’s open houses scheduled for Feb. 25 and March 18, 2019. If parents are interested in making a change in their students education this school year year, Privette said the family can arrange a time to speak with Headmaster Roy

Andrews. More information on Grace Academy can be found at www.graceacademyboone. com.

HOME SCHOOL Coordinated by two homeschooling parents, Wildwood ALC aims to allow children to take charge of their own learning experiences. Wildwood ALC, an Agile Learning Community, is a nonprofit program offering a community for registered homeschooling families. The fee for the school is based on a sliding scale. Wildwood gathers from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. three days a week — Monday, Tuesday and Thursday. According to Co-Director Rebekah Canu, Wildwood starts each morning with a meeting where kids are able to propose “offerings” to the group — these are classes, experiences or workshops coordinated by children or adults. Children then break into small “intention setting” groups to share their intentions and plans for the day, and then gather again at the end of the day to reflect on the experiences of the day. Wildwood is an optional experience for homeschooling families and is not a school responsible for any educational testing or curriculum, Canu said. SEE EDUCATION ON PAGE 31

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Wildwood focuses on supporting personal choices and freedom, responsibility for those choices and co-creating a positive culture based in respect, compassion and trust among members of the community. Wildwood accepts enrollments as long as space is available. For more information, visit wildwoodalc.agilelearningcenters.org. Combining works of Montessori, Reggio and traditional childhood education, Kinderwood/Imagine Bilingual offers a four-day a week program for homeschool families looking for additional social and academic opportunities for their child. The program serves children ages 4-10 years old and runs from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday through Thursday. Kinder-

wood/Imagine Bilingual focuses on crafting opportunities for independent learning while providing the support and guidance children need to be successful. Students learn math, reading, geography, grammar and science in both English and Spanish. The philosophy of Kinderwood/Imagine Bilingual allows children to learn at their own pace. To learn more about Kinderwood/Imagine Bilingual, visit www.imaginebilingual.com. For families new to the homeschool experience, the High Country Christian Home Schoolers offers support to the homeschooling community. One the HCCH website — at hcchs.com — there are steps listed to help people get started if new to home-schooling as well as a list of local homeschool families for support. The group also offers classes for “Thoughtful Thursdays,” a

gavel club — designed to help students (ages 13-18) develop communication skills, classical conversations groups to support the journey of homeschooling, an introduction to Biblical ethics class as well as humanity-based enrichment class called “Tapestry of Grace.”

HIGHER EDUCATION Boone is home to two higher education opportunities — the Watauga campus of the Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute and Appalachian State University. CCC&TI offers 30 degree, 15 diploma and 29 certificate program opportunities — 15 of these can be offered completely online. Some of these programs include accounting/ finance, business administration, culinary arts, early childhood education, emergency medical responder, information technology and nursing.

CCC&TI —overseen by President Mark Poarch — opened its doors in Caldwell County in 1973, started offering education opportunities in Watauga in 1973 and opened the current Watauga Campus in 1998. Appalachian State University — under the leadership of Chancellor Sheri Everts— currently has approximately 19,000 students enrolled. The university offers more than 150 undergraduate and graduate majors in its programs through the College of Arts and Sciences, College of Fine and Applied Arts, Reich College of Education, Walker College of Business, Hayes School of Music, Beaver College of Health Sciences and Cratis D. Williams School of Graduate Studies. For more information on these two institutions, visit www.cccti.edu and www.appstate.edu.

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PHOTO BY MARIE FREEMAN An aerial view of Appalachian State University’s campus in the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Appalachian State University The Perks of Living in a College Town


ppalachian State University is the difference between Boone being a mountain town or a mountain college town — and there are many perks and benefits to being the latter.



Founded in 1899 as the Watauga Academy and later becoming the Appalachian State Teachers College, today, Appalachian State is one of the University of North Carolina system’s largest campuses, with a fall 2018 enrollment of 19,108. Its annual costs of $14,836 for in-state students, which includes PHOTO SUBMITTED tuition, room and board, rank among the lowest among UNC The newly completed Leon Levine Hall of Health Sciences institutions. The student-to-faculty ratio is 16:1, while the average building is the first completed project funded by the Connect class size is 27. The institution is divided into seven undergraduate SEE ASU ON PAGE 35

34 | Boone My Hometown 2018-19

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colleges and a graduate school, offering more than 150 undergraduate and graduate majors. ASU regularly places high in the U.S. News and World Report’s Best Colleges rankings. More than 126,000 Mountaineer alumni currently reside in all 50 states and several foreign countries.

AN ECONOMIC ENGINE ASU is the largest employer in Watauga County, with 3,072 employees in fall 2017, including 1,842 full- and part-time faculty and administrators and 1,230 fulland part-time staff. The campus is an economic engine for the county, region and the state. An analysis by Economic Modeling Specialists International concluded that in fiscal year 2012-13, the $355.3 million in payroll and operations spending of ASU, together with its construction spending and the spending of its students, visitors and alumni, created $1.7 billion in added state income. “This is equal to approximately 0.4 percent of the total gross state product of North Carolina and is equivalent to creating 28,035 new jobs,” the analysis stated.

LIFELONG LEARNING, ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT A university offers many advantages to those living SEE ASU ON PAGE 36

APPALACHIAN STATE UNIVERSITY The following information is provided by Appalachian State University. For more information, visit appstate.edu/about. Enrollment & Alumni • Total: 19,108 • Undergraduate: 17,381 • Graduate: 1,727 • In-state students: 17,421 • Out-of-state students: 1,687 • Living alumni: 126,000 Buildings & Campus • 1,200 acres, with 375 developed • 30 academic buildings • 20 residence halls, housing about 5,600 students on campus • 3 main dining facilities • 11 recreational and athletic facilities Academics • Student/faculty ratio: 16 to 1 • Average class size: 27 • Colleges: 6 undergraduate colleges, 1 music school and 1 graduate school • Undergraduate and graduate majors: more than 150 Athletics • Varsity sports: 20 • Club sports: more than 20 • Intramural sports: more than 80 Costs Undergraduate costs, 2018-19 academic year (includes tuition and fees for 12+ credit hours, standard option meal plan, standard room and board, and most textbooks): • $14,836 in state • $29,643 out of state

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IMAGE COURTESY APPALACHIAN STATE UNIVERSITY This is an aerial view rendering of Kidd Brewer Stadium with the planned north end zone facility.


in the surrounding community, including lectures, classes, readings, forums and other educational events that are open to the public — and often free. These include the University Forum Lecture Series, Hughlene Bostian Frank Visiting Writers Series and numerous timely and informative events organized by faculty and students throughout the year. The university also offers multiple arts and entertainment opportunities, including exhibition programs and workshops in the visual arts; a performing arts series

featuring world-renowned visiting artists; theatre productions, concerts and recitals by Appalachian’s highly acclaimed Hayes School of Music and Department of Theatre & Dance; programs supporting student authors of poetry, fiction, plays and creative nonfiction; presentations and workshops by renowned authors; a popular craft enrichment series offering workshops for all ages; a nationally recognized summer arts festival; and a student-run programming series featuring an eclectic mix of artists and entertainment. The 210,000-square-foot Belk Library and Information Commons is open to regional residents and visitors with public access computers and library cards available.

