Boone My Hometown 2022-23

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Boone, NC 28607 Phone: 828-264-6397



Avery Journal-Times Ashe Post

All About Women High Country, NC

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Times Publications 584 State Farm Road, Suite 105
Watauga Democrat
& Times


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Welcome to Boone

The Heart of the High Country


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 oppor tunities for outdoor recreation, our economic viability, technol ogy 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 devoted to our local residents as well as serving the needs of our guests. The stories in this publication are prepared by journalists who have 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.

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.

If you need any assistance with your business or family relocation, retirement planning or vacation itiner ary, 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.

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.


David Jackson David Jackson President/CEO Boone Area Chamber of Commerce



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The staff of the Boone Area Chamber of Commerce.
“The Best Places to Live and Play”
National Geographic Adventure magazine “100 Best Small Towns in America”
“Best College Towns and Cities in America”
WalletHub “10 Best Places to Retire in the U.S.”
U.S. News & World Report “Four North American Adventure Destinations”
Adventure Sports magazine “Best Small Towns – Top 10”
Outside Magazine “The 25 Best Western NC small Towns to Visit (And Live In!)” – Blue Ridge Mountains Travel Guide “10 Great Small Towns with Huge Backyards” – USA Today LINKS YOU SHOULD KNOW:
Area Chamber of Commerce Boone My Hometown Business/Economic Development High Country Living RELOCATION INFORMATION VISITOR INFORMATION
Tourism High Country Host
Ridge Parkway News and Events
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Welcome to Boone From Mayor Tim Futrelle

As Mayor of Boone, and on behalf of all our residents and local business owners, it is my great honor to wel come you to my hometown. Whether you’re visiting for two days or two weeks, you’ll quickly find a sense of belonging. Nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Boone is the textbook defini tion of God’s country.

In all four seasons, Boone is the place to be. If looking for the perfect place to spend time outdoors, you can start with a spring walk through the Daniel Boone Native Gardens or a run on our Gre enway trail system. If it’s summertime, enjoy the moderate temperatures and low humidity sitting outside of one of our amazing down town restaurants for outstanding locally sourced cuisine.

After pleasing your palate, take a stroll down King Street and stop in for unique shopping at our Antique Mall, local clothing stores, or our famous “Candy Barrel.” Experience the past of our community in the present, bearing witness to one of the longest running outdoor dramas in the east, the Horn In The West, that just

celebrated 70 years in 2022. On a brisk winter evening, after hitting the slopes, it’s nice to finish the day with a craft brew and a one-ofa-kind pizza at our locally owned gastropub. Then finish your perfect winter getaway with a performance at our historically restored down town Appalachian Theater.

Boone recently celebrated 150 years since its founding, and our rich history continues. Whether rocking a fall afternoon away on the front porch of the historic Jones House, or having a crisp autumn cookout at Junalus ka Park, you’re in a special place in history. Our fall leaves are spectacular, like a painted canvas across the Blue Ridge mountainsides — some of the oldest mountains in the world. For the sports fan, catch some college football at “The Rock,” home of the Appalachian State Mountaineers, or have a “Squatchy” good time at a soccer game with the reigning conference champs Appalachian FC. Our great history carries on.

So, if you’re looking for the perfect place to get away from the usual day to day, look no further than our hometown. A town for all seasons, Boone welcomes you, your family and your friends. Come see why there’s no better place to be than Boone.

Gene Fowler Jr.

EDITOR Moss Brennan


Jillyan Mobley, Jordyn Daniels, Patrick McCormack, David Jackson, Ethan Walton and Leslie Eason.


Johnny Hayes


Kevin Lumpkin


Tim Walker


Mark Mitchell, Ryen Burrus, Austin Fowler, Teresa Laws and Henry Volk


Jeff Winebarger

584 State Farm Road, Suite 105 Boone, NC 28607

Phone: (828) 264-6397

8 | Boone My Hometown 2022-23 71 stSEASON! 828-265-1344
Tim Futrelle
Boone My Hometown 2022-23 | 9
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GIS This map shows town of Boone limits along with major highways and roads within the town.
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A glance at Boone

The small town of Boone is the largest municipality — and the county seat — of Watauga County. It’s the home of a thriving — and ever growing — college campus that’s known nationally. It’s recognized as an outdoor recreation destination around the country. It’s the epitome of small-town living in a tightknit community that boasts a very small crime rate.

It’s surrounded by beautiful mountain landscapes that turn into a canopy of golden colors in the fall. All of these reasons and more make Boone the best place to live.

The town of Boone was incorporated in 1872 — mean ing it celebrated its 150th birthday in 2022. The town acquired its name from the famous pioneer and explorer Daniel Boone, who hunted

and camped in the area.

Boone has the highest eleva tion (3,300 feet) of any town greater than a 10,000 popu lation east of the Mississippi River. The altitude contributes to mild summer weather — an escape from the heat and humidity of the greater South. In the winter, snowfalls create

natural beauty that’s hard to match anywhere else.

Travelers can 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


The following information is compiled from the U.S. Census Bureau, Watauga County and the N.C. Depart ment of Commerce.


• Population, 2020 Census: Boone, 19,092; Watauga County, 54,086


• Land area in square miles, 2020: Boone: 6.31; Watauga County, 312.56

• Persons per square mile, 2020: Boone, 2,792.8; Watauga, 163.4


• Percent of persons 25 and older with a high school diploma or higher, 2016-2020: Boone, 87.3%; Watauga, 90.6%

• Percent of persons 25 and older with a bach elor’s degree or higher, 2016-2020: Boone, 48.1%; Watauga, 42.7%


• Median household income, 2016-2010: $46.453

• Percent of persons be low poverty level: 15.8%

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


• Property tax rate (per $100 valuation): Boone, 36 cents; Watauga, 31.8 cents

• Unemployment rate, Watauga County, August 2022: 3.4%

12 | Boone My Hometown 2022-23
PHOTO BY JOSH FLOYD A view of the historic downtown Appalachian Theatre. PHOTO BY MOSS BRENNAN Artists were abound in King Street for Buskers Fest.
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road and national park that traverses 469 miles in North Carolina and Virginia — also passes through the county, which gives majestic views of the mountains with multiple entrances within 20 minutes less of Boone.

Multiple neighborhoods are within walking distance of downtown Boone, which of fers a mix of college town cul ture, mountain heritage and arts, as well as commerce.

In downtown Boone, di verse businesses, restaurants, shops and boutiques line King Street offering many unique items and storefronts. During the summer, visitors can hear music from the lawn of the Jones House in downtown or even stop by one of the festivals that take place along King Street.

One of the town’s greatest amenities is the AppalCART — a free transportation ser vice around Boone, with additional routes in the county available for a small fee. Even the education brings people to


Appalachian State Univer sity provides amenities and economic benefits comparable to those in a much larger city.

The town is actively sup portive of the local agricultural sector, with weekly farmer’s markets in two locations for a good portion of the year 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 Car olina. Watauga County’s 2021 index crime rate of 1,191.8 per 100,000 people is significant ly lower than the state average rate of 2,586.4 per 100,000. The violent crime rate is also lower with 139.3 per 100,000 in Watauga compared to the state average of 430.2 per 100,000.

Boone is a great place to live. Whether you’re stopping by on a vacation, or just mov ing here, make sure to read more in “Boone My Home town” about the place people call home.

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PHOTO BY JOSH FLOYD The Jones House is an iconic spot in downtown Boone.
PHOTO BY JOSH FLOYD Crowds can always be seen walking along King Street.
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4 Under 40 Awards

Highlighting emerging High Country leaders

Four emerging leaders and a community advocate were hon ored during the 6th annual Boone Area Cham ber of Commerce 4 Under 40 Awards ceremony. The event was hosted Thursday evening, April 28, 2022, in front of a crowd of more than 150 attendees at The Mill at Rock Creek in Boone. The 4 Under 40 awards are present ed annually by Appalachian Commercial Real Estate.

“The depth and experience represented in this year’s group of finalists once again shows the quality of emerg ing talent that will lead our community through our next set of challenges and oppor tunities,” said David Jackson, President of the Boone Area Chamber of Commerce. “It’s meaningful and exciting to see women make a clean sweep of each of our categories. It’s a visible sign that communities like ours are made stronger by embracing all perspectives. Reba Moretz is a shining example of the impact women have had during pivitol mo ments in the development of our community. The achieve ments displayed by those recognized today will further motivate the next generation of leaders that will guide our community in the years to come. ”

More than 30 nominations were submitted by local community members and 16 finalists were recognized during the event. Nominees were sought in the categories of business owner, education professional, nonprofit busi ness professional, and rising star. A biography of each award winner is listed below: Business Owner: Megan Ward, The Care Collective Megan Ward is a Watauga County native, growing up in Zionville, attending Mabel School, and graduating from Watauga High School. She stayed close to home to attend Appalachian State University, where she graduated with a degree in Business Manage ment and minors in Art and

Art History in 2007.

Shortly after graduation, Megan began her path toward becoming a massage therapist, completing her training and becoming fully licensed in 2010. Her first business venture was opening Every body Massage & Bodywork in 2011. Four years later she opened The Care Collective inside Shear Shakti in down town Boone, hiring her first employee in 2015.

After a successful six years of business in downtown, Megan moved The Care Collective to a new space inside the Forestview Profes sional Building on State Farm Road, expanding services and growing her staff to 16 profes sionals. The team at The Care

Collective works from the mission to mindfully serve the community, helping clients heal injuries, avoid surgery, find relief from chronic pain, reduce stress, and maintain a pain-free body.

Additional Finalists: Carrie Canviness, Interface Environ mental Consulting, LLC; Angela Heavner, 180 Float Spa; Bryan Kossol, Everybody’s Loaded Biscuit

Education Professional: Dr. Jamie Parson, Chief Diversity Officer, Appala chian State University

Dr. Jamie Parson is the Interim Chief Diversity Officer and an Associate Professor in the Department of Finance,

16 | Boone My Hometown 2022-23
PHOTO BY JOSH FLOYD Megan Ward, Jamie Parson, Danielle Neibaur and Caroline Poteat were honored at the 4 Under 40 awards.

Banking, and Insurance at Appalachian State University. She teaches undergraduate courses in business law and insurance. Dr. Parson previously led the Walker College of Business’ In clusive Excellence Team, served as the Diversity and Inclusion Coordinator for the Brantley Risk and Insurance Center and served on numerous boards and committees.

Prior to arriving at Appalachian, Parson served as a Title VII Investigator for the Nebraska Equal Opportunity Commission and a Special Investigative Unit Liaison and Fire Claims Repre sentative at State Farm Insurance Company.

Dr. Parson holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Sociology-An thropology from Nebraska Wesleyan University and a Juris Doc tor from the University of Nebraska College of Law in Lincoln, Nebraska. Her research interests primarily concentrate in the area of insurance regulation including extensive involvement with the passing of the North Carolina Foster Care Family Act.

Additional Finalists: Dustin Kerley, Watauga County Schools; Dr. Katie Talbert, Lees-McRae College; Laura Turner, Watauga County Schools

NonProfit Business Professional: Caroline Poteat, Director of Development, Blue Ridge Conservancy

Caroline Poteat was born and raised in Drexel, North Caroli na. After earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from American University in Washington, DC, she moved to Boone in 2006 to pursue her graduate studies at Appalachian State University. She holds Master’s Degrees in Appalachian Studies and Geography. Since 2018, Caroline has served as Director of Development for Blue Ridge Conservancy.

Prior to joining the Conservancy, she served as Executive Director of Valle Crucis Community Park for nearly a decade. Caroline is passionate about philanthropy and community service, particularly related to the environment and women’s issues. Her past board and committee memberships include the High Country Chapter of Trout Unlimited, Girls on the Run of the High Country, the Blue Ridge Conservancy Land Protection & Stewardship Committees, High Country Local First, and the Town of Boone Planning Commission and Affordable Housing Task Force. She is a member of the Boone Sunrise Rotary Club and serves as Vice Chair of the board of directors of the Wom en’s Fund of the Blue Ridge.

