IN THIS ISSUE Carolina living ..............................................6 Landscaping on a budget ....................... 10 ‘Cowboy at heart’ shows ingenuity ........ 14 Housing market: ‘Hiccup, not crisis’ ........ 17 History buffs visit 1800s grave sites .......... 18 ‘Y’all aren’t from ’round here, are you?’..22 From discards to outdoor artwork ..............26 Feed mill looks to next generation .......... 32 Declutter and take back your life ...........34 Index of Advertisers...................................39
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Residents agree with the title of the popular song that dates back to the 1920s, and share what they love about living in our part of the state by ANNETTE JOYCE
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We talked to several of our readers in northwest/northern Guilford County recently to ﬁnd out what they value most about living here. While their responses varied, small-town living seems to be the major draw for many residents who like calling our area home. Here’s what they had to say…
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In March 2017, Christi Taylor and her family made their first visit to our area so that her husband, Sean, could interview with the Town of Summerfield. “Both our girls were out of school. I came because I needed to see this place we could possibly move to and I knew I wouldn’t get another chance,” said Taylor, who now lives with her family in Oak Ridge. “As we were at lunch on this day, God told me to prepare. I have always said I was called to Oak Ridge. This was big for us,” she said. Since Taylor serves as a pastor with the United Methodist Church, the church conference had always dictated when and where the family would move. This time their family’s needs were different, though; Christy and Sean’s oldest daughter, Emily, has some rare health issues and needed a higher level of medical care. “We didn’t know at the time how right this was for her needs,” Taylor said. “At the time, I was scared I would not have a church to serve, because it was late in the appointment season,” she admitted. “I prayed and God answered my prayers fully. I am thankful that we have a great medical team for Emily, and we have loved our school and teachers for both her and our other daughter, Lilly.”
Lisa Bailey finds it hard to believe she and her family have lived in the Stokesdale area since 1999. Happy to have her family life centered here for over 20 years, Bailey said that while she loves many things about this area – including the four-season climate, the proximity to “big cities,” and the ease of getting to the beach and the mountains – one thing stands out above the rest. “What I love the most is the feeling of knowing and being known by my neighbors,” she said. “I love that a letter addressed to ‘Baptist preacher’ will find its way to our mailbox! I love that David (Wrenn) at the Bi-Rite will ask about my kids (now grown and gone) when I go in to pick up the box of ‘stew ingredients’ he has assembled for me. “I love that our bank tellers, post office workers, and grocery cashiers treat me like a friend – because we are friends! I’ve always heard that friends are the family you choose... Stokesdale is the home I choose!” Ask Maureena Shepherd, a Realtor, wife, mother and active community volunteer, what she likes about living and working in Oak Ridge and you’ll find that once she gets started, it’s hard to stop her. “I love so many things about our town,” she said. “We have so many things to celebrate!” She’ll exclaim about the small businesses that are run with so much heart, the excellent schools, the village feel, the beautiful homes and large lots, the trees and the beautiful nature. She loves it all. “But more than anything, I love the
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people! I love how we are a community. I love how in great times we are so connected; parents, business owners, churches and families strive to create a wonderful place to live.” Referring to the coronavirus which was declared a pandemic about two weeks before we spoke to her, Shepherd said, “Now, in these times that are challenging and unsettling, I see everyone banding together to support each other: the bus sitting in Oak Ridge Commons to support the families who need meals, the moms in my neighborhood creating online fun for all the kids, taking walks and creating individualized scavenger hunts; and the families serving with backpack ministries and people
supporting our small businesses. “What an amazing community we live in, and I am so grateful to be a part of it.” A resident of Summerfield, Cathy Gold has lived in northwest Guilford County for 25 years. She finds the nature of local residents most appealing. “People are neighborly but not nosy,” she said. “They’re friendly and say ‘hi’ and smile at you whether they know you or not.” Gold noted this is very different from her former home in Maryland, and people here seem to be more genuine and compassionate. “If you say to someone here that you’re struggling, people will go out of their way to help you out. You don’t have to put up a false front.” “I guess the thing I like most about where I live is it is not (yet) incorporated,” said Bill Eatmon, who lives just off Northwest School Road in northwest Greensboro.
“Our home is in a small area surrounded by Greensboro, Oak Ridge, Summerfield and Colfax,” said Eatmon, who moved to the area from Raleigh 41 years ago. “While that is an obvious property tax advantage, we also like the friendliness of the area. There are attractions in each ‘village-like’ town that provide sustenance and recreation for our family with only a 10- to 15-minute drive to the heart of any of them.” Family history plays a major role in why lifetime Oak Ridge resident Sandra Smith relishes life in her hometown. “One reason I love living in Oak Ridge is because of my deep roots here. I can trace my family back to this area more than 200 years,” she said. “I love this area’s history and the fact that my family was a part of it. My mom’s house was built by my great-grandparents, and many of my extended family members live on what was the family farm. “My grandpa helped build Oak Ridge Elementary School. My mom worked at the
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school for 25 years, and my dad was the first elected mayor when Oak Ridge incorporated.