Many programs at ASU focus on community outreach, including support for families of children with special needs, arts education, swim and lifeguard classes, support for ASU employees and alumni in starting a business, the Communication Disorders Clinic, fitness testing, summer camps for children, trail upkeep and maintenance, public viewing nights at the Dark Sky Observatory and after-school programs. In addition, area nonprofits and service-focused businesses benefit from countless volunteer hours contributed by ASU students, faculty and staff. Sports lovers will appreciate Appalachian State’s athletics programs, with 20 NCAA Division I varsity sports. They include the

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Mountaineer football team, which won three consecutive national championships from 2005-2007 and since 2014 has competed in the Division I Football Bowl Subdivision. App State is recognized around the country for its game day atmosphere and scenic Kidd Brewer Stadium. For more information about events at App State, visit today. appstate.edu/events.

A GROWING CAMPUS Appalachian State provides a beautiful setting in which to study, work and visit. Its campus is nestled among the peaks of the Blue Ridge Mountains, including the prominent Howard’s Knob overlooking campus and downtown Boone. Campus members can often be spotted relaxing and recreating in Appalachian’s Durham Park, on open lawns and in hammocks between shade trees. The campus encompasses 1,200 acres, with 375 acres developed, as well as 30 academic buildings, 20 residence halls, three dining facilities and 11 recreational and athletics facilities. Appalachian State is expanding its footprint with recent expansions to the old Watauga High School campus on N.C. 105 and the recently completed Leon Levine Hall of Health Sciences in Boone’s medical district. And it is revitalizing its main campus as well: a new student housing replacement project is under way, with four residential buildings to be constructed; Kidd Brewer Stadium is expanding with a new north end zone facility; a new parking deck is coming to the Stadium Lot; and a biology conservatory is slated to be the first facility in Appalachian’s new Innovation Campus atop Bodenheimer Drive. For more information about Appalachian State, visit appstate.edu. Boone My Hometown 2018-19 | 37

and Wellness Health Boone Offers Variety of Treatment Options BY THOMAS SHERRILL

ome to Appalachian Regional Healthcare System and a variety of community care, district health and animal health options, Boone and Watauga County are a center of health care in northwestern North Carolina. The results of the focus on health are reflected in the annual County Health Rankings, a collaboration between the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute. In the latest report for 2017, Watauga County ranked eighth out of 100 N.C. counties in health outcomes (length and quality of life) and 21st in health factors (health behaviors, clinical care, social and economic factors and the physical environment). Offering over 20 different types of medical services, including cardiology, behavioral, surgery and cancer, the Boonebased Appalachian Regional Healthcare System offers 11 centers of health in Boone alone plus facilities in Blowing Rock, Avery County and Ashe County. The big addition in 2018 to the medical district is the


38 | Boone My Hometown 2018-19

PHOTO BY THOMAS SHERRILL Watauga Medical Center offers emergency services, plus the Seby Jones Cancer Center and a Cardiology Center.

203,000-square-foot Leon Levine Hall of Health Sciences, part of Appalachian State University. The state-of-the-art building will give ASU students hands-on experience as part of their coursework with the Beaver College of Health Sciences. Overlooking the Boone Wellness District is Watauga Medical Center, a 117-bed regional referral medical complex, offering both primary and secondary acute and specialty care open 24 hours. Watauga Medical Center earned a four-star rating for its quality of patient care services from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services in Sep-

tember. Located adjacent to the medical center is the Seby B. Jones Regional Cancer Center and the Cardiology Center. The Jones Center is an approved community cancer care center by the American College of Surgeons’ Committee on Cancer. The district has a number of ARHS specialty services, including the Harmony Center for Women, AppGastro, the Lung Center, Boone Urology Center, the Outpatient Imaging and Lab Center, as well as the Wilma Redmond Breast Center and the Paul Broyhill Wellness Center and Rehabilitation Center on Boone Heights Drive. AppUrgent Care Center is located at 2146 Blowing Rock Road in Boone. The center provides walk-in care to patients with non-life threatening illness or injury and is open 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Patients of ARHS who aren’t ready to go home yet can stay at The Foley Center at Chestnut Ridge in Blowing Rock. The 112-

bed facility replaced the Blowing Rock Rehabilitation and Davant Extended Care Center (formerly Blowing Rock Hospital) in late 2016 and early 2017. For the percentage of the population that is uninsured, community health options with sliding scales of payment are available. High Country Community Health, located at 108 Doctors Drive, and the Community Care Clinic at 141 Health Center Drive, Unit B, provide affordable primary care, behavioral health and dental services. AppHealthCare, formerly Appalachian District Health Department, has several offices in its three-county footprint. The Watauga Health Center, located at 126 Poplar Grove Connector in Boone, provides many services such as clinical care, nutrition services, services for women, infants and children, community health services and environmental health services. AppHealthCare has accreditation through the North Carolina Local Health Department Accreditation Board. Along with traditional health services, Boone offers a number of alternative and holistic health services in the Boone area, including acupuncture, massage, Chinese herbal medicine, chiropractors, laser therapy and more. Pet care is becoming more important in the area. Veterinarian offices such as the Pet Care Clinic of the High Country at 1710 N.C. 105, Appalachian New River Veterinary Associates at 218 Wilson Drive, the Watauga Veterinary Hospital at 2531 U.S. 421 and the Animal Emergency Clinic of the High Country at 2773 N.C. 105 all offer comprehensive animal care.

Boone , a Great Place to Call

Home — or Second Home BY LESLIE EASON, REALTOR leslie@easonteam.com

he real estate market in Boone, Watauga County and the High Country overall has been very strong in 2018. This area oers a wide variety of home types and styles, from mountain and log homes to farmhouses with acreage to condos. What is not common in this area are large subdivisions with similar homes. The Boone area has a high percentage of second homes, although more primary homes than most of the High Country because it is the business center of the High Leslie Eason Country and home to Appalachian State University. It is a great testament to our area that many Appalachian



Boone My Hometown 2018-19 | 39

APARTMENTS AND RENTAL PROPERTIES The rental market in Boone is dominated by student rental apartments and condos, and leases generally follow the period of Aug. 1 through July 31. There is not a very strong selection of rental homes for families, although they can be found. Most rental properties are available through property management companies. The best bet for anyone looking for a rental property is to use these three sources: 1. Search “Long Term Rentals Near Boone” on your Internet browser. All of the property management companies will appear in the search. 2. Look in the classifieds section of the local papers, which are also available online. The largest classifieds section is in The Mountain Times and Watauga Democrat. 3. Look on Craigslist Boone: https://boone.craigslist.org/. Even the rental companies post their listings there. Just be aware that there are many scammers on Craigslist. If it looks too good to be true, it likely is. Never send a deposit to someone without seeing the property inside in person.