In 2021, Caroline was honored as a Trailblazer by Business North Carolina magazine, recognizing professionals under the age of 40 who work in North Carolina cities and towns of fewer than 100,000 residents.

Additional Finalists: Alex Fish, Valle Crucis Conference Cen ter; Sarah Grady, Watauga County Habitat for Humanity; Tom Henry, Appalachian Mountain Leadership

Rising Star: Danielle Neibaur, General Manager, The Horton Hotel

Danielle Neibaur was born and raised in Homestead, Fla. Upon graduating high school she relocated to the High Country to become an App State Mountaineer.

Boone My Hometown 2022-23 | 17


She graduated from Appalachian State University in May of 2018 with degrees in Hospitality and Tourism Management, Marketing, and a minor in Dance. As an undergrad, Danielle held lead ership roles in several campus organizations and completed an internship with The Walt Disney Company. It was through the Disney internship that she discovered a passion for customer service and land ed a position with The Inn at Crestwood, where she started as a front desk associate and worked her way up to the role of General Manager. Danielle coordinated a remodel of the facility and worked tirelessly to keep the doors open during the COVID-19 pandemic. She also found time to complete her Masters in Business Ad ministration with a concentration in Leading and Human Resource Management at Appalachian State, graduating in 2020.

In February of 2022 she accepted the role of General Manager at The Horton Hotel in downtown Boone. Danielle continues to seek opportuni ties to engage and volunteer with organizations throughout the High Country.

Additional Finalists: Jaco Gerbrands, Allen Tate Re altors; Megan Mason, Lost Province Brewing Co.; Nicole Norman, Town of Blowing Rock

Respect Your Elder Award: Reba Moretz, Appalachian Ski Mtn

Reba Moretz is a pioneer in both the education and tourism industries that have been signature components of the High Country’s unique quality of life.

Earning both a bachelor’s

and masters’ degree in music from Appalachian State Teacher’s College in the early 1950s, her career in education started as a local educator, teaching at Parkway School for eight years as both a classroom and music teacher. In 1968, she and husband Grady opened Appalachian Ski Mtn, and Moretz’ pas sion for education helped lay the groundwork for the creation of the French-Swiss Ski College, a ski-school that helped introduce people of all ages to winter sports activities and would serve as a catalyst for the exponential growth of the ski industry that we see today in the Southeast United States.

While Moretz was a for mative figure in the creation of the ski industry North Carolina, Appalachian State University remained a priority for the education advocate. Her campus experience start ed earlier than most, moving

to Boone with her family at the age of three. Her father, Dr. Wiley F. Smith, taught at Appalachian from 1936-1964 and was the Department of Psychology’s first chairper son. She has known every president or chancellor of the university from Dr. B.B. Dougherty to current chancel lor Dr. Sheri N. Everts. Throughout her career, Moretz spent countless hours providing guidance to univer sity boards and committees. She was a member of the Appalachian State University Board of Trustees for eight years and also served on the University’s Board of Visitors. In 2015, the Appalachian State Alumni Association awarded Moretz an Outstand ing Service award during its annual Alumni Awards Cere mony, citing her exceptional service to the university. She and her family have finan cially supported numerous areas of the university and

have lent their expertise into helping form many signature programs, such as An Appala chian Summer Festival. Whether through her professional associations or support roles with commu nity service organizations, Moretz has set the standard for mentoring and sup port of students and young business leaders. During her time as an Appalachian State trustee, her campus visibility and openness as a communicator gave faculty, staff, and students a strong voice and willing advocate in addressing the needs of a growing university. Her time spent talking young profes sionals through business and life decisions was only matched by her persistence in following up with those she mentored, making sure they had a trusted supporter that would fuel the confidence they would use to tackle life’s next opportunity.

18 | Boone My Hometown 2022-23
PHOTO BY JOSH FLOYD Reba Moretz was awarded the Respect Your Elder Award.
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Nine awards honor local leaders and businesses

The Boone Area Chamber of Com merce held its 73rd Annual Membership Meeting on Thursday, Aug. 11, at the Appalachian Theatre.

This year’s annual gathering recognized significant busi ness achievements throughout Boone’s 150-year history, while also connecting the roots of the town’s formative years to many businesses that still exist today.

President & CEO of the Golden Leaf Foundation Scott Hamilton delivered the

keynote address for the event, sharing a passionate message about the legacy of the Horn in the West outdoor drama, which celebrated its 70th season in 2022.

He discussed how commu nity interest and involvement in unique programs can make an impact on funding partners and opportunities. Hamilton encouraged community lead ers to consider strategies that bring projects like Horn in the West to the attention of State legislators, with the hopes of gathering further awareness and financial investments to ensure future success.

Talia Freeman, Director of Marketing at Beech Mountain Resort, was introduced as the Chair of the Chamber’s Board of Directors for the 2022-23 year. Her remarks highlighted the various ways the Cham ber can be supportive of local businesses along with her goals for the Board of Direc tors for the year ahead.

David Jackson, President/ CEO, delivered the annual State of the Chamber remarks, highlighting key projects and economic drivers that have shaped the organization’s work within the community. He shared on the impact of

the Watauga Housing Forums and the need for increased involvement from business es, local government, and community members as the Watauga Housing Council presses into action. Jackson’s remarks also touched on renewed community partner ships that focus on workforce development, future talent recruitment/retention strat egies, and the importance of post-secondary degree at tainment in tomorrow’s labor market.

The Chamber honored its

20 | Boone My Hometown 2022-23 Since1959 130 HardinSt., Boone,NC28607 (828)264-8657


2022 Community Award win ners as part of the ceremony. Nine local leaders and busi nesses were recognized for their accomplishments over the past year, each blending professional achievements with a spirit of resiliency that has served as a driving force throughout the business com munity this year.


Wade Brown Award for Community Involvement: Dr. Jesse Lutabingwa, Ap palachian State University

Dr. Jesse Lutabingwa coordinates Appalachian State University’s annual involvement in the Mandela Washington Fellowship and recruits local business leaders and families to participate in various cultural exchanges

PHOTO BY JOSH FLOYD David Jackson speaks at the annual meeting.

with participants during their stay in the High Country.

The Mandela Washing ton Fellowship, the flagship program of the Young African Leaders Initiative(YALI), em powers young African leaders through academic coursework, leadership training, mentor ing, networking, professional opportunities, and local com munity engagement. YALI was created in 2010 and supports young Africans as they spur economic growth and pros

perity, strengthen democratic governance, and enhance peace and security across the African continent. Since 2014, the U.S. Department of State has supported nearly 5,100 young leaders from across 49 countries in Sub-Saharan Afri ca to develop their leadership skills and foster connections and collaboration with U.S. professionals through the Fel lowship. The cohort of Fellows hosted by App State is part of a group of 700 Mandela

Washington Fellows hosted by 26 educational institutions across the United States.

The Wade Brown Award for Community Involvement is the Chamber’s oldest award, dating back to 1979. Named after the first recipient of the honor, this award recognizes a significant contribution through community engage ment. The award is sponsored annually by Boone Golf Club.

Ben Suttle Special Services Award: Billy Ralph Winkler

A Watauga County native and consummate volunteer, Billy Ralph Winkler has put countless time and abundant energy behind numerous organizations and efforts throughout his life in the mountains.

Many know Winkler for his impact on music education in the High Country. After

Boone My Hometown 2022-23 | 21
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graduating from Appalachian State University in 1973 with a degree in Music Education, he served as Band Director at Watauga High School for 28 years, and still volunteers time to the group by conducting various concerts and pro grams throughout the year. Winkler also holds leadership roles with the Watauga Com munity Band and with the musical production of Horn in the West.

In addition to his volun teer efforts, Winkler remains professionally active as Music Director at First Baptist Church in Boone. He has also served multiple terms on the Board of Trustees at Caldwell Community College & Techni cal Institute.

The Ben Suttle Special Services Award is named for the former Boone Town Councilman and recognizes the spirit of volunteerism in the community.

everGREEN Award for Sustainability: Tsuga

Tsuga was founded in 2008 by outdoor enthusiast and industry expert Jimi Combs. The company began manufac turing high-end canopies and has diversified its product line over the last decade to include utility bags, totes, and custom gear for various companies throughout Western North Carolina. Tsuga maintains an extensive research and devel opment operation in Boone, utilizing students and recent graduates of Appalachian State University to develop new products for various industry partners. The com pany has also developed its own branded line of products, focusing on supporting indus try and adventure activities found right here in the High


Over the course of its 14year history, Tsuga has devel oped one of the most unique and supportive workplace cultures in the High Coun try, and that philosophy has helped the company retain top talent. Combs encourages his staff to get out and enjoy the outdoors, bring product ideas back to the lab if they find a special need, and product test their prototypes as they chase adventures throughout the area. He allows staff flexibility in scheduling and encourages them to develop their own products and designs on des ignated maker’s days. These workplace practices have landed Combs on a regional circuit to discuss best practic es in workplace recruitment and retention strategies.

The everGREEN Award for Sustainability is presented to a business, organization, project, or person who has furthered the inclusion and integration of sustainable development principles. This annual award is sponsored by Mast General Store.

Dan Meyer Partnership Award: Boonerang Music & Arts Festival

Whether they are residents or graduating students, when someone leaves the High Country they already have an eye on their return. The term Boonerang refers to those that leave the area for a period of time, only to race back and make life in the community they once called home.

The inaugural Boonerang Music Festival was held on June 17-18, 2022, as a free music and arts festival in downtown Boone. The festival included multiple concert stages and food, beer, and crafts vendors — all with connections to the Boone area. More than 7,000 Boone enthusiasts were estimated to

have attended the event.

The Town of Boone Cultural Resources Department led a massive effort of volunteers, sponsors, and local support ers that helped to stage the event. The year-long planning effort resulted in producing a festival atmosphere while also bringing visitors to local shops and restaurants through out the weekend. The Jones House hosted a kickoff Friday night concert and streets were closed throughout downtown Boone on Saturday to make room for stages, craft vendors, and local food and drink.

The Dan Meyer Community Partnership Award recogniz es a community leader for their efforts to bring multiple parties together for a common cause. Meyer served as Pres ident/CEO of the Chamber for 12 years before retiring in August of 2016. The award is sponsored annually by Life Store Bank.

Alfred Adams Award for Economic Development: Greene Construction

As it celebrates 75 years of service to residents and busi nesses in the High Country, Greene Construction can be traced to some of the com munity’s most recognizable building projects.

Greene Construction was founded by Boone native G. Perry Greene, Sr., who pur chased the company shortly after his return from World War II from his boss at the time, Mr. W.C. Greene. A civil engineer by trade, G. Perry Greene went on to lead a com pany involved in the design and plans for many of the area’s major buildings as well as the construction of many residential houses.

From the early 1970s to the mid-1980s, Mr. Greene’s sons were involved in the entire process of design, bidding, supervision, construction, and

completion of many structures in Boone and the High Coun try. Upon Mr. Greene’s full re tirement in late 1986, his sons assumed responsibility for the company operations. By the mid-1990s, Mr. Greene’s three children became the owners of Greene Construction Incorpo rated.

Over the last several years, Greene Construction has been involved in various building and infrastructure projects, including the Downtown Boone streetscape project, the construction of King Street Flats, and various projects at Appalachian State University.

The Alfred Adams Award for Economic Development recognizes individuals and/ or organizations who have worked for the orderly growth and development of Boone and Watauga County. Adams served as a local banker and provided an influence on many Chamber committees in the organization’s formative years. This award is sponsored annually by Wells Fargo.

Baker/Jones Woman of the Year Award: Amy Crabbe, Appalachian Regional Healthcare System

A calming and reassuring voice during a time of turbu lence, Amy Crabbe served as a beacon of hope and affirma tion for the staff of Appala chian Regional Healthcare System during the height of the COVID-19 crisis.