State alumni return to this area to purchase their vacation home. STRONG GROWTH: Residential real estate sales of single-family homes and condos is up 26.4 percent in Boone this year on a combination of a 19.6 percent increase in unit sales and 6.7 percent growth in median home price. See the graphic with this article. PRICING: Prices are increasing at solid and sustainable rates. Until two or three years ago, pricing in this area was suppressed from the fallout after the recession and is now showing gains. Median home price in Boone year to date is $270,000 and average price is $313,344. Blowing Rock has the highest prices in the area, followed by Boone and Valle Crucis. If you are looking for lower prices, you just need to go further out in the county, where the median sales price is below $190,000. INVENTORY: The Boone and overall High Country real estate market is unique 40 | Boone My Hometown 2018-19

and appealing to buyers in that there is always an inventory of homes and land. This differs markedly from larger cities where home inventory is scarce. This is because there is not a significant amount of industry in this area creating “necessary relocations,” and a large proportion of homes are vacation homes. This results in a longer purchase cycle and a long pipeline of homes on the market. This year we are seeing a marked shortening of time on market to a median days on market of about three months. Log homes and student condos tend to move more quickly, as do homes priced under $250,000. Buyers are finding that they need to start working with a real estate agent earlier in the purchase process and act quickly when these types of properties hit the market. TIMES OF YEAR TO LOOK: Traditionally the “season” for Boone real estate sales has been May through October. However, in recent years sales have begun to even out across the SEE HOME ON PAGE 41


828.264.2762 142 Doctors Drive | Boone, NC 28607 www.BooneNCDentist.com


entire year. While there are more homes on the market in the summer, in fall and winter sellers are taking price reductions and there is good inventory throughout the year. CONDOMINIUM MARKET: The condo market continues to outpace the overall market as it did in 2017. Buyers are increasingly wanting less maintenance and worry while they are out of town. Year to date there have been 191 condo sales in the Boone area for a sales volume increase of 39.1 percent. A big driver of sales is the Echota development in the Foscoe area, where there is newer inventory.

There has been limited inventory of student condos. If you are an ASU parent thinking about purchasing a condo for your student, start early and act fast! FINDING HOMES: Visitors to Boone often wonder where to find the homes they see online and in magazines. A large portion of the homes in Boone are tucked away in small subdivisions and neighborhoods, and with the mountain terrain and numerous back roads, it is difficult to really know where to find many of these homes. If you are interested in purchasing a home and want to get a feel for these neighborhoods, your best bet is to contact a local Realtor. The seller pays the Realtor’s commission, so there is no cost to you.

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Aging made Easier Senior Living and Services in Boone BY MACKENZIE FRANCISCO

ging is a part of life, and Watauga County offers many programs and resources for older adults to ensure that it’s a part of life that’s enjoyable.


WATAUGA COUNTY PROJECT ON AGING Watauga County’s Project on Aging program serves as a canopy for two of the county’s main senior centers: the Lois E. Harrill Senior Center and the Western Watauga Senior Center. Project on Aging is a county department that’s unique among other departments around the state because it provides services like in-home aid, home-delivered meals and transportation free of charge for those above the age of 60. According to Project on Aging Director Angie Boitnotte, Project on Aging provides in-home PHOTO BY MACKENZIE FRANCISCO aide for those who are 60 years of age or older, unable From left, Sarah Mackey, Judy Trulock, Carolyn Owens and Linda Marto carry out essential tasks, have no caregiver available SEE SENIORS ON PAGE 43 coux play the card game Rook at Lois E. Harrill Senior Center.



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to perform the tasks, or need the services in order to remain at home. Through this program, a certified nurses assistant will come into a home for up to four hours per week at no cost for those with no primary caregiver, or to provide relief for primary caregivers. The home-delivered meals program provides nutritionally balanced meals for those who are home-bound in order to improve their health conditions. Additionally, Project on Aging provides congregate nutrition services at both Lois E. Harrill Senior Center and the Western Watauga Senior Center and transportation through AppalCART that allows seniors to be shuttled to and from the senior centers. Project on Aging also offers a Community Alternatives Program for Disabled Adults (CAP/DA) — a Medicaid-funded program that serves as an alternative to finding nursing home placement, legal assistance and yearly flu/pneumonia shots. Referral forms for the in-home aide and home-delivered meal services may be submitted to Project on Aging and approved by the department in order for seniors to

PHOTO BY MACKENZIE FRANCISCO Shirley Hamby (left) and Thelma Edmiston (right) prepare to play bingo at the Lois E. Harrill Senior Center.

receive the services, but all other services are available for anyone above the age of 60. Project on Aging receives the majority of its funding through Watauga County, which makes it possible to provide services free of charge. “We truly couldn’t do what we do without

the continuous support of Watauga County and our county commissioners,” Boitnotte said. Ensuring that senior citizens remain social, active and engaged is also a goal of SEE SENIORS ON PAGE 45

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Project on Aging. The Lois E. Harrill Senior Center and Western Watauga Senior Center in Sugar Grove act as a gateway for social engagement and fun — something that Lois E. Harrill Senior Center Director Billie Jo Lister said is imperative for older adults. Both centers offer a wide range of classes and activities, from line dancing and Tai Chi, to pottery and weaving classes. Older adults from both senior centers also participate in the High Country Senior Games each year, starting at the local level and advancing as far as the national level. From its free services and resources, to social activities and fun, Project on Aging has made it a mission to care for the senior citizen community in Watauga County and provide opportunities that make the golden years even brighter. For more information on Project on Aging, the Lois E. Harrill Center or the Western Watauga Community Center, call 828265-8090 or 828-297-5195.

HIGH COUNTRY AREA AGENCY ON AGING The High Country Area Agency on Aging is an additional resource for older adults. High Country Area Agency on Aging provides support services to help older adults and adults with disabilities live on their

and Rehabilitation Center MORE PROGRAMS Locally, there are many specializes in assisted living and residential living services. Glen- workshops, lectures, readings and classes offered through Apbridge provides assistance with palachian State, the community everyday activities, features a college and local arts programs hospice care unit and provides on-site health care services. For that provide educational opportunities for seniors. more information on GlenAppalachian also provides the bridge Health and Rehabilitation Center, call 828-264-6720. Appalachian Senior Companion Program and the Appalachian In nearby Blowing Rock, Foster Grandparent Program. the 112-bed Foley Center at Through the Appalachian SeChestnut Ridge serves as a nior Companion Program, secost-saving alternative for nior citizens ages 55 and older patients healthy enough to be ADDITIONAL RESIDENTIAL help their peer senior citizens discharged from the hospital AND SHORT-TERM SERVICES (post-acute), but not quite remain independent. Boone is home to a myriad Through the Appalachian ready to safely return home. of residential and short-term Foster Grandparent Program, Residents and patients benefit care services for older adults. senior citizens ages 55 and from on-site physicians, short Deerfield Ridge Assisted Living and long-term care, skilled above provide support services offers amenities such as 24to infants and youths up to nursing, rehabilitation services, hour access to Certified Nursing memory support, assisted living the teenage years who have Assistants and personal care particular emotional, social or and palliative care. In addition, staff, meal services, transporeducational needs. the Chestnut Ridge campus is tation services and on-site The Paul H. Broyhill Wellness home to Harriet and Charles physical, occupational and Center also provides various Davant Jr. Medical Clinic and respiratory services. For more services seniors can take advanBoone Drug’s Village Pharinformation on Deerfield Ridge macy. tage of. Assisted Living, visit www. ridgecare.com/communities/ deerfield-ridge-assisted-living or call 828-264-0336. Appalachian Brian Estates is a short-term and residential care provider that offers rehabilitation, assisted and independent living and nursing services We’re deeply committed to providing and more. For more informaour neighbors with the best solutions tion on Appalachian Brian Estates, visit www.choice-health. for a variety of services to protect your net or call 828-264-1006. most valuable asset-your home. Serving the High Country since 1977, Glenbridge Health • Residential & Commercial Pest Control own in their homes and community. The High Country Area Agency on Aging is overseen by the North Carolina Division of Aging and Adult Services. Older adults in need of assistance may utilize High Country Area Agency on Aging’s nutrition services, health and wellness services and more. For more information on the High Country Area Agency on Aging, visit www.highcountryaging.org or call 828-265-5434.