In her role as Chief Oper ating Officer, Crabbe helped ensure the staff across the entire ARHS footprint felt supported as the physical and mental toll was deeply impact ing healthcare workers around the country. Among the many tasks she championed during the pandemic, she helped facilitate childcare availabil ity for system employees so

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those with young children could continue to staff critical roles throughout the system. As the standards for care changed quickly, Crabbe led a team that prioritized safety protocols for patients and staff, and mobilized resources throughout the community to deal with the COVID surge prior to the wide distribution of vaccines.

Crabbe recently concluded a 17-year tenure with Appa lachian Regional Healthcare System, spending her last three years as Chief Operating Officer. She came to ARHS in 2005 as Vice President of People Services, serving as the leader of human resources for the second-largest employer in Watauga County.

The Baker-Jones Woman of the Year award is named for long-time Chamber volun teers Gillian Baker and Susan Jones. This award honors an inspiring member who exemplifies the qualities of leadership, mentorship, and community involvement. This award is co-sponsored annu ally by Appalachian Regional Healthcare System and Blue Ridge Energy.

Sue W. Wilmoth Award for the Advancement of Tourism: Dr. Dana Clark, Appalachian State Uni versity

After a prosperous career in the hospitality industry, Dr. Dana Clark joined Appa lachian State University’s Hospitality and Tourism Man agement program in 1991. He is the only individual to win all three top tourism honors in North Carolina: the Barentine Special Achievement Award, the Tourism Excellence Award for Public Service, and the Tourism Excellence Award for

an Individual.

He previously worked as a vice president of convention development at the Charlotte Convention & Visitors Bureau and for Holiday Inn for ap proximately 10 years.

Dr. Clark has taught or mentored many of our area’s tourism professionals. He is uniquely qualified to teach students the theory behind the curriculum but also gives examples based on his years of experience in the field.

The Sue W. Wilmoth Award for the Advancement of Tour ism is named for the former Chamber Director, who used her influence in tourism promotion to capitalize on the region’s natural resources while balancing progress with preservation. The award is sponsored annually by the Boone and Watauga County Tourism Development Au thorities.

Kathy Crutchfield Cit izen of the Year Award: Kellie Reed Ashecraft, Watauga Housing Council

A former Appalachian State University professor seeking to stay involved in work relat

ed to the social determinants of health found herself as the lead organizer of one of the most important community projects of the last decade.

Kellie Reed Ashecraft served as the lead organizer of the Watauga Housing Forums, a four-session series held in Spring 2022 that brought together a diverse group of community members and key agency partners. The forums focused on the safety, accessibility, and affordability of housing while discussing solutions that could guide community efforts moving forward.

At the conclusion of the forums, the Watauga Hous ing Council was established, with Ashecraft again serving as lead organizer. The group works through various com mittees to advance ideas and suggestions that came through the forums, along with nurturing partnerships that can further the work on the challenges and opportunities related to housing in Watauga County.

The Boone Area Chamber of Commerce presents the Kathy

Crutchfield Citizen of the Year Award annually to an individ ual who exemplifies a selfless work ethic while impacting and supporting a broad array of community partners. The award is presented annually by Beech Mountain Resort.

Elizabeth Young Award for Community Leader ship: Jennifer Warren, Western Youth Network Jennifer Warren has served as Executive Director of Western Youth Network for 13 years. WYN works to eliminate Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and their consequences in the High Country of North Carolina by targeting the root causes of trauma and paving the way for collaborative community action to heal children who have experienced trauma.

With her undergraduate de gree from Pfeiffer University, Warren holds a Master’s De gree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Appalachian State University and a Certif icate in Non-Profit Manage ment from Duke University.

24 | Boone My Hometown 2022-23
PHOTO BY JOSH FLOYD President & CEO of the Golden Leaf Foundation Scott Hamilton delivered the keynote address for the event.


Under her leadership, WYN has become one of the most dynamic non-profit agencies in the High Country, expand ing its staff by 59%, while growing its annual budget by 52%. With those increases, WYN has been able to grow the number of children served by 31%.

In 2017, Warren was honored by the Boone Area Chamber of Commerce as its inaugural 4 Under 40 Award winner in the category of nonprofit professional. The Boone Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors established the #KeepBoone Healthy Award for Commu nity Leadership in 2020. The award was renamed in 2022 in honor of Elizabeth Young, longtime Executive Direc tor of the Hunger & Health

Coalition, and one of the community’s most admired and decorated nonprofit professionals.

The Elizabeth Young Award for Community Leadership is presented to a person or organization whose leadership has been pivotal to maintain ing the health and vibrancy of our community. The award recognizes leadership that ris es above the work of any one business or agency in order to unite and mobilize busi ness, government, nonprofit, and civic partners toward an improved quality of life for our entire community. This award is sponsored annually by Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Vincent Properties.

A calming and reassuring voice during a time of turbu lence, Amy Crabbe served as a beacon of hope and affirma tion for the staff of Appala chian Regional Healthcare System during the height of

the COVID-19 crisis.

In her role as Chief Oper ating Officer, Crabbe helped ensure the staff across the entire ARHS footprint felt supported as the physical and mental toll was deeply impact ing healthcare workers around the country. Among the many tasks she championed during the pandemic, she helped facilitate childcare availabil ity for system employees so those with young children could continue to staff critical roles throughout the system. As the standards for care changed quickly, Crabbe led a team that prioritized safety protocols for patients and staff, and mobilized resources throughout the community to deal with the COVID surge prior to the wide distribution of vaccines.

Crabbe recently concluded a 17-year tenure with Appa lachian Regional Healthcare System, spending her last

three years as Chief Operating Officer. She came to ARHS in 2005 as Vice President of People Services, serving as the leader of human resources for the second-largest employer in Watauga County.

The Baker-Jones Woman of the Year award is named for long-time Chamber volun teers Gillian Baker and Susan Jones. This award honors an inspiring member who exemplifies the qualities of leadership, mentorship, and community involvement. This award is co-sponsored annu ally by Appalachian Regional Healthcare System and Blue Ridge Energy.

The event was present ed by First Horizon Bank with additional sponsorship support from Peak Insurance Group, Appalachian Regional Healthcare System, Greene Construction, Creekside Electronics and Spangler Restoration.

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Boone Chamber to coordinate Watauga County’s economic development program

The Watauga County Board of Commis sioners and Boone Area Chamber of Commerce have reached a funding agreement that re turns the Chamber to its role of coordinating and adminis tering the county’s Economic Development program.

The agreement was pre sented and approved during the Watauga County Board of Commissioners meeting Aug. 16, 2022. The initial term of the agreement begins Jan. 1, 2023 and is prorated through the end of the current fiscal year. The agreement is eligible for annual renewal through June 30, 2028.

The Chamber will receive annual funding support from Watauga County to establish a coordinated county-wide economic development program. The effort shall serve as a guide to growth in Watauga County by encour aging the creation of new jobs, or saving of existing jobs, which pay above-aver age wages, are in businesses which hav e a favorable or non-adverse impact on the physical or social environ ment, and which contribute to an appropriately balanced, stable, and vital local econ omy.

“Our Board of Directors and staff are excited to enter this agreement and thank the

Watauga County Board of Commissioners for trust ing us with this important scope of work, ” said David Jackson, President/CEO of the Boone Area Chamber of Commerce. “Our Chamber is well positioned to enhance and build relationships and provide the necessary administrative support to ef fectively manage an econom ic development program that strengthens the workforce throughout Watauga County. To position our workforce for the future, there are many issues like housing, infrastructure, and quality of life that are just as important to job and talent retention as they are to recruitment. We look forward to building a framework that features

representation from each municipality in the county and working with all parties to establish priorities that serve the unique interests and needs of our area.”

The Chamber will employ an Economic Development Direc tor to support the management of all aspects of the business recruitment and expansion (BRE) process and contribute to the overall BRE strategy.

The position will provide support in guiding site assessment and product development, coordinate existing industry support, increase awareness toward talent recruitment and re tention efforts, and develop a comprehensive strategy for marketing and brand awareness.


The Boone Area Chamber of Commerce is a private, not-forprofit 501©(6) organization, and is not affiliated with any munic ipal or county government. It is a Carolinas Accredited Chamber by CACCE and serve more than 750 members across the High Country. Its mission statement is to connect business and community partners, to enhance opportunities through advocacy and education, and support continued sustainable economic development within our region. More information can be found at

The Boone Area Chamber of Commerce previously coordinated economic devel opment efforts on behalf of Watauga County from 1997 to 2003. Many Chambers of Commerce across the State of North Carolina are engaged in similar con tracts with their respective counties. The Boone Area Chamber of Commerce has worked alongside the Blowing Rock Chamber of Commerce and the Watauga County Economic Develop ment Commission to survey a number of these relation ships to examine best prac tices and receive guidance toward reestablishing this program.

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Boone: Move here for the quality of life

To live in Boone is to experience a great quality of life. The great schools, the outdoor activities, and the four seasons make the area a great place to live – or to have a second home. Demand for our area expanded significant ly during the COVID-19 pandemic, with the desire to move away from larger cities and enjoy a good quality of life.

Boone has more primary homes than the overall High Country area, since it is the business center of the High Country and home to Appa lachian State University. The increased ability to work from home has made moving here full-time possible for more homebuyers.

The challenge with Real Estate in our area is a lack of inventory and affordable homes. The median sales price 2022 year to date in Boone is $485,000 and is currently over $500,000. Over the last two years inventory was tight because sellers could not find housing elsewhere. Currently the challenge is the higher interest rates keeping people tied to their existing lower interest rate loans and in their homes longer. This is coupled with an increased demand from buyers purchasing homes as vacation rentals.

We do expect some minor correction in overall pricing. The sales prices this year reflect competitive bidding that took prices above market

value. With higher interest rates this is no longer the case. However, we do not foresee massive price declines, since demand for our area still exceeds supply.



This year continued the wild ride in the housing mar ket, following the momentum of the last two record break ing years record breaking year in 2020, with the only limiting factor being tight inventory.

Total Real Estate sales vol ume in the Boone zip code year 2022 date is up by 26.85%, driven by an increase in median price by almost 26%. Average price increased to


The rental market in Boone is dominated by student rental apartments and con dos and generally follows 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 manage ment companies.

There are several new student-oriented apartment projects that have recently been completed.

The best bet for anyone looking for a rental prop erty is to use these three sources:

There are several rental management companies. Most cater primarily to student apartments but also have other homes. Search

$635,652, up 31%. This num ber reflects the bidding above market prevalent this year. There were 369 sales of condos and single family homes, a decrease of 3.15% over 2021.

Demand continues to be strong even with the signifi cantly higher interest rates. One of the drivers is the fact that 41% of home purchases in Boone are cash. For many buyers obtaining financing or purchasing with case, the plan is to refinance in two years when interest rates are expected to come down.

Time on market contin ues to be tight, with only a couple weeks until under contract. See the section on

‘Long Term Rentals Near Boone’ on your Internet Browser. All of the property management companies will appear in the search.

Look in the classifieds section of the local papers, which are also available online. The largest classifieds section is in the Moun tain Times and Watauga Democrat and there are an increasing number of resources on Facebook.

Look on Craigslist Boone: Even the rental companies post their listings there. Just be aware that there are many scammers on Craig slist. If it looks too good to be true, it likely is. Never send a deposit to someone without seeing the property inside in person.

28 | Boone My Hometown 2022-23
Market trends for Boone.
2022-23 | 29

being prepared for your home search below.

Prices are not as high as you head further out of town, so it can be helpful to be more flex ible on location. If you are not familiar with this area, plan a ‘scouting trip’ to acquaint yourself with the various parts of the county that would be of interest. This helps tremen dously when you see properties come on the market in your online search.


The Boone area offers as broad a variety of home styles and neighborhoods. You can find everything from starter homes to large mountain homes and from farmhouses with acreage to condos for students at ASU. What is not common in this area are large subdivisions with similar homes.

A large portion of the homes in Boone are tucked away in small subdivisions and neigh borhoods. With the terrain and numerous side 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 neigh borhoods, your best bet is to contact a local Realtor® to represent you as your buyer’s agent. The seller pays the Re altor®’s commission, so there is no cost to you.