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IMAGE COURTESY OF CLARK NEXEN A schematic drawing depicts the future county recreation center.

So Many Ways to Play Boone is a Recreation Destination



ou could simply call it “base camp” — in Boone, you are mere minutes away from national and state parks, some of the highest peaks on the East Coast and the trout-filled headwaters of four major rivers. The High Country’s mountain terrain and climate contribute to a strong tourism base and provide year-round opportunities for residents and visitors to enjoy a variety of sports and outdoor activities, including hiking, boating, camping, biking, skiing, climbing and fishing. And Boone will soon be a center for indoor sports and recreation as well, with the 2020 opening of a new indoor recreation center.

PARKS North Carolina’s northwestern corner is home to many parks and dedicated green space areas, from national parks to privately run community parks. 46 | Boone My Hometown 2018-19

FILE PHOTO Visitors to Julian Price Lake on the Blue Ridge Parkway just south of Blowing Rock can rent canoes and kayak.

Passing just south of Boone is the Blue Ridge Parkway — the most-visited national park in the country — a paved road with 469 miles of scenic beauty,

overlooks, trails, campgrounds and other facilities across the mountains of North Carolina and Virginia. Two parks that SEE RECREATION ON PAGE 47


are part of the Parkway system include the beautiful Moses Cone estate and Price Park, offering miles of trails, horseback riding, a campground, canoe and boat rentals, picnic areas and more. Just south of Boone and Blowing Rock, citizens can access the federal lands of the Pisgah National Forest, providing opportunities for hiking, camping, backpacking, fishing, hunting, climbing and swimming. The Pisgah National Forest includes the Linville Gorge Wilderness Area — known as the “Grand Canyon of the East.” State parks in the region include Grandfather Mountain State Park, Elk Knob State Park, New River State Park and Mount Jefferson State Natural Area — and many of these parks are continuing to grow in size as area conservancies secure more acreage. These parks offer opportunities for hiking, picnicking, camping, backpacking, canoeing, kayaking, tubing, ranger-led programs and special events. Community and local government-operated parks in the Boone area include Brookshire Park, Jaycees Park, Junaluska Park, Howard Knob Park, Durham Park, Valle Crucis Park, Memorial Park in Blowing Rock, Green Valley Park and many others. The parks’ amenities vary, including green space, picnic areas, covered shelters, playing fields, playground equipment, walking trails, stream access and more.

YOUTH AND ADULT SPORTS The Watauga Parks and Recreation Department offers multiple recreational activities for youth and adults in and around Boone. The department sponsors youth football, soccer, basketball, volleyball, baseball and softball. The Recreation Complex is on nine acres of land and includes baseball and softball fields, an indoor swimming pool, four tennis courts, an outdoor basketball court, a playground, three picnic shelters and restroom facilities. In addition, Optimist Park is home to two baseball fields, and the Ted Mackorell Soccer Complex has two fulllength soccer fields. In fall 2018, the county broke ground on a new, state-of-the art indoor recreation center, which will be located off of State Farm Road in Boone. The rec center will feature four multi-use courts, a competition swimming pool, a leisure pool, locker rooms, a walking track, a space for gym equipment and party rooms for public use. The High Country Soccer Association sponsors teams that play in a variety of age groups and against teams from throughout the area. In addition, amateur leagues and clubs exist for casual competition in ultimate (disc), disc golf and other sports.

WALKING AND BIKING TRAILS Currently, the area’s most exciting trail project is the Middle Fork Greenway — a paved hiking and biking trail that will eventually link Boone to Blowing Rock along the Middle Fork tributary of the South Fork New River. The trail, which is being completed one section at a time as funds are raised, will

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provide connections to downtown Blowing Rock, the Blue Ridge Parkway, the Mountains-to-Sea Trail and the Boone Greenway Trail. Want more info? Visit MiddleForkGreenway.org. The Boone Greenway Trail offers several miles of paved trail in town limits for transportation, leisure and exercise. Access points include the Watauga County Recreation Complex and Clawson-Burnley Park off of State Farm Road, beside the Moose Lodge on Deerfield Road and the former Watauga Humane Society parking lot on Casey Lane. From there, the trail can connect with Brookshire Park north of U.S. 421 via New River Hills Road and a highway underpass. The Blue Ridge Parkway’s Moses Cone Memorial Park near Blowing Rock also offers an extensive gravel trail system that is beloved by the area’s many running and horseback-riding enthusiasts.


PHOTO BY TIM FOOTE Taylor McNeill climbs The Thimble at Buckeye Knob in Watauga County.

The Boone area provides varied terrain and scenic views for amateur and competitive cyclists and is home to several major road events, including the Blood, Sweat and Gears Bike Ride in June, a fundraiser. Rocky Knob Park is a destination mountain biking park located on the east side of Boone, with several miles of intermediate to difficult trails. Beech Mountain offers additional mountain biking opportunities at the Emerald Outback trail SEE RECREATION ON PAGE 49

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system as well as at Beech Mountain Resort. Sugar Mountain Resort also features a mountain bike park with beginner and intermediate trails.

SKIING AND SNOW SPORTS During the winter months, the ski industry is often the first place tourists and local residents alike look for adventure and fun. Just 15 minutes south of Boone just off of Highway 321 is Appalachian Ski Mtn. Appalachian Ski offers ski and snowboarding trails for beginners, intermediate and advanced skiers. The resort also has ski and snowboarding rentals for those who don’t own their own equipment. Ski or snowboarding lessons are available through the French Swiss Ski College. Appalachian Ski Mtn. also has an ice rink, a restaurant and lodging. In addition, Sugar Mountain Resort and Beech Mountain Resort are both located about 30 minutes from Boone close to nearby Banner Elk. Sugar Mountain also has tubing and ice skating. It also has a restaurant, lodging and shopping available. Beech Mountain Resort is located just beyond Banner Elk. Its summit is 5,506 feet and the resort offers rentals, lessons, lodging and trails of various difficulties. Hawksnest in Seven Devils offers snow tubing in the winter and ziplining in the warmer months.