Boone is the largest town in the High Country of NC. It is located in the center of Watauga County and is bordered by Blowing Rock on the south, Banner Elk on the southwest, Deep Gap on the east, Vilas, and Sugar Grove to the north and west and Todd and Zionville due north. If you are preforming searches for

A house on Queen Street.

real estate online it is helpful to know the names of these towns and that they are part of this area.

Within Boone town limits there are great established neighborhoods near ASU off King Street, and behind Earthfare Market. Take 321 through the town and there are neighborhoods past the hospital and golf course and along Deerfield and Bamboo Roads.

Following Poplar Grove road from campus you will find The Meadows and Kalmia Acres. Poplar Grove Road crosses Highway 105 and ex tends four miles until it meets with Shulls Mill Road, passing several neighborhoods along

the way.

Heading out of town, there are neighborhoods off of 321 toward Blowing Rock and along the Blue Ridge Parkway north. These neighborhoods include Sorrento, Goshen Valley, Grandview and Grey stone. The Blue Ridge Mountain Club is also in this area.

If you take 105 South from the main intersection at Wendy’s, there are neighbor hoods in an area called Foscoe as you are headed to Banner Elk. The largest developments there are Echota (condomini ums) Hound Ears Country Club and Twin Rivers.

North on 194 from New Market Center you can take Howard’s Creek Road, or

continue on 194 to Castleford Road or on toward Todd.


In this competitive mar ket it is important for home buyers to be prepared and proactive as they begin their search. Here are some tips to be ready.

• Even if you are casually looking, it helps to partner with a REALTOR® early in the process. They can talk to you about the market and set expectations. They can also set you up on a real estate search directly from the MLS so that you see new listings as soon as the hit the market.

• Talk to a mortgage lender and begin the paperwork to obtain a pre-approval. Not only will this tell you how much you can afford, almost all sellers require a pre-ap proval letter with an offer. If you are a cash buyer, be ready with a proof of funds letter from your financial institu tion.

• If you are like most homebuyers, you are not living in our area, so if you see a home hit the market in which you have interest, ask your REALTOR® give you a virtual tour live from the home or take a video and send it to you. Then you know if it is a home you want to come to see quickly.

• Plan a visit to this area to see homes early on, even if you are not quite sure if you are ready to buy. This will help you narrow your search to the areas and neighborhoods of interest, and you will be better able to know when the right home comes on the market.

Leslie Eason is a Realtor® with Keller Williams High Country Realty in Boone, NC and is the leader of the Leslie Eason Real Estate Team.

30 | Boone My Hometown 2022-23
Boone My Hometown 2022-23 | 31

Get to know the town of Boone

There are many func tions in every town no matter how big or small.

A lot of community mem bers may not interact with each and every aspect of town government, but they play very important roles. Here are some of the many key departments in the town of Boone in their own words.

Boone Fire Department

The Boone Fire Department is a full-service emergency services agency. We provide comprehensive fire protec tion, emergency medical first responder service, hazardous materials response services, and technical rescue services, and serve as the town of Boone’s emergency prepared ness coordinating agency. We

also enforce state fire codes through annual fire inspections and construction inspections, conduct fire investigations, and provide public fire and injury prevention education programs for the general public and businesses. The Boone Fire

Department provides these services for the town limits of Boone as well as a rural district surrounding Boone for a total of 40.5 square miles.

To accomplish all this, our de partment operates out of three fire stations, staffed with 32

full-time positions and 10 volun teers. Annually, we respond to almost 2,200 emergency calls for service. The Boone Fire De partment is rated as “Class 2” in the town limits and a “Class 3” within five miles of a fire station by the insurance industry. We can be reached at (828) 268-6180, which is the non-emergency number.

Boone Police Department

Welcome to Boone! There is a bumper sticker that you’ll see around town that says, “Boone sucks, tell your friends.” You are here now, but we need your help in keeping our little secret. Life is pretty great here in the High Country. There is a real sense of community. Road rage is a rare thing even though we have a lot of traffic congestion.

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PHOTO SUBMITTED The downtown Boone Fire Station.
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We do not have an absence of crime, but compared to many other places our crime rates are low. Boone is the type of place where people chose to raise their family.

The Boone Police Depart ment is made up of 38 sworn officers and two civilian em ployees. We strive to be a highly professional organization that delivers excellent police service to our residents and visitors. We are in the process of (as of late 2022) developing a social work program to further meet the needs of those in our com munity. We typically rely on lo cal media to report our serious news as we have a close rela tionship, but we also use social media to provide information and unsolicited commentary on mostly light-hearted issues. You can follow us on Facebook @Town of Boone Police De partment to stay in the know. If you need our assistance, we are dispatched through the Watauga County Communica tions Center at (828) 264-3761, which is the non-emergency number.

Boone Public Works Department

Boone Public Works consists of 75 employees who both install and repair Boone’s infrastructure. Thirty-one em ployees are employed within the General Fund budget, and complete maintenance for five bridges; resurfacing, patching, snow removal, leaf pickup and sweeping for 43+ miles of street; new construction, replacement, mowing and snow removal for 18+ miles of sidewalk; maintenance and mowing for 5+ miles of green ways, plus 6 parks, mainte nance and mowing for Boone Cemetery; maintenance and repair, plus new installations

for approximately 213 parking meters, seven pay-stations and 10 electric vehicle charging stations downtown; mainte nance and repair for approxi mately 250 vehicles and pieces of equipment; leaf and debris pickup for our citizens; and new construction plus replace ment and maintenance for approximately 10% of storm water infrastructure through out town.

Forty-three employees are employed within the Water and Sewer Fund budget and com plete maintenance and repair for approximately 103 miles of water mains ranging in size from 2 inch to 24 inch in diam eter, plus approximately 800 fire hydrants; maintenance and repair for approximately 100 miles of sewer mains ranging in size from 4 inch to 30 inch in diameter, plus approximately 2,327 manholes; read approx imately 6,700 water meters each month for billing purpos es; maintenance and mowing at seven water tanks totaling 6.1 million gallons of storage for treated water; perform maintenance and mowing for seven water pump-stations and 10 waste water pump-stations; provide safe drinking water to Federal and State require ments from three surface water intakes and the Ricky L. Miller Water Treatment Facility, plus treat both Boone and Appala chian State University’s waste water to federal and State requirements at the Jimmy Smith Waster Water Treatment Facility before discharging back to the New River.

We can be reached via email at publicworks@townofboone. net or by telephone at (828) 268-6230 or (828) 268-6250.

Planning and Inspec tions

The Planning and Inspec tions Department assists the Boone Town Council and appointed Boards and

Commissions in managing growth and promoting public health, safety, and general wel fare through the formulation of plans, policy recommenda tions, as well as the adminis tration of the Town’s Unified

Development Ordinance (UDO, North Carolina State Building Codes and various other codes and statutes). Our goal is to provide the very best service to

34 | Boone My Hometown 2022-23
PHOTO SUBMITTED The sign for the Boone Police Department. PHOTO SUBMITTED The sign for the town of Boone Public Works Department.
Boone My Hometown 2022-23 | 35

our customers in the commu nity while developing strategies to guide growth in a manner that preserves and enhances both the natural and built environments while creating a community of lasting value. Provided on the Department’s website — www.townofboone. net — are links on a variety of topics intended to assist residents, business owners and visitors on topics relating to land use, subdivision, building, inspections services, and devel opment information in general.

The Planning and Inspec tions Department is located in the lower level of the Down town Post Office located at 680 West King Street, Suite C. Limited free parking for cus tomers of both the Post Office and the Department is available on Linney Street adjacent to the

The Boone Cultural Resources Department hosts many different events, including concerts at the Jones House.


We can be reached via email at planning@townofboone. net or by telephone at (828) 268-6969.

Cultural Resources De partment

The Town of Boone’s Cultur al Resources Department helps oversee historic properties,

host programs, and serve as a community resource. Housed in the Jones House Cultural Center in downtown Boone, the Cultural Resources depart ment includes three full-time employees and several parttime event workers. In addition to the Jones House, the Cultur al Resources Department helps

work with user groups and programming at the Daniel Boone Park, Rivers Park and North Street Park. Cultural Resources oversees program ming at the Jones House and other special events in town. Some of these programs and events include historic tours of downtown Boone, Summer Concerts at the Jones House, Boone Junior Appalachian Musicians, Boonerang Music & Arts Festival, Doc Watson Day, July 4th parade and fireworks, Boone BOO!, Festive First Friday and Solar Tree Lighting, and the Holiday Parade. Cul tural Resources also works on special programs, like 2022’s Boone 150, sesquicentennial celebration.

For more information about the Cultural Resources Depart ment, visit www.joneshouse. org or call (828) 268-6280.

For more information on the town of Boone, visit www.

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Return of the festivals

brick and mortars and working with DBTA and our downtown businesses and also our local nonprofit and essentially, mak ing it really Boone-centric.”

King Street became a hub for musicians, vendors and lovers of the arts in 2022

festivals brought thousands to downtown Boone in a true return after COVID-19.

Kicking off the summer with an inaugural, first-of-its-kind event, Town of Boone Cultural Resources Director Mark Freed helped bring thousands of peo ple to the streets of downtown for Boonerang the weekend of June 18.

“Over the years there have been a few different down town festivals and it always

just seems like it brings our community out in such a great way. It’s great to see every body coming out to downtown and we wanted to revive that tradition, but to do it in some new and exciting ways,” Freed

said. “Putting the big street stage out and closing streets and having open containers in certain areas and doing some things that hadn’t been done exactly in those ways before — incorporating some of our

With stages at the Jones House, Lost Province, South Depot Street and Espresso News, the live performances covered a wide array of musical styles including gospel, soul, blues, reggae, rock, sing er-songwriter, bluegrass, metal, pop and Americana.

Art vendors organized by the Watauga Arts Council sold clothing, accessories, decor and more while local restaurants set up tents and food trucks to serve community favorites at the event. Nonprofits partici pated, too, having information, resources and opportunities to donate to the organizations that

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Downtown events bring crowds to King Street
PHOTO BY JILLYAN MOBLEY Sarah Zurhellen and Will Johnson smiled at their child Greta Lou Johnson enjoying Boonerang in her noise cancelling headphones.


support the town.

“Just the awesome support from all these organizations and dozens of volunteers, it’s just really heartwarming,” Freed said. “The response from the community has been hugely enthusiastic and the energy and the vibe we got from people is so exciting.”

Freed said the planning team and volunteers are already preparing for Boonerang 2023. Though he said they are expecting some growth in “healthy, organic way,” it will remain the same at its core as a “Boone-centric, free street mu sic and arts festival downtown the third weekend of June.”

Rounding of the warm er months was Antlers and Acorns, an innovative music festival taking place the week of Labor Day.

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Working Title Farm collaborated with the Downtown Boone Development Association to bring a songwriters festival to King and Howard streets, offering VIP experiences with
PAGE 42 PHOTO BY JILLYAN MOBLEY AnnaLisa Hadnavny and Andre Pierre Rowland danced to the bluegrass music played by Wiseapple at Boonerang on June 17.
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performers that encouraged visitors to explore Boone and the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Self-identified creative and festival founder Shari Smith said 93% of ticket buyers were from out-of-state, coming to town for the week specifically for the performances taking place downtown.

Smith said she loves Boone and used the festival as an opportunity to show people the town. Smith said she would share daily itineraries, highlighting local businesses and “must-sees.” Alongside the performances, songwriters went on excursions during the day. From hiking to fly fishing, fans had the opportunity to explore the High Country with their favorite artists.

Smith said an unexpected hit of the festival were morning performances at Hole Lotta Doughnuts on Friday and Saturday mornings, which brought people together to enjoy a coffee, a treat and a songwriter they loved.

In the evenings, Lost Prov ince, Ransom, Venture Wine and Chocolate, Coyote Kitchen, Booneshine Brewing Com pany, The Horton Hotel and the Jones House were trans formed into concert venues for various performers while the Appalachian Theatre featured headliners including John Paul White, Mary Gauthier, Matt King and Heidi Newfield and Caleb Caudle.

Smith said the week was full of memorable moments, from “nutty” to emotional. From folks “jumping up and down” at Lost Province to witnessing the “unmitigated joy that music can bring to somebody,” Smith said she is looking forward to more moments like that next year.

Cidny Bullens sings at Coyote Kitchen on Sept. 9, during Boone’s Antlers and Acorns songwriters festival. This was Bullens’ first gig in two and a half years and he was very grateful for the opportunity.

As the leaves changed, the festivities continued with Busk ers Fest taking to King Street the evening of Oct. 7 with the planning of the Watauga Arts Council and the Downtown Boone Development Associa tion.

The “celebration of diverse cultural and artistic commu nity here in Watauga County” featured a poetry open-mic, African dance demonstrations, auctions, a dance floor and more than a dozen musical performers. There was also a huge paper mache guitar, a king-bed-sized weaving loom and a paint by number that all of the visitors were welcomed to contribute to.

Printmakers, cloggers, bagpipers and fiber artists were among the 60 different free op portunities of arts enjoyment taking place that evening.

“The spirit of the festival lies in the fun community atmosphere and the accessi bility of the arts to everyone. We want all members of the Watauga County community to be exposed to and enjoy the

arts, and to be able to recognize and appreciate the amazing artists that live among them,” said Amy Forrester, chair of the programming and events committee. “We want to keep the arts and those who provide them for our community at the top of the minds of those who are fortunate enough to enjoy them. We feel like this festival brings so many people — artists and art appreciators — together to celebrate the magic our little town has in its

tight-knit community atmo sphere.”

Businesses throughout downtown participated in the event. From hanging up paint ings to hosting performers, the Watauga Arts Council brought the community together to celebrate artists.

2022 was a true return of the festival — old and new alike — in downtown Boone and it has set a foundation for future years to host even more community get-togethers.

42 | Boone My Hometown 2022-23
PHOTO BY PIPER SAUNDERS PHOTO BY MOSS BRENNAN Naomi Jarrell gets help with a piece of pottery from an artist in front of the Hands Gallery during Buskers Fest.



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College GameDay in Boone

Following App State’s win over #6 Texas A&M, ESPN’s pregame show College GameDay announced it was coming to Boone before the App State home football game vs Troy.

The decision to send the GameDay crew to App State created a rush of activity as Boone prepared for the spot light.

With an average viewership of 2.1 million through the first few weeks, a new high for the

pregame show since 2010, the spectacle came with an instant economic boost as thousands

converged on Boone and its hotels and businesses.

“We haven’t seen energy

like this in quite a few years. It

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PHOTO BY PATRICK MCCORMACK Pat McAfee and Lee Corso listen to another College GameDay host speak on Sept. 17 while on Appalachian State’s campus.
Event has immediate impact, puts community members in the national spotlight SEE GAMEDAY ON PAGE 46
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finally feels like we are back in business doing what we love best. People are so excited to be in Boone and be a part of what our Mountaineers are doing this season,” said Tara Brossa, General Manager of the Hamp ton Inn & Suites of Boone. At the hotel, our team is grateful to serve as a High Country home base for those guests and everyone else learning about our great town from the public ity we have received from this exciting event.”

The management team at Ransom Pub in downtown Boone knew they were in for a big week. “We always expect a big turnout, especially during the fall, but this week was unique in that we saw all kinds of fans coming to Boone for the first time, along with droves of alumni coming to join in on the excitement of the week. We saw a big bump in sales Thursday through Sunday, and we were so excited to be a part of the energy that GameDay brought to Boone,” said a spokesperson from Ransom Pub.

In fact, GameDay’s trip to Boone was the most watched of the first three shows of the sea son, with more than 2.8 million people tuning in to view the last hour of the program, according to ESPN.

The immediate impact of GameDay in Boone was felt amongst many businesses in the High Country, but there are also longer-term benefits, said David Jackson, President, and CEO of Boone Area Chamber of Commerce. “This window of enhanced visibility will help introduce our area to the next generation of visitors and people who may become interested in relocating their business and family life to the High Country. What we know from the after

math of the Michigan win back in 2007 was that many people came to visit in the months after and made lasting connections to the area. They are still coming back to our area on a regular basis to this day, and that shot of attention came 15 years ago. Less than five minutes after College Gameday closed their show from campus, we received an email from a family in Oregon, requesting infor mation from Boone to be sent to them, so they can plan their east coast visit next summer with a stop in our area. That story will be told time and again over the next several weeks and months. What will the impact of this recent stretch of success and attention look like 15 years from now? Time will tell, but if the past teaches us anything, it’s likely that we will have new au diences coming to our area, and falling in love with this place the same way many of us did when we made our first visit,” Jackson said.

Joe Furman, Director of Economic Development with

the Watauga Economic Devel opment Commission, said it’s hard to put a dollar figure on the economic impact of this football game.

“The national exposure for the university and this region is priceless. Millions of people were exposed to the beauty and quality of life we enjoy here in the High Country. It’s a wonderful place to live and it was on full display this week.”

For Appalachian State, this level of attention broke new ground, with Chancellor Sheri Everts calling it “unparalleled in our university’s history” and adding that it “brings with it prestige and recognition for the entire App State campus.”

The three-hour pre-game show highlighted Boone and the university, and put its community leaders in the national spotlight. As a part of Extra Yard for Teachers Week, local educators were highlight ed with two teachers receiving $1000 Donor Choose grants to support their classroom ac

tivities. Additionally, a $6,000 grant from the College Foot ball Playoff Foundation went towards the Teacher Cadet program at Watauga County Schools, thanks to a collabora tion between Watauga County Superintendent Scott Elliott and App State’s Reich College of Education.

“It was an exciting week for our community, and I can’t think of a better way to cap off the Extra Yard for Teachers celebration than by highlight ing our local educators on a national ESPN broadcast,” said Dr. Scott Elliott, Super intendent of Watauga County Schools. “I am so grateful for our close relationship with the College of Education, and celebrating our teachers seems like a natural way to celebrate the University and the teachers who work so hard to make our community such a special place to live. All these teachers are heroes in my book, and they deserve to be recognized in such a huge way. I want everyone to know that Boone is not just a wonderful community with a great University and vibrant business community, but we are also a place with an out standing public school system and a wonderful quality of life for our families. There really is something special about this place, and now everyone knows it!”

And to top things off, the storybook week was capped off with a fitting fairytale ending when App State won the game in a last-second Hail Mary heave in the remaining seconds.

It was the only way the week could end.

“Appalachian State earned the ability to have GameDay on its campus. The people have been so friendly, the weather

46 | Boone My Hometown 2022-23
PHOTO BY PATRICK MCCORMACK Students cheer and display signs before College GameDay presentations started on Saturday, Sept. 17.
Boone My Hometown 2022-23 | 47 2017 2018 2019 2020 Tanks for voting us best of the best 6 years in a Wrow! e are honored and thankful. Our NewBlowing RockLocation: The Pedalin’Pigat Woodlands 8304 ValleyBlvd. BlowingRock,NC28605 828.295.3651 BannerElkLocation: 4235Hwy105South BannerElk,NC28604 828.898.7500 BooneLocation: 2968-1Hwy105 Boone ,NC28607 828.898.7500


is spectacular, and we believe this is a football program that deserves national attention,” said Desmond Howard, College GameDay co-host.

Certainly, Boone and App State have made their case for College GameDay to return to the High Country.

But if not, the beauty of Blue Ridge mountains may be enough of a case to lure them back.

“This area is one of the most beautiful places that God created with spectacular and breathtaking views of the mountains… I know well the beauty and majesty of the mountains, and it’s sort of awe-inspiring no matter how many times you see it. This is my first time in Boone, but certainly not my first time in these mountains,” said

Reece Davis, host of College GameDay.

It was an incredible week

that will have long-lasting ben efits for this region for many years to come. What a week

for this town, for the univer sity, and for the High Country community.

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PHOTO SUBMITTED WCS teachers were honored on College GameDay Sept. 17 during Extra Yard for Teachers Week.

Lost Province

Hyperlocal and community grown

Boone is home to many types of businesses. What’s unique about busi nesses in Boone is how unique one is. Just like community built Lost Province.

Lost Province Brewing Company opened its doors in 2014 as a brewpub owned by Lynne and Andy Mason. Over the past eight years, the Masons have expanded across the town of Boone through a hyperlocal focus that pro motes healthy expansion and community.

Lost Province, located in downtown Boone, serves house-made farm-to-table ele vated pub food with Southern inspiration. With hushpuppies and cheeseboards to tradi tional Neapolitan pizza and Nashville hot chicken sand wiches, the restaurant has become a must-go for locals and tourists alike.

Despite its huge presence, Lost Province and its sister restaurants are all fami ly owned and operated by Lynne and Andy alongside their adult children and their spouses, Carolyn and Rich ard Ward and JP and Megan Mason.

Lynne grew up in Chapel Hill and Andy grew up in cen tral New York, moving down to the South in 1978. The couple met in 1980 while in graduate school, Lynne study ing for her Master’s Degree in Social Work and Andy for his PhD in Medicinal Chemistry.

After a short-lived adven ture in Pennsylvania, the Ma-

sons made Boone their home in 1995. Lynne immersed her self in the community, serving as the director of Hospitality House and serving as a Boone Town Council member for 18 years. While working, Andy was an avid home-brewer, using his chemistry knowl edge to make beer for almost 30 years before opening the brewery.

In 2013, the couple began looking for a potential spot for their brewery and settled into 130 North Depot Street about a year after starting their search. On Aug. 8, 2014, Lost Province opened.

Despite their consistent and evident growth and success over the past several years, the Masons said, at first, it was a lot of sleepless nights.

“I think anyone who’s doing a small business knows — if you plan carefully and you manage it carefully and you have a good product and you’re connected to the community, I mean, there’s so many different things that need to be going on — even with all of that, it takes a good three years to really get roots with a business,” Lynne

said. “We were fortunate to participate with a program called Scale Up WNC through Mountain BizWorks. They’re located in Asheville, so we’ve learned all about the hockey stick principle where you kind of ride along and then all of a sudden you start the growth that broke the curse. It was kind of at that point we start ed sleeping again.”

Andy said that something they learned early on is that “there’s only a very small number of people who are going to come through your door out of the total pro portion that know about you and so one of the keys is to get enough people that know about you such that that proportion that actually comes to your venue makes it self sustaining.” He said one thing he wished they had done differently is being proactive with marketing.

“If I would knock us for anything, it’s not doing enough work ahead of time, or even while we were building the business, etc,” Andy said. “Do that marketing, do that outreach and stuff like that to make that population large

enough. And I think that there’s a couple of classics mistakes that small business people do — that’s one of them.”

Even with long nights and growing pains, the Masons were ready for growth just about three years after open ing the doors at Lost Province.

In 2017, the couple and their growing business team began discussing expanding beer production. With the help of relators and communi ty connections, the location at 289 Daniel Boone Drive Suite B was brought to their atten tion. They thought they could start developing Lost Province Hardin Creek in 2019 before it came to a halt.

“We are independent and a family owned business. We have no shareholders or anything. We’re not independently wealthy. We invested what we had saved in the business and we fortu nately good credit and we’re fortunate to get the funding for the downtown location,” Lynne said. “And we were working on the same for here and pretty much in the finals stages of getting things secure and COVID hit — shut down all conversations with banks abruptly.”

With plenty else to worry about, the Masons put their efforts into maintaining their downtown location and keep ing their patrons and employees safe when they were able to reopen.

“We have the most amazing employees and almost all of them came back. We main tained all social distancing — we were rather neurotic about it. We just wanted to

Boone My Hometown 2022-23 | 49
PHOTO BY FRANK RUGGIERO J.P. Mason mans the wood-fired pizza oven.


keep people safe. We were out in the parking lot we sanitiz ing everything over and over because no one quite knew how this virus was spreading at that time, and we were back in a good position again,” Lynne said.

Though the lenders they were previously working with for the Hardin Creek location decided to not move for ward, Lynne and Andy were persistent and found a lender. They then went from “appli cation to approval for funding in 30 days.” They entered a formal lease at the location soon after.