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GOLF There are also several golf courses within the town of Boone. The Boone Golf Club is a public 18-hole golf course with a practice green and a restaurant and clubhouse. The Mountaineer Driving Range and Golf Center located off N.C. Highway 105 Extension offers a driving range and golf instruction for all levels of ability. There are also two other public golf courses close to Boone. The Willow Creek Golf Club is located in Vilas and the Sugar Mountain Golf Club is located in Sugar Mountain.

OUTDOOR ADVENTURES The High Country is also known for top-notch rock climbing opportunities; caving; river sports such as fly-fishing, whitewater rafting, canoeing, kayaking and tubing; and even hanggliding and paragliding. There are a number of local outfitters who can help guide you on these adventures, including River & Earth Adventures, Wahoo’s Outdoor Adventures, Rock Dimensions Climbing Guides and River Girl Fishing. Guides such as VX3 Trail Rides offer horseback riding excursions, while Hawksnest and Sky Valley Zip Tours will take you on a zipline adventure.

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PHOTO SUBMITTED The Spring Appalachian Dance Ensemble features Appalachian faculty, students and guest artists.

Staying on Beat Arts and Entertainment Thrives in Boone BY SYDNEY WOLFORD

orld-renowned entertainers and up-andcomers alike can find an audience in Boone. From professional dance companies to international solo acts to local groups, this small High Country town offers plenty of opportunity for an incredible entertainment experience.


APPALACHIAN STATE UNIVERSITY PERFORMANCE VENUES Schaefer Center for the Performing Arts The 1,673-seat Schaefer Center has hosted world-class dance acts, duet violinists, comedians and well-known 50 | Boone My Hometown 2018-19

musicians. The likes of Crosby, Stills and Nash alum Stephen Stills & Judy Collins, Broadway star Kristin Chenoweth, “Modern Family” and “Workaholics” actor and comedian Adam Devine, duet Black Violin and all-male comic dance company Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo have all graced the stage over the course of one year. The Schaefer Center also offers An Appalachian Summer Festival, a combination of performers, presentations and a film series throughout the summer. For more on Schaefer Center events, visit theschaefercenter.org. Legends Don’t underestimate this intimate performance setting. Legends brings powerful acts. In the past year, Legends has hosted Boone-based indie band Rain-

bow Kitten Surprise to Chapel Hill-based Americana group Mipso to country singer Corey Smith among several other acts and genres. In addition to concerts, Legends is also home to contra dances, an annual Battle of the Bands and Appalachian State club events. For more information about events at Legends, visit legends.appstate. edu. Holmes Convocation Center While this performance venue on Rivers Street is used for basketball and volleyball games, it can also seat up to 6,500 for a variety of concerts and shows. Boasting performers such as Kool and the Gang, The Avett Brothers and chart-toppers Migos, the venue has become Boone’s connection to prominent national and SEE ARTS ON PAGE 51


international acts in the past two decades. To learn more about Holmes Convocation Center, visit theholmescenter.appstate.edu. Valborg Theatre Appalachian’s Valborg Theatre is home to the Department of Theatre and Dance performances, such as “The Laramie Project” and “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street.” The venue has also offered its stage and 334 seats for a free surprise Luke Combs show. For a full list of Appalachian State’s theater and dance performances at Valborg, visit theatreanddance.appstate.edu/performances/ venues. I.G. Greer Studio Theatre Although this space is used for classes, it also offers a stage and 80 seats for Department of Theatre and Dance performances. Student performances and one-act performances typically find their way to this stage in the heart of Appalachian State’s campus.

BOONE PERFORMANCE VENUES Appalachian Theatre of the High Country (future venue)

A King Street landmark, the Appalachian Theatre of the High Country will soon be equipped for live theater performances by summer 2019. The theater, which held live shows from 1938 to 1950 endured a fire in 1950, and was gutted that year. The theater reopened as a movie theater after rebuilding from the fire, until it closed once again in 2007. The ATHC formed in 2012 to revitalize the theater to its 1930s glory and eventually offer live theater performances on its new stage. To learn more about the theater’s renovation process, visit www.apptheatre.org. Harvest House Performing Arts Venue The Harvest House is home to worships on Sundays when it functions as a church, but it also provides a stage for local musicians. Joe Shannon’s Mountain Home Music regularly hosts regional and local acts at Harvest House such as local legends The Jeff Little Trio, Carolina Chocolate Drops founder Don Flemons and IBMA-nominated Cane Mill Road. Local rock band Echo Park performed their rendition of rock opera “The Wall” by Pink Floyd at Harvest House as well. For more information about the performing

arts venue, visit www.boonevenue.com. Jones House Cultural and Community Center For all of the bluegrass and old-time fans, the Jones House is the place to be. Every Friday in the summer, the historic home on King Street hosts a different solo act or group to play for an audience free of charge on the lawn. Bring a comfortable chair or blanket and enjoy the local and regional talent in downtown Boone. In addition to the summer concerts, the cultural and community center offers music lessons, indoor concerts and weekly jam sessions. Visit www.joneshouse.org to learn more about the town of Boone’s Cultural Resources Department and its seasonal events.

FESTIVALS IN THE AREA There’s plenty of talent to be celebrated and fun to be had in one of the many festivals Boone and surrounding areas have to offer. An Appalachian Summer Festival — Boone An Appalachian Summer Festival, put SEE ARTS ON PAGE 52

Boone My Hometown 2018-19 | 51


on by Appalachian State University’s Office of Arts and Cultural Programs, will host its 35th season during summer 2019. The festival includes aspects of music, theater, dance, film and visual arts, and has hosted Rhiannon Giddens of Carolina Chocolate Drops fame, Broadway singer Kristin Chenoweth and Kool and the Gang at the Holmes Convocation Center. In addition to live music, the festival puts on the Weicholz Global Film Series, which puts movies from all over the world on display that follow a theme such as summer 2018’s “A Year of Women in Film.” In addition, workshops and a lunch and learn series are included in the summer-long festival. Check back for the schedule for next summer at appsummer.org/schedule. MerleFest — Wilkesboro The High Country boasts great musicians across several different genres, and Doc and his son Eddy Merle Watson were some of the greatest. MerleFest began more than 30 years ago in memory of Eddy Merle Watson, and has grown immensely since then. The festival features a lineup of “traditional plus” musicians, meaning performers can range anywhere from traditional Appalachian to bluegrass to roots to blues to everything else in between. Hosted at Wilkes Community College, the festival also benefits students there. The 2019 festival, which will run from April 25-28, will release its lineup by November. Visit merlefest. org for the upcoming lineup and more information about this festival. Woolly Worm Festival — Banner Elk The humble woolly worm has been looked to for winter weather predictions and racing competitions for more than 40 years now in the High Country. Anyone can race a worm with the chance of taking home the $1,000 first prize and your woolly worm having the chance to predict the winter forecast. While the woolly worms race, spectators can peruse the 140 vendors on site. All proceeds from the festival go back to community schools, children’s programs and promoting business and tourism in Avery County. To learn more about the festival, which always falls on the third weekend in October, visit www.woollyworm.com. Grandfather Mountain Highland Games — Grandfather Mountain To celebrate Scottish heritage with dancing, food, music and even sheep herding, look no further than the Grandfather Mountain Highland Games held every July. Tens of thousands of people from all over travel to celebrate and partake in fun competitions with their clans. While the weekend features strenuous physical activity, like “The Bear,” a five-mile uphill race, it also hosts a variety of Celtic music for four days to help attendees recharge. To learn more about the festival, go to www.gmhg.org/ homepage.shtml. Carolina Ramble and Reunion — Vilas This family-friendly fall festival, hosted by the band Possum Jenkins, hosts a lineup of local legends over the course of a weekend at Brayshaw Farm. Those in attendance can look forward to great live music as well as sack races, cake walks, bonfires and more for adults and children. Festival-goers have the option to SEE ARTS ON PAGE 53

52 | Boone My Hometown 2018-19


camp out over the weekend or join for the day. For more information on the festival, visit www.carolinaramble.com. Other notable festivals include Valle Country Fair in Valle Crucis every October, Boone Film Fest in November, Banff Mountain Film Festival in March, High Country Beer Fest in August, Oktoberfest in Sugar Grove and WinterFest in Blowing Rock. Night Life There is no shortage of live music and fun in Boone. Local restaurants, breweries and wineries host musicians, trivia nights, music match-ups and open mic nights for music- and game-lovers alike. Restaurants Tapp Room and Cafe Portofino as well as brewery Appalachian Mountain Brewery regularly host local performers from first-time open mic singers to seasoned musicians in the area. For weekly updates of High Country nightlife, check out the Mountain Times‘ Nightlife Listings. Art Galleries Boone’s art and entertainment scene is made complete with its myriad of local artists and local art galleries, often featuring the beautiful scenery in the area. Galleries in Boone include the Watauga County Arts Council’s Blue Ridge ArtSpace, Doe Ridge Pottery, Hands Gallery, the Jones House gallery, Nth Degree Gallery and Turchin Center for the Visual Arts. Every first Friday of the month, the town of Boone has an art crawl, which allows visitors to peruse local galleries and shops in downtown Boone. The galleries in the area consistently keep their exhibitions fresh with new shows by local and regional artists.

Boone My Hometown 2018-19 | 53

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Sips and Bites Around Town

of the restaurants’ imaginative and creative menus using local ingredients.


rom award-winning cuisine to local brews and fresh produce, Boone provides food and drink for all tastes.



RESTAURANTS Boone showcases its Southern roots with comfort foods such as biscuits and gravy, barbecue and chicken and dumplings, but there’s more to the area’s cuisine than meets the eye. While Southern food is a classic in the area, international cuisines such as Thai, Vietnamese, Italian, Indian, Mexican and Japanese can be found around town. Many restaurants in Boone serve locally grown foods and produce in their delectable dishes from breakfast, to lunch, to dinner

PHOTO BY SHAUNA CALDWELL King Street Market vendor Casey Jordaan of Mountainwise Farms in Vilas assists customer ReAnna Bledsoe.

and desserts, which makes for a one-of-a-kind meal. A fast, casual meal is available from fast food chains, a local fast food restaurant and grab and go pastries, sandwiches or salads for someone

on the go. Additionally, many Boone restaurants have the option for take-out or delivery through third-party food delivery services. In addition, sit-down casual restaurants are ideal for eating out while saving a bit of money. King Street has a few economicallyfriendly priced restaurant options with several more scattered around town. Moderately priced restaurants are aplenty in downtown Boone featuring farm-to-table fare, sushi, pizza and Southern food with a twist, to name a few options. A celebratory dinner can be held at any of Boone’s fine dining restaurants. Adventurous eaters will be enthused to learn

For fresh produce, pastries, crafts, art and more, Boone provides year-round opportunities for a trip to the farmers’ market. The Watauga County Farmers’ Market runs every Saturday from May to November on Horn in the West Drive. The market boasts local veggies, fruits, cheeses, coffee, homemade treats, arts and crafts, live music and much more. To see a map of the market and for more information, visit www.wataugacountyfarmersmarket.org. In the colder months when the Watauga County Farmers’ Market is closed, the Boone Winter Farmers’ Market is held on the first and third Saturdays of the month from December to April at the Watauga County Agricultural Conference Center in downtown Boone. The King Street Farmers’ Market is a newer market that is held on Tuesdays from midMay to late October. Every Tuesday sees a different activity such as yoga on the lawn and cooking demonstrations. SEE FOOD ON PAGE 56


Boone My Hometown 2018-19 | 55


For more information about the winter market and King Street markets respectively, visit Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture’s website at farmersmarkets. brwia.org/king-street-market.html and farmersmarkets.brwia.org/wintermarket.html. Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture’s other venture, High Country Food Hub, is a county- and town-supported project to store locally-grown food in refrigerators, freezers and storage space for dry foods. The hub is located in the Watauga County Agricultural Services Center. For more information, visit foodhub.brwia. org/about1.html.


PHOTO SUBMITTED Pepper’s Restaurant participates in the annual High Country Small Plate Crawl each year.

Craft beer and good wine are staples in Boone’s food and beverage world. One does not have to travel far for a great drink in the area. In town, Appalachian Mountain Brewery, Booneshine Brewing Company and Lost Province Brewing Company have dozens of craft beers on tap and canned

beverages as well. Blowing Rock Brewing Company nearby in downtown Blowing Rock offers up an array of local brews. In nearby West Jefferson, Boondocks Brewing has more than 30 craft beers on tap. Additionally, craft beer fans can visit Beech Mountain Brewing Company

at Beech Mountain Resort for an array of artisan brews. If great wine and great views are what you’re after, Grandfather Vineyard & Winery in Banner Elk offers wines by the glass and by the bottle, as well as wine tastings on site at the vineyard.

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Boone Area Chamber

Recognizes Local Leaders he Boone Area Chamber of Commerce was active in 2018 as part of its mission to Connect, Advocate and Educate. The chamber recognized local emerging and veteran leaders at its second annual 4 Under 40 Awards in April and its Annual Membership Meeting in August. To learn more about the Boone Area Chamber of Commerce, contact David Jackson at 828-264-2225 or email david@boonechamber.com.


ANNUAL MEMBERSHIP MEETING Over 450 members of the High Country business scene attended the 69th Annual Membership Meeting of the Boone Area Chamber of Commerce on Aug. 2, 2018. The event was presented by SkyLine/SkyBest and was highlighted by the presentation of seven community awards to local business leaders. Red Moon Hospitality catered dinner and dessert inside the Holmes Convocation Center on the campus of Appalachian State University. The evening included a pre-dinner reception hosted by Appalachian SEE CHAMBER ON PAGE 59

58 | Boone My Hometown 2018-19

PHOTO BY KAYLA LASURE Dan Meyer and Bob Washburn present the Dan Meyer Partnership Award to Mary-Louise Roberts.