Andy said there was a sense of urgency in setting up the barrel tanks. Throughout the pandemic, canning became their “lifeline,” selling at grocery stores and through

take-out. When they reopened and old accounts were coming back, they had trouble keep ing up.

“We’d have guys out there selling beer and stuff like that and I’m trying to tell them like, ‘Wait a minute, I’m going to need beer for my pub,’

that’s the kind of crunch we were under,” Andy said. “So we’ve been open just a little bit more than a year now. The funny thing about it is I thought it would take us about three years to bring this to the max capacity and we’re probably going to be max

capacity before two years or maybe shortly thereafter, so the timeline has really been accelerated.”

After opening their second location, the Masons were not eagerly looking for a third. But when approached to take over operations at Coyote Kitchen, Lynne followed a lesson she learned by not impulsively saying no.

“We are family-owned and operated so both of our adult children and their spouses are involved, everyone has a different role which makes this work. And Andy and I will be slowing down in years to come so we discussed it with them to see if it was some thing they’d be interested in,” Lynne said. “We’re very passionate about independent and locally-owned business, which that was, and it was also one of our family favorite

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PHOTO BY JILLYAN MOBLEY Andy and Lynne Mason are the owners of Lost Province Brewing Company, both Downtown and the Hardin Creek location, and Coyote Kitchen.
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With the support and en couragement of their children and their spouses, the Masons moved forward in taking over operations at Coyote Kitchen, which has been a staple in the community since 2006. The family is “committed” to maintaining the Southwest and Caribbean theme as well as the gluten free, vegan and allergy friendly focus. With these consistencies in mind, some new aspects will come, including plans for a tap room that will change the restaurant name to “Coyote Kitchen and Lost Cantina.”

With their presence in the the town spreading, the Masons are passionate about continuing to support their employees and the commu nity.

Through her work in the nonprofit world, Lynne learned the restaurant in dustry can be “very rough,” including low wages and poor working conditions. She said that when opening Lost Province, they wanted to professionalize how restau rants can be run in a “socially responsible way.”

“We just strongly believe in trying to the best we can for our employees because they are our most important asset,” Andy said. “Take care of your peeps.”

In addition to their passion for caring for their employees, the Masons have a “hyperlo cal” focus in Boone.

Everything is sourced as locally as possible, from T-shirts to produce, Lynne said. The restaurant works with a lot of local farmers in purchasing ingredients and donating by-products from beer production for livestock.

Musicians are a staple of the downtown pub space and Andy said they have had “the best time” getting to know musicians locally and region ally for their line-ups.

Another aspect of their hy perlocal focus is giving pack to nonprofits and organizations that serve the community.

“One of our mentors has been John Cooper, owner of Mast General Store, and he taught me early on the importance of giving back to the community,” Lynne said.

“So even in our toughest days, we embarked on finding ways to give back and we initiated a program called ‘Get Lost for a Cause.’ We sponsor a non profit one day each month, and we give them 10% of the sales proceeds. Plus, we desig nate a percent of sales from a designated beer for the month and it’s a fun way to bring community together.”

The High Country Breast Cancer Foundation, Hospital ity House, Hunger and Health

Coalition, Watauga Humane Society and Blue Ridge Wom en in Agricultural are just a few of the organizations that have partnered with the Get Lost for a Cause program.

Lost Province has made a name for itself as a safe space for members of all communi ty. A hanging LGBT+ flag that reads “Abide no Hate” hangs front and center over the bar, gender neutral bathrooms are the norm and a diverse staff works at all levels of the restaurant operations.

“I just think that it was real ly important for us from very early on to create a safe space for everybody and I think we follow through,” Andy said. “I think that goes with our phi losophy of trying to create a welcoming space for anybody, no matter who you are.”

Lynne and Andy have made Boone the home for their family and their restaurants. Lynne said she loves Boone and thinks there is a “very unique sense of community

and quality of life and there’s this wonderful dynamic with it.” Andy said he does not believe Lost Province would be what it is if it was anywhere other than Boone.

“This is the lost province in North Carolina, and that’s how I got the name. The lost province was isolated cultur ally, geographically, physically from the rest of the state, and I think that caused two effects. No. 1, people developed this fierce independence because they knew nobody was going to take care of them. But the other thing is, there are other larger projects that everybody knew that they had to get together to do,” Andy said.”So you have this almost yin and yang of extreme entrepreneur ialism and this strong cultural cohesion of community and I was struck by that, I’ve never seen any place that has that mixture before. I think that’s part of what makes this area unique and what makes Boone so special.”

52 | Boone My Hometown 2022-23
PHOTO BY JILLYAN MOBLEY Lynne Mason in front of the Lost Province Hardin Creek location.

A new home

Boone Chamber moves to new location to help continue its mission

Aconversation that started inside a gazebo on the Boone Greenway has evolved into a new home for the Boone Area Chamber of Commerce.

In the late fall of 2022, the Chamber moved into a new 3,200 square-foot headquar ters at Greenway Commons, which serves as the home of other well-known business destinations like Boone Drug Greenway and Blue Ridge Pediatric & Adolescent Med icine.

The new facility was de signed as a member-focused hub for business activity.

appointments or use by groups

Boone My Hometown 2022-23 | 53
Whether it’s casual workspace for members who need a quick stopover location between PHOTO BY JOSH FLOYD Plans for the new Boone Area Chamber of Commerce location.
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that require semi-private and private meeting spaces, the floor plan is built to bring the business community together in a modern and accessible location.

“The pandemic times taught us a lot about what people are looking for in terms of space,” said David Jackson, Presi dent/CEO of the Boone Area Chamber of Commerce. “More people are working remote ly, and we saw an uptick in requests from members that needed a place where they could get away from the dis tractions of their home office. We also heard from members who simply needed a space to reset between appointments, perhaps check their email, and get organized for the rest of their day. We designed our space with these types of uses

in mind.”

In addition to space for in dividual and small group use, the Chamber’s new headquar ters features a state-of-the-art conference room, with full presentation capabilities and seating for up to 50 people de pending on configuration. In addition to hosting Chamber functions and meetings, mem bers will be able to reserve the space for business-related uses.

“People are always look ing for business-appropri ate gathering space in our community,” said Jackson. “We could only accommodate about eight people around our conference table in our old facility. We wanted a design that allowed for flexibility in use, but also one that could provide a home-court advan tage for the various groups and chamber committees that are involved in our scope of work. The conference room

will feature modern meeting technologies, and it also opens into our public workspaces, so we can expand the capacity beyond 50 guests for a recep tion or meeting that requires additional breakout space.”

In addition to member use, the facility will feature office space for Chamber staff while also housing offices for the Boone Area Sports Commis sion and Watauga County Economic Development Commission.

“When we met in May of 2021 in that gazebo, we talked about the need to find space to accommodate our future growth,” said Jackson. “Little did we know those plans would come together so quickly. We were for tunate that a prospective buyer contacted Appalachian Commercial Real Estate about our old (King Street) location not long after we had this talk, and that set the wheels in

motion. The fresh conversa tion about the need for space put us ahead of the curve when it came to considering uses and ultimately working with Sketchline Architecture to design the space. We knew we wanted a true hub concept, that could service our needs as a staff while also giving us the opportunity to better assist members in their needs for functional space.”

While usually serving as an advocate for businesses as they experience expansion and construction, the Cham ber found itself in a unique position of living their own words of advice.

“The process has been very smooth because we have a great project manager and general contractor, which are com ponents we always preach to those that ask us about devel oping new space. The trust and


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relationship you can build with these folks are what make a project work or not,” said Jack son. “Sketchline Architecture and 4 Forty Four Construction have been very communicative when it comes to process, per mitting, and most importantly, the timeline of the project. We started this process at a time when supply chains were being disrupted and inflation was driving up prices. The relation ships we had with our construc tion partners and building own ership allowed us to maximize our efficiency, both from a time and financial standpoint. We’ve always stressed the value of working with local crews that know our construction climate and can anticipate challenges before they occur. We lived through that process and will double down on giving that type of advice in the future.”

While the Chamber staff moved in during the Fall of 2022, the personality of the space will continue to evolve over time. The Chamber team wants to ensure the space answers the needs of staff as well as members, and will be prepared to make any adjustments that are needed in order to provide the type of location they envisioned for all that come in contact.

“We have a member, The Care Collective, that recently completed an upfit of their own, and Megan Ward (own er) provided us some great advice on how to properly move in to our space,” said Jackson. “Every time I step inside Megan’s business, I no tice something new, whether that is repurposed space or a new painting on the wall. She told us that opening the doors and expecting everything to be perfect is unrealistic. The

building’s best uses and per sonality will come out as people interact inside the space. Our goal is to create a venue that allows our members and staff to do business. As those needs change, we need to be prepared to adapt to how the facility functions. So, while we may be settled in now, I think we will always tinker with some element of the facility, to keep things fresh and to always have the user’s needs in mind.”

Jackson says the size and functionality of the space will provide opportunities to en gage members that may have never visited the Chamber of fices before, which could lead to new partnerships based on that interaction.

“Our old office was in a good spot in terms of its downtown Boone location, but it was not designed for member engagement,” said Jackson. “You had to know how to get to us, and unless

you were coming specifical ly to see our staff or grab a brochure, there really wasn’t space for you to stay around too long. We want this new facility to be the opposite. We want our members to feel like they have some space to get some work done while also being able to easily interact with our staff. By creating that type of environment, there is no limit to the ways we can enhance relationships to benefit all involved.”

56 | Boone My Hometown 2022-23
PHOTO BY JOSH FLOYD David Jackson breaking ground at the new Boone Area Chamber of Commerce location.



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Learningiscompassionate Empathy, kindness,andcitizenship arecorevalues.

Learningisshared Studentscollaboratewithoneanotherand sharetheirlearning withthecommunity.

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Middle Fork Greenway

Connecting Boone to neighbors through nature

The Middle Fork Greenway is just one of the many rea sons why Boone is so special and how the town helps the community connect with neighbors through nature.

Major progress has been made on the long anticipat ed Middle Fork Greenway that will connect Boone and Blowing Rock along one of the most popular rivers in the High Country.

According to the Blue Ridge Conservancy, The Middle Fork Greenway will be about six and a half miles connecting to the already existing Boone Greenway, creating more than 15 miles of contiguous trail. With the majority of the trail being a 10-foot wide asphalt path, some other locations will be slightly less wide at six to eight feet and made of natural surface trail to preserve and protect topography and the

trout stream.

The trail will connect the Blue Ridge Parkway, the Mountain-to-Sea trail, Shop pes on the Parkway, Tweetsie Railroad, Mystery Hill, the hospital and three pocket parks, according to Blue Ridge Conservancy.

A group of volunteers be gan conversations about the Middle Fork Greenway in the mid-90s, said Wendy Pato prsty, Director of the Middle Fork Greenway. A feasibility study was conducted with several App State professors following the initial conver sation. Then, more than a decade later in 2012, another feasibility study was done and then another this past year, Patoprsty said.

Patoprsty said the concept for the greenway was a “big picture” for a long time, but nothing can happen until the “fine tuning” happens. From the 90s til today, a lot

58 | Boone My Hometown 2022-23
PHOTO BY JILLYAN MOBLEY Wendy Patoprsty is the Director of the Middle Fork Greenway.

of progress has been made, especially in the last seven years since the Blue Ridge Conservancy got involved.

Blue Ridge Conservancy began working with the NC Department of Transporta tion who funded the most recent feasibility study and found it was possible to connect Boone and Blowing Rock with this trail, Pato prsty said. So they began “diving into it inch by inch.”

Patoprsty said the conser vancy has acquired about 85 acres from Boone to Blowing Rock along the Middle Fork River with the intention of people “coming out and connecting with the river, learning about the river, learning about our ecosys tems and being a part of the environment that’s here. ”

When creating trails, there are a lot of obstacles, Pato prsty said. Acquiring land from private land owners, working with the National Parks Service, approving grants through two town municipalities, requesting land access from Watauga County and applying for

public grants while collecting private donations are just some of the steps needed to complete each portion of trail, Patoprsty said.

Through hard work and a lot of collaboration, just under two miles of the trail has been completed and ad dition mileage is in progress.

Completed portions of the trail are open to the public and accessible through the US Hwy 321 Trailhead.

The Middle Fork River is one of the most popular trout fishing spots in the area, Patoprsty said, and now the land is public. Those who enjoy fishing no longer have to worry about tres passing on private land to access the area.

“When thinking histori cally, thinking about ‘how do we have mountaintops that don’t have houses and condos on them?’ They’re protected and they have either easements in place or protections that will limit the amount of development that can happen and that’s kind of why we all want to live here. People move here and flock here because of our natural resources so if

Boone My Hometown 2022-23 | 59
PHOTO BY JILLYAN MOBLEY The development of the Middle Fork Greenway gives public ac cess to one of the most popular trout fishing spots in the area.
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all of our natural resources are private lands, then that means anybody can develop anything they want and that you have no access to that,” Patoprsty said. “Our mission is to protect land.”

The Middle Fork Greenway is funded by Watauga TDA, state grants, NC Land and Water Fund, NC Parks and Recreation Trust Fund, NC Division of Water Resourc es, NC Recreational Trails Program, numerous founda tions including Wells Fargo, Truist, Bank of America, The Cannon Foundation, The Anne Cannon Trust and nu merous private donations in cluding those made through the Greenway Round-Up.

“This project and the Greenway could not be

done without Watauga County, Town of Blowing Rock, Town of Boone, lots of state funders like Parks Recreation Trust Fund, but really Watauga County TDA

and our local donors are what’s making this happen,” Patoprsty said. “It’s just really important to put local dollars into creating more public access. COVID taught

us was that we all need to get outside for that peace of mind and sense of well being and so having spaces where you can go out and enjoy the trees and the birds and some quiet time, it’s just really important for all of us.”

Patoprsty said she be lieves connecting with nature helps people want to preserve nature, and one of the goals of the Middle Fork Greenway is to give people the opportunity to form that connection.

“Small, little connections has brought so much joy to so many people who come to visit us that on a larger scale, when you can get outside and have a positive expe rience in nature, that stays with you,” Patoprsty said. “I think getting outside and having a healthy mind and a healthy body helps you make those choices in life.”

60 | Boone My Hometown 2022-23
FILE PHOTO Middle Fork Greenway project director Wendy Patoprsty outlines the six sections of the six miles of pathway to connect Blowing Rock and Boone for hikers, bicyclists, and runners. FILE PHOTO More than 50 area residents, government officials, and business leaders gathered for a ‘ribbon tying’ ceremony, Aug. 18, at the recently completed section of the Middle Fork Greenway.
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College Town Living

As one of the larger schools in terms of enrollment in the University of North Carolina system, Appalachian State University adds a myriad of economic and quality of life benefits to residence of the High Country.

Founded in 1899 as the Watauga Academy and later becoming the Appalachian State Teachers College, today Appalachian State is one of the largest campuses in the UNC system, with a fall 2022 enrollment of 20,436.

The student-to-faculty ra tio is 16:1, while the average class size is 25. The school is divided into six under graduate colleges, a school

of music plus a graduate school. Appalachian’s col leges and school offer more than 150 undergraduate and graduate majors to students. App State regularly places highly in the U.S. News and World Report’s Best Colleges rankings.

The more than 141,000 living alumni from the university are spread out in all 50 U.S. states and many countries across the globe.

A university offers many advantages to those living 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 orga nized by faculty and students throughout the year.

The university also offers multiple arts and entertain ment opportunities, includ ing exhibition programs and workshops in the visual arts; a performing arts series featuring world-renowned visiting artists; theater productions, concerts and recitals by Appalachian’s highly acclaimed Hayes School of Music and Depart ment of Theatre and Dance; programs supporting student authors of poetry, fiction, plays in creative nonfiction; presentations and workshops by renowned authors; a pop ular 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 entertain ment.

The 210,000 square feet Belk Library and Infor mation Commons is open to regional residents and visitors with public access computers and library cards available.

Many programs at App State focus on community outreach, including support for families of children with special needs, arts education swim and lifeguard class es, support for App State employees and alumni and starting a business, the Com munication Disorders Clinic, fitness testing, summer

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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 business es benefit from countless volunteer hours contributed by Appalachian’s students, faculty and staff.

Sports lovers will appre ciate Appalachian states athletics programs double digit NCAA Division 1 varsity sports. They include the Mountaineer football team, which won three consecutive FCS national championships from 2005–2007 and since 2014 has competed in the Division I Football Bowl Subdivision, going 6-1 in bowl game appearances. App State is recognized around

the country for its game day atmosphere and the scenic Kidd Brewer Stadium. In the process has attracted multi ple “Power Five” conference opponents to come play in Boone, and for the first time in history, attracted the ES PN’s College Gameday tele vision program to the school. For more information about events at Appalachian State, visit events.

Appalachian State offers a beautiful setting in which to study, work and visit. It’s campus is nestled among the peaks of the Blue Ridge Mountains, including the prominent Howards Knob overlooking campus and downtown Boone. Campus members can often be spot ted relaxing and recreating in Appalachian’ s Durham Park, on open lawns and in hammocks strung between shady trees.

The campus encompass es 1,200 acres, with 375 acres developed, as well as 30 academic buildings, 20 residence halls, three dining facilities and 11 recreational and athletic facilities. Ap palachian State has recently expanded its footprint, from constructing a new outdoor track and fieldhouse at the location of the old Watau ga High School campus on N. C. 105, to the recently completed Leon Levine Hall of health sciences building in Boone‘s medical District to the recently completed Leon Levine Hall of Health Sciences in Boone’s medical district.

The school is revitalizing its main campus as well: a new student housing re placement project is nearing completion; Kidd Brewer Stadium has expanded with the building of the new North End Zone Facility; a

new parking lot is being con structed; and a biology con servatory is slated to be the first facility at Appalachian’ s new Innovation District atop Bodenheimer Drive.

For more information about Appalachian State, visit


Part of Appalachian mountain culture is taking care of neighbors and other members of the community, and that does not change as people age.

Boone and the surrounding High Country has numerous organizations that focus on taking care of seniors and giving them plenty of options as the years go on.


The Watauga County Project on Aging is a county

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Boone My Hometown 2022-23 | 65


department that encourages independence and pro motes wellness by provid ing supportive services to the county’ s older adults, according to the organiza tion. Project on Aging offers in-home aid, home-deliv ered meals, transportation serv ices, congregate nutri tion services and Medicare assistance.


The High Country Area Agency on Aging is part of a nationwide network established under the Older Americans Act. Area Agen cies on Aging are designed to be local organizations charged with helping vulner able older adults live with independence and dignity in their homes and communi ties, with the High Country organization overseeing seven counties, including Watauga.

The High Country Area Agency on Aging is housed

in the High Country Council of Governments in Boone, and covers Alleghany, Avery, Ashe, Mitchell, Watauga, Wilkes and Yancey counties.

As part of the mission of the Older Americans Act, High Country AAA provides community based services and supports, a long-term care ombudsman program, a family caregiver support pro gram, health and wellness serv ices and information and assistance services.

Community-based services and support are provided by funded service providers who offer transportation, in-home aid, nutrition services, health promotion, housing and home im provement, adult daycare, information and assistance, insurance counseling, and legal services. The long-term care ombudsman program advocates for resident’s rights in long-term care facilities while providing information, education and awareness to prevent elder abuse.


The following information is provided by Appalachian State University. Enrollment, Fall 2022

• 20,436 total

• 18,558 undergraduate (main campus and App State Online)

• 1,878 graduate (main campus and App State Online)

• 1,498 new transfer students (main campus and App State Online)

• 3,917 first-year students

• 1,752 App State Online students

• 18.6% racially and/or ethnically underrepresented

• 18,678 in state

• 1,758 out of state, or 9%


• 16:1 student-to-faculty ratio

• 25 average class size

• 6 undergraduate colleges, 1 music school and 1 graduate school

• 98% of full-time faculty have doctorate, first professional degree or other terminal degree

• More than 150 undergraduate and 80 graduate majors

• 82.9% first- to second-year retention rate

Buildings & campus

• 1,200 acres, with 375 developed

• 30 academic buildings

• 213,000-square-foot library

• One loft in New York City

• 18 residence halls, housing about 6,100 students on campus

• 10 on-campus dining facilities

• 11 recreational and athletic facilities

66 | Boone My Hometown 2022-23
Boone also offers many options for senior living including Glenbridge Health and Rehabilitation, Deerfield Assisted Living, Appala chian Brian Estates and the F oley Center at Chestnut Ridge.
PHOTO COURTESY APPALACHIAN STATE Despite unprecedented growth and construction, App State’s Sanford Mall remains an integral and preserved part of the east side of campus.
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Local health care continues to grow to serve Boone

Boone is the health care center of the High Country, and the medical district — anchored by Watauga Med ical Center — has continued to expand and add new state-ofthe-art facilities.

Most recently, an expansion at Watauga Medical Center is nearly complete. The $126 million construction project is structural and technological improvements to ensure the delivery of premier health care into the future. The 48bed Schaefer Family Patient

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PHOTO COURTESY ARHS The Watauga Medical Center viewed aerially, is the hub of all nearly all medical specialization in the High Country.
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Care Tower is expected to be completed by the end of 2022. The building will house larger patient rooms to accommo date high-tech mobile medical equipment, state-of-the-art surgical suites, an updated Emergency Department, women’s health services, imaging and laboratory ser vices, and new waiting waiting areas.

Visit pansion to learn more.

The new Schaefer Fami ly Patient Care Tower will expand the number of beds at Watauga Medical Center from 117 to 165 beds. In addition to the extra services provided by the new facility, Watau ga Medical Center offers both primary and secondary acute and specialty care. The hospital campus also includes outpatient clinics and a diag nostics center.

Watauga Medical Center is part of the Boone-based Appalachian Regional Health care System.

ARHS offers access to three hospitals, 15 medical offices and 27 outpatient services. In addition ARHS partners with the Appalachian Regional Medical Associates medical practice group, who assist in providing healthcare access to residents of the High Country and the surrounding com munities. The multi specialty group offers services including family medicine, gastroen terology, general surgery, gynecology, internal medi cine, obstetrics, orthopedics, pulmonology, rheumatology, thoracic surgery, urology, vascular surgery and women’s health. Each ARMA medical office utilizes a record system that allows patients to easily transition from one ARMA

practice to another.

Located just across the street from Watauga Medical Center is the 203,000 squarefoot Leon Levine Hall of Health Sciences. It is one Ap palachian State University’s newest academic buildings.

On 68 acres just south of Boone is the Foley Center at Chestnut Ridge, which opened in 2016 and is now part of Liberty Healthcare and Rehabilitation Services. The Foley Center provides short-term rehabilitation services, skilled nursing and assisted living care. Oth er nursing assistant living facilities in the Boone area include Glenbridge Health

and Rehabilitation and Deer field Ridge Assisted Living. Community health options for uninsured and under-in sured patients include AppHealthCare (formerly Appalachian District Health Department), High Country Community Health and the Community Care Clinic, which provide affordable pri mary care, behavioral health and dental services.