IMG Sports Marketing. ECR Software Inc., a locally grown, industry-leading, point of sale solutions provider, was awarded the Alfred Adams Award for Economic Development. The company has been ranked by Retail Info Systems as No. 1 for grocery vendors for the fifth year in a row, No. 1 for midsize retailers, and it ranked in the top five for quality of support for the ninth year in a row. ECRS continues to expand its Boone footprint with production and storage facilities that support the company’s longtime headquarters on Howard Street in Boone. Presented by Wells Fargo Bank N.A., the award honors Alfred Adams, a local pioneer in the banking industry and one of the charter members of the Boone Area Chamber of Commerce. Christy Gottfried became the second recipient of the Baker/Jones Woman of the Year Award. She took over as owner of Go Postal Printing in August 2016 and has focused on rebuilding the business from within while promoting training, education and civic engagement

among her staff members. Go Postal has added new printing technology to broaden its in-house offerings to customers while increasing the number of full-time staff positions and internship opportunities through multiple programs at Appalachian State. The award was presented by Appalachian Regional Healthcare System and Blue Ridge Energy in honor of longtime employees Gillian Baker and Susan Jones. Both have served as board chair of the Boone Area Chamber of Commerce and have a long history of leadership and volunteer service throughout the community. The Dan Meyer Partnership Award was presented to Mary-Louise Roberts. She has spent nearly 30 years in banking service for the High Country, including the last 18 with First National Bank. In her career she has lent over $180 million in loans to clients, specializing in construction financing to traditional commercial and industrial financing. She is active in the Boone United Methodist Church community and is a member of the Appalachian State University Finance, Banking and Insurance Advisory Board. The award honors former Boone Area Chamber of Commerce President/CEO Dan Meyer and

was sponsored by LifeStore Bank. Beech Mountain Resort was tabbed as winner of the Sue W. Wilmoth Award for the Advancement of Tourism. Celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2018, the highest town in Eastern America continually expands programming to solidify the resort a 365-day-a-year tourist destination. The resort has expanded operations at Beech Mountain Brewing Company and opened Beech Mountain Grille in November of 2017. They are investing in infrastructure with installation of two new Doppelmayr chair lifts. They’ve made full use of their facilities with the addition of a Summer Concert Series that brought over 3,500 visitors to the area through its first two shows this season. The award was presented by the Watauga County/Boone TDA and is named in honor of past director and tourism advocate Sue W. Wilmoth. Team Sunergy is a multi-disciplinary, student-led and student-driven research project at Appalachian State University, and winner of the everGREEN Award for Sustainability. They research the most advanced technology and utilize solar-powered car competitions as a platSEE CHAMBER ON PAGE 60

Boone My Hometown 2018-19 | 59


form to advance sustainable transportation technologies. The team also educates the Appalachian Community on the imperatives for finding an alternative fuel solution for transportation, so a sustainable future can be enjoyed for generations. Team Sunergy recently secured a secondplace tie in the 2018 American Solar Challenge, an international solar vehicle distance road race. The award was presented by Mast General Store. Keron Poteat was the recipient of the Ben Suttle Award for Volunteerism. She serves as the event planner and volunteer coordinator for Special Olympics in Watauga County, coordinating the organization’s competitions as well as day-to-day activities that place an emphasis on

PHOTO BY KAYLA LASURE Bruce Poss presents Keron Poteat with the Ben Suttle Award for Volunteerism.

health and wellness services. She helps facilitate 13 sports offered to Special Olympics athletes throughout the year, coordinating hundreds volun-

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teer coaches and mentors to create a positive experience for all involved. The award was sponsored by Samaritan’s Purse in honor of Ben Suttle, a former local merchant, chamber volunteer and longtime member of the Boone Town Council. The Wade Brown Award for Community Involvement was presented to Denise Presnell. Serving as a school social worker for nearly 25 years, she coordinated the inaugural State of the Child Forum in 2017, which brought stakeholders to the table to recognize the prevalence of childhood trauma and work to establish community tools to address the issues. Through this effort, the Watauga Compassionate Community Imitative was established, which seeks to promote health and resiliency in our community and to effectively prevent, recognize and treat trauma by creating safe, stable, nurturing environments and relationships. The award has been given annually since 1979 and was presented by Boone Golf

Club in honor of Wade Brown, a longtime community pillar and nonprofit advocate. In addition to the annual awards presentation, the Boone Area Chamber made a $1,250 contribution to the Round Up for the Middle Fork Greenway project on behalf of the organization and its membership. The donation came from a portion of the proceeds of a raffle for a $2,500 vacation credit through Dream Vacations and local agent Frankie Groff. The chamber and the Boone Sunrise Rotary Club made donations of $1,250 each to the Valle Crucis Community Park and the Back 2 School Festival, through funds raised during the second annual High Country Toast, held in June 2018. The Appalachian Theatre also received a $25,000 donation from the Capital Bank Foundation, presented by chamber board member Jason Triplett. The Boone Area Chamber of Commerce installed its executive committee and three new board members for the 201819 fiscal year. Traci Royster, director of staff development & strategic initiatives in Appalachian State’s Division of Student Affairs, was installed as board chair. David Still, director of business development for RaysWeather.com, was installed as chair elect, while Johnathan Lubkemann, senior VP and market president for BB&T, moves into the immediate past chair role. Amy Smith, of Johnson Price Sprinkle, PA, will serve her first year as the organization’s treasurer. Tiffany Christian of Mast General Store and Garrett Shore of Highlands Union Bank, were each installed to three-year board terms. SEE CHAMBER ON PAGE 61


4 UNDER 40 AWARDS Four emerging leaders and a leadership development expert were honored during the second annual Boone Area Chamber of Commerce 4 Under 40 Awards luncheon. The event was held April 18, 2018 at the Harvest House in Boone and was presented by Appalachian Commercial Real Estate. Over 50 nominations were submitted by local community members, and 16 finalists were recognized during the event. Winning in the Nonprofit Business category was Danny Wilcox of the We Can So You Can Foundation. Wilcox continues to grow the visibility and impact of the We Can So You Can Foundation, a missiondriven public charity funded in part by Appalachian Mountain Brewery and the Farm To Flame food truck. The organization aims to support the communities it serves through investment in social-minded businesses engaged primarily in education, agriculture and renewable energy. Wilcox has taken the power and spirit of nonprofit fundraising and combined that with unique event collaboration and management to help create new seasonal attractions in the area. Additional finalists were Andy Hill, MountainTrue; Jesse Pope, Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation; and Angela McMann, Western Youth Network. Tyler Moffatt of Moffatt & Moffatt, PLLC was the winner in the Business Owner category. Moffatt and wife Amanda planted the seeds of Moffatt & Moffatt PLLC in 2010 as he was clerking for law firms in North Carolina and Tennessee. Since 2012, Moffatt & Moffatt has been providing legal services, specializing in business law in both North Carolina and Tennessee. While working to get his own firm started, he worked as a local SCORE mentor and chaired the High Country Young Professionals. He continues to educate and inform the future entrepreneurial workforce, serving as an adjunct professor teaching business law at both Lees-McRae and Appalachian State. Additional finalists were Nathaniel Brackett, Victorian Inn; Melissa Helms, Woof Pack Pet Services & Dog Training; and Chase Luddeke, Mellow Mushroom. Zack Green of Mountain Alliance won in the Education category. Green is in his