• 25,523 emergency room visits

• 7,798 surgeries per formed

• 1,442 heart catheterizations performed

• 559 babies delivered

• 886 sleep studies


• AppHealthCare

• Community Care Clinic

• Hunger and Health Coalition

• App State College of Health Sciences

• Caldwell Hospice and Palliative Care

• Wake Forest Health Emergency Services

• UNC Lineberger Cancer Center

• Appalachian Regional Medical Associates

70 | Boone My Hometown 2022-23
PHOTO COURTESY ARHS An exterior view of the Emergency Department at the Watauga Medical Center in Boone, NC.
Boone My Hometown 2022-23 | 71

Clubs and Organizations in Boone


• American Legion Post 130

Search “Watauga American Legion Post 130” on Facebook

• Appalachian Chorale bles/choirs

• Appalachian Shrine Club

• Blue Ridge Hiking Club

• Book Bunch Club

• Boone Area Cyclists

• Boone Area Lions Club

• Boone Optimist Club

• Boone Running Club club

• Boone Service League

• Boone Sunrise Rotary Club

• Carolina Fly-Wheelers

• Civil Air Patrol (336) 977-7405

• Daughters of the American Revolution Daniel Boone Chapter les/ index.html

• Disabled American Veterans Chapter 90 (336) 631-5481

• High Country Pride

• Watauga Parks and Recreation dept/parksrec/home.aspx

• High Country Torch Club

• High Country Vegans

• Junaluska Heritage Association

• Kiwanis Club of Boone

• Loyal Order of Moose 1805

• Military Officers Association of America (High Country Chapter)

• Toastmaster’s Club

• Watauga Book Brewers

• Watauga Community Band

• Watauga County Historical Society

• Women’s Fund of the Blue Ridge

• Watauga Gun Club


• Boone Area Chamber of Commerce

• Boone Independent Restaurants

• Downtown Boone Development Asso ciation

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• High Country Association of Realtors

• High Country Writers

• High Country Young Pro fessionals boone

• High South Event Profes sionals

• Startup High Country

• Watauga County Associa tion of Educators

• Watauga County Beekeep ers Association

• Watauga Co. Cattleman’s Association (828) 264-3061

• Watauga County Christmas Tree Association (828) 264-3061


• American Red Cross (Blue Ridge Chapter) north-carolina/greater-caroli nas/about-us/locations/blueridge-piedmont.html

• Appalachian & the Commu nity Together (ACT)

• Appalachian Theatre

• Appalachian Voices

• Back to School Festival

• Blue Ridge Conservancy

• Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture

• Casting Bread Ministries casting-bread-food-pantry. html

• Children’s Council of Watauga County

74 | Boone My Hometown 2022-23

Phone Numbers

are within the 828

• Fire, Rescue and Police

• Boone Police Department (non-emergency)

• Boone Fire Department (non-emergency)

• Watauga County Sheriff’s Office

• University Police

• Boone Town Hall

• Boone Planning and Inspections

• Boone Public Works 268-6230

• Health Dept. (AppHealthCare) 264-4995

• Watauga Medical Center 262-4100

• Children’s Hope Alliance

• The Children’s Playhouse

• Community Care Clinic

• F.A.R.M. Cafe

• Girls on the Run of the High Country

• Habitat for Humanity

• Harmony Lanes

• High Country Area Agency on Aging

• High Country Caregivers

• High Country Pathways

• High Country United Way

• Hope Pregnancy Center

• Hospitality House

• Hunger and Health Coali tion

• 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 Parks & Rec 264-9511

• Appalachian State University 262-2000

• Caldwell Community College 726-2200

• Boone Area Chamber of Commerce 264-2225

• High Country Host (Visitor Center) 264-1299

• Boone Tourism Development Authority 266-1345

• Watauga Democrat 264-6397

• The Mountain Times 264-1881

hungerandhealthcoalition. com


• Life Village

• Mountain Alliance

• OASIS Inc.

• Parent to Parent Family Support Network

• Quiet Givers

• Resort Area Ministries (828) 264-6605

• Samaritan’s Purse

• Southern Appalachian Historical Association

• SmileOn ADG

• Special Olympics Watauga County watauga-county

• Spirit Ride Therapeutic Riding Center

• Watauga Compassionate Community Initiative

• Watauga County Arts Council

• Watauga County Communi ty Foundation nccommunityfoundation. org/communities/northwest ern/watauga-county

• Watauga County Humane Society

• Watauga County Rescue Squad

• Watauga Education Foun dation wataugaeducationfounda

• Watauga Opportunities, Inc.

• Western Youth Network

• W.A.M.Y. Community Action

• Wine to Water

area code)

Boone remembers and creates culture

The rich and noteworthy history of Boone creates the perfect environment for arts and entertainment to flourish. Boone is riddled with bright mementos of past achievements, like the Doc Watson statue on King Street. This is juxtaposed by venues where new ideas and creators come together to create art and music that will one day be memorialized.

Boone citizens and visitors are given the opportunity to witness the creation of history and expression of culture through these local entertain ment venues. This seemingly small community brings the very best performance stages, art galleries throughout town, and music venues. Boone offers venues both small and large for audiences to take in a wide range of artists.

In the heart of downtown King Street, the Jones House Cultural and Community Center offers hosts outdoor and indoor concerts through

Located on King Street in the heart of Boone, the Jones House is a historic building that originally was home to one of the first physicians in the area. Now, it serves as a center for cultural heritage in the High Country.

out the year, an art venue that


Boone My Hometown 2022-23 | 75
Learn more at BRWIA.ORG


features local masters of their craft as well as a hub for many local events throughout the year. The Jones house is a historical building that roots itself in the center of town and brings atmosphere and entertainment to any event held there.

To learn more about the Jones House’s and future events, visit www.joneshouse. org

Schaefer Center for the Performing Arts

A 1,673-seat venue, the Schaefer Center for the Per forming Arts brings a variety of acts from across the world to Boone. The state-of-the-art venue has welcomed stars from Broadway’s Sarah Jones to fu

ture stars honing their crafts as current Mountaineer students. The venue also hosts a variety of annual events and festi vals such as the Appalachian Summer Festival. For informa tion on upcoming events, visit

Valborg Theatre

The main stage for the Department of Theatre and Dance at App State, the Val borg Theatre holds 334 seats and has a slate of four shows for its 2022-2023 produc tions. To find more infor mation about performances at the Valborg Theatre, visit theatreanddance.appstate. edu.

L.G. Greer

Studio Theatre

This small, 80-seat theater is also used for performances for the theatre and dance departments at Appalachian

State University. A hotbed of student creativity, this theater sees student-led projects, one-act plays and other shows of student expression on campus. To learn more, visit theatreanddance.appstate. edu

The Appalachian Theatre

The Appalachian Theatre of the High Country is a histor ic landmark on King Street, which reopened its doors to the public in 2019. In 1950, the theater was damaged in a fire and was brought back to life as a movie theater until closing in 2007. Whether seeing a comedian, musician or a holiday cinema classic, the Appalachian Theatre has plen ty to offer. To learn more about the App Theatre performance schedule, visit www.appthe

Harvest House

The Harvest House is a church during times of worship, but also acts as a live performance venue. In the past, Harvest House has hosted acts like Joe Shannon’s Mountain Home Music, IBMA winner Cane Mill Road, The Jeff Little Trio and Don Flemons. For more information on the Harvest House, visit hhc .


If you happen to visit Boone during the first Friday of the month, you’ll have the unique chance to visit every art gallery on the list. First Friday Art Crawls are held the first Friday of every month Febru ary through December.

76 | Boone My Hometown 2022-23
PHOTO COURTESY APPALACHIAN STATE UNIVERSITY Appalachian State University’s Turchin Center for the Visual Arts offers free admission to visitors.


The Turchin Center for the Visual Arts on King Street is owned by Appalachian State University and offers two wings with six different galleries displaying contemporary art by national and international artists as well as the works of local and regional artists. To learn more, visit

The Watauga County Art Council’s Blue Ridge ArtSpace is a space for all

ages that hosts four gallery exhibitions, which rotate on a monthly basis. The Main Gal lery and Open Door Gallery display local work, while the Serendipity Gallery showcas es pieces developed in senior centers and the Young Artist Gallery highlights artists 18 years of age or younger. To find out more about the Blue Ridge ArtSpace, visit www. nations/blue-ridge-artspace Owned and operated by local potter Bob Meier, Doe Ridge Pottery features high

quality home décor as well as beautiful functional ware. To see works and learn more, visit www.doeridgepottery.

To see a palate of local artists, head over to the Hands Gallery, a cooperative of local artists exploring business opportu nities and donating time and ideas to the gallery. Visit www. find out more about current exhibitions.

To visit an independent gallery, Nth Degree Gallery features monthly exhibitions of local and regional contem

porary and emerging artists. Artists of all ages and walks of life have had their art shown at the Nth Degree Gallery and mediums range just as much, including ink, printmaking, photography, paintings, ceramics, fiber arts and more. To learn more, visit www. Whether visiting a gal lery for an immersive visual experience or hearing tunes from the heart of Appalachia, there’s no shortage of artistic experiences to broaden your horizons while in Boone.

Boone My Hometown 2022-23 | 77
CONTINUED FROM PAGE 76 PHOTO BY PIPER SAUNDERS Community members learn from the Faux Paws in a workshop. They all played a song together to conclude a Jones House event.

Adventure abound in Boone

Four seasons of diverse recreational activities can be en joyed in the mountain community of Boone — North Carolina‘s premier adventure playground.

Skiing, snowboarding and caving in the winter. Trout fishing, wildflower hunting and voting in the spring. Camping and river tubing in the summer. Rock climbing, backpacking and bike riding in the fall. Oh and hiking? That’s year-round.

In fact many of the abun dant activities available to residents and visitors of Boone can be enjoyed throughout the year. Boone is home to many parks and dedicat ed green space areas, from national parks to privately run community facilities. Within minutes of Boone is the Blue Ridge Parkway — one of the most visited national park in the country, a paved road with 469 miles of scenic beauty, overlooks, trails, camp grounds and other amenities.

State parks in the region just miles from Boone in clude 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 conser vancies secure more acreage. These parks offer opportu nities for hiking, picnick ing, camping, backpacking, canoeing, kayaking, tubing, ranger led programs and special events.

Community and local gov ernment-operated parks in the Boone area include Brook shire Park, Jaycees Park, Ju-

naluska {ark, Howards Knob Park, Durham Park, Valle Crucis Park, Memorial Park in blowing rock, Green Valley Park and many others.

The Watauga Parks and Recreation Department offers multiple recreational activities for youth and adults in and around of Boone. The depart ment sponsors youth football, soccer, basketball, volleyball, baseball and softball leagues and offers lacrosse clinics. The county’s recreation com plex off of State Farm Road includes baseball and softball fields, a playground and picnic shelters.

In spring 2020 the county completed a new state of the art indoor community recre ation Center, at the recreation complex, featuring a competi tion indoor swimming pool, a leisure pool, Multi-use courts, locker rooms, walking track, gym equipment and party rooms for public use. Other outdoor facilities include ten nis courts, basketball courts

and pickle ball courts. The High Country soccer associa tion sponsors teams that play in a variety of age groups and against teams from through out the area. In addition, amateur leagues and clubs exist for casual competition in ultimate frisbee) disc golf and other sports.

And the town of Boone has a skatepark, which was majority funded by a grassroots effort to raise the funds needed for its construction.

The Boone area provides varied terrain and scenic views for amateur and com petitive cyclist and his home to several major road events including the Bloood, Sweat, and Gears Bike Ride in June a fundraiser. Rocky Knob Park is a destination moun tain biking park located on the east side of Boone, with several miles of intermediate to difficult trails.

During the winter months the ski industry is king in the High Country, with three re

sorts located less than an hour away from Boone.

Boone even has the classic sport of golf. The Boone Golf Club is a public 18 hole golf course with a practice green in a restaurant and clubhouse. The Mountaineer driving range and golf center located off NC Highway 105 extension offers a driving range and golf instruction for all levels of ability.

The High Country is also known for top notch rock climbing opportunities; caving; river sports fly fishing, white water rafting, canoeing, kayaking and tubing; and even hang gliding and paragliding.

There are a number of local outfitters who can help guide you on these adven tures, including River & Earth Adventures, Wahoo’s Outdoor Adventures, Rock Dimensions Climbing Guides and River Girl Fishing.

Whatever adventure you have in store, you can find it in Boone.

78 | Boone My Hometown 2022-23
PHOTO COURTESY WCPR The state-of-the-art Recreation Center is the crown-jewel in the WCPR system of facilities.
Boone My Hometown 2022-23 | 79 186 SouthgateDr.,Boone,NC28607 (828)264-0959 •
80 | Boone My Hometown 2022-23
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