PHOTO BY JAN TODD OF DEEP CREEK PHOTOGRAPHY Boone Area Chamber of Commerce celebrates its 2018 4 Under 40 awards winners. Left to right: Jim Street, Anna Oakes, Tyler Moffatt, Danny Wilcox and Zack Green.

third year as executive director of Mountain Alliance, a nonprofit organization started in 1990 to empower students of all socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds to be actively engaged in their learning experiences and to succeed in the academic environment. He leads the organization’s benchmark programs like the Rolling Academy, a two-week summer adventure that serves as an advanced leadership academy using a bus as classroom, base camp and vehicle for service and adventure challenges. He’s grown opportunities for students to connect through community projects, helping them to accumulate thousands of service hours annually. In his tenure he’s launched the “School’s Out” academic support program and taken the lead in expanding Mountain Alliance to Avery County. Additional finalists were Allison Dodson, Appalachian State University; Madison Hollar, Cove Creek School; and Tierra Stark, Watauga High School. Winning in the Rising Star category was Anna Oakes of Mountain Times Publications. An Appalachian State alumna, she returned to the High Country shortly after graduation to work for High Country Press, where she capped a four-and-a-half-year career by serving as managing editor of the weekly publication. In January 2012, she moved to the Watauga Democrat as a

reporter, and in 2016 she became editor of the Watauga Democrat newspaper and All About Women magazine. She is a nine-time honoree by the N.C. Press Association. She is an active member of the Boone Service League and uses her skills as a communicator to benefit several local organizations. Additional finalists were Keith Shockley, Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., Allen Storie, Hound Ears Club; and Danielle Wade, Jackson Sumner & Associates. The Respect Your Elder Award went to Jim Street, senior associate director for leadership development at Appalachian State University. This award honors individuals who have a deep impact as influencers, motivators and mentors to emerging leaders of tomorrow. He coordinates the leadership coaching program, the LeaderShape Institute and works with the Service and Leadership Floor. Street has been at Appalachian State since 1991, advising fraternities and sororities, coordinating Emerging Leaders and advising Club Council. Street serves as the lead facilitator for the Boone Area Chamber’s Watauga Leadership Challenge series. He is a member and past-president of the Boone Sunrise Rotary, member and past-chair of the Blue Ridge Chapter of the Red Cross and he assists nonprofits with organizational and leadership development. Boone My Hometown 2018-19 | 61

Clubs and Organizations Appalachian Chorale https://music.appstate.edu/academics/ensembles/choirs Appalachian Shrine Club https://appshriners.org/ Book Bunch Club www.arlibrary.org/watauga Boone Area Cyclists booneareacyclists.org Boone Area Lions Club https://e-clubhouse.org/sites/boonenc/ Boone Optimist Club http://www.danielbooneoptimist.com/ Boone Running Club https://sites.google.com/site/boonerunningclub1/ Boone Service League http://www.booneserviceleague.org/ Carolina Fly-Wheelers https://www.facebook.com/CarolinaFlywheelers1/ Civil Air Patrol 336-977-7405 Daughters of the American Revolution Daniel Boone Chapter http://www.ncdar.org/DanielBooneChapter_files/ index.html Disabled American Veterans Chapter 90 http://www.avsops.com/dav-2/dav-766 Junaluska Heritage Association https://junaluskaheritage.org/ Military Officers Association of America (High Country Chapter) https://chapterdues.moaa.org/highcountry High Country Recreation http://www.highcountryrec.com/ High Country Torch Club www.torch.org/find-a-club High Country Vegans https://www.meetup.com/High-Country-Vegans/?_cookie-check=cgFKkPKJiw_D5NAZ Kiwanis Club of Boone http://web.kiwanisboonenc.org/ Loyal Order of Moose 1805 http://lodge1805.moosepages.org/ Boone Sunrise Rotary Club https://boonerotary.org/ Toastmaster’s Club https://1387766.toastmastersclubs.org/ Watauga Book Brewers https://www.arlibrary.org/watauga-book-clubs Watauga Community Band https://www.wataugacommunity.band/ Watauga County Community Foundation https://www.nccommunityfoundation.org/communities/northwestern/watauga-county Watauga County Historical Society https://www.wataugacountyhistoricalsociety.org/ Watauga Gun Club https://www.wataugagunclub.com/ Women’s Fund of the Blue Ridge http://www.womensfundoftheblueridge.org/ 62 | Boone My Hometown 2018-19

PHOTO BY MACKENZIE FRANCISCO Full Circle Director Elena Dalton (left) and Tommy Brown, volunteer development, marketing and education coordinator (right), are pictured at the F.A.R.M. Cafe on King Street.

PROFESSIONAL ORGANIZATIONS Boone Area Chamber of Commerce https://www.boonechamber.com/ Boone Independent Restaurants facebook.com/booneindies Downtown Boone Development Association https://downtownboonenc.com/ High Country Association of Realtors http://www.highcountryrealtors.org/ High Country Young Professionals https://www.facebook.com/youngprosboone/ Watauga County Association of Educators https://wcae.weebly.com/ Watauga County Beekeepers Association http://wataugabeekeepers.org/ Watauga County Cattleman’s Association 828-264-3061 Watauga County Christmas Tree Association 828-264-3061

NONPROFITS American Red Cross (Blue Ridge Chapter) https://www.redcross.org/local/north-carolina/ greater-carolinas/about-us/locations/blue-ridgepiedmont.html Appalachian Voices http://appvoices.org/ Blue Ridge Conservancy https://blueridgeconservancy.org/ Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture https://www.brwia.org/ Children’s Council http://www.thechildrenscouncil.org/ Community Care Clinic https://www.ccclinic.org/ Habitat for Humanity https://www.wataugahabitat.org/home High Country Caregiver Foundation http://www.highcountrycaregiverfoundation.org/

High Country Pathways https://highcountrypathways.org/ High Country United Way https://highcountryunitedway.org/ Hope Pregnancy Center https://choosehope.org/ Hunger and Health Coalition https://www.hungerandhealthcoalition.com/ Mountain Alliance https://www.mountainalliance.org/ OASIS Inc. http://www.oasisinc.org/ Resort Area Ministries 828-264-6605 Samaritan’s Purse https://www.samaritanspurse.org/ Southern Appalachian Historical Association https://www.horninthewest.com/ Watauga County Arts Council http://watauga-arts.org/wordpress/ Watauga County Humane Society https://wataugahumane.org/ Watauga Opportunities, Inc. http://www.woiworks.org/ Western Youth Network http://www.westernyouthnetwork.org/wordpress/ W.A.M.Y. Community Action http://wamycommunityaction.org/ Wine to Water https://www.winetowater.org/ F.A.R.M. Cafe http://farmcafe.org/index.html Girls on the Run of the High Country https://gotr.appstate.edu/ Children’s Hope Alliance https://www.childrenshopealliance.org/ ASU-Appalachian & the Community Together https://act.appstate.edu/



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