“As Oak Ridge’s town clerk since 2012, I feel blessed to be a part of what happens here. Things have changed drastically since my childhood, and this is no longer the rural, agricultural, equineoriented town it was when I grew up here – at one time, it was said there were more horses in Oak Ridge than people.” Besides the area’s history, Smith said she also loves the spirit of community.
“I’ve worked with others who feel as I do about helping create events such as Heritage Day, Light Up the Night luminary event, Explore Historic Oak Ridge, and Music in the Park, which bring the community together. That includes not only the long-time residents, but those who have lived here for a shorter time but who were drawn to the small-but-thriving, communityoriented kind of place we are.” A resident of Stokesdale, Phillip Stone has lived in the area most of his life. As a Realtor, he believes his profession has given him an opportunity for a different perspective on his community.
“First, I love the overall location of the Triad. Being located roughly three and a half hours from our area beaches and two hours from the Appalachian Mountains is a huge bonus. We have several moderately sized cities, all within 20-30 minutes for additional amenities such as restaurants, entertainment and much more. “We also have several state parks, lakes, rivers, biking/hiking trails and many more recreational activities within close proximity. “Furthermore, we have a great mixture of beautiful farmland, forests, and residential communities that are aesthetically pleasing.
“But most importantly, we have wonderful people. Everyone is friendly,
willing to say ‘hello,’ and will reach out to those in need. There is truly a sense of community!” Barb Engel and her husband, Frank, moved to Oak Ridge nearly 18 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia, to be near their grandchildren. “We love the much slower pace of life here in this historic community,” Engel said. When they first arrived, the Engels had no idea of how positively the move would impact their lives. “When we moved here in 2002 the Oak Ridge Commons shopping center was just opening and before we knew it, we decided to open a gift and home décor shop called Sensibly Chic,” she said. “The community embraced us and made our little shop successful. We met so many wonderful friends and became a part of this welcoming community. “I love volunteering on the town’s Historic Preservation Commission and the Special Events Committee. This is a beautiful area of the Triad with a great town park. We also like the convenience of living between Greensboro and Winston-Salem and near the airport.” When Bill Edwards moved his family to Oak Ridge in late 1991, he was thinking about the educational opportunities. “I moved for the purpose of enrolling my two daughters in the excellent northwest area schools,” he said. Over the years, he has witnessed a great deal of change in the area. “I’ve watched Oak Ridge grow and mature, and I am for the most part proud of how it has developed,” he continued. “I particularly enjoy the small-town charm, the local newspaper and the slow growth. Oak Ridge Town Park remains a shining star for this community, and I am thankful for the historic focus of this sleepy suburb.”
A Lot Happened in the Past
2019 was an eventful year for your Oak Ridge Historic Preservation Commission. Here are some of the highlights: • Organized volunteers to prep and paint the exterior of historic Saint James AME Church • Organized and hosted “Christmas at Maple Glade,” a fund-raising event to support the restoration of the historic structures on the Oak Ridge Military Academy campus • Provided $6,000 in grants to maintain and improve the Historic District, which when added to owner contributions, resulted in over $23,000 in total improvements • Continued our support for the Oak Ridge Heritage Day event • Reviewed and approved 100% of all applications for a Certificate of Appropriateness (or COA) by local applicants and developers
And a Lot Is Happening in the Future 2020 will see: • Promoting awareness of the importance of safeguarding our Town’s historic structures with hands-on preservation efforts and events • A continuation of the Historic Heritage Grant Program, supporting and beautifying our Town’s Historic District • Continued, on-going support of the Oak Ridge Heritage Day activities and other Town events and projects • Continued review of COA applications by our all-volunteer Commission • Improved Design Guideline format, making it easier for applicants to understand the guidelines
Oak Ridge Historic Preservation Commission Preserving the Past for the Future For more information about the HPC or to volunteer to help, please visit Oak Ridge Town Hall or call (336) 644-7009. Spring 2020
Landscaping on a budget Contractors recommend planting in phases to give homeowners breathing room in terms of expense and an opportunity to assess before proceeding with their next project by CHRIS BURRITT NW GUILFORD – Over the past four years, Bob and Barbara Kelly have transformed the landscaping of their Stokesdale home with trees and shrubs around the foundation of the house and rock walls in the front yard. This spring, they’re building a raised garden bed for tomatoes. “Each spring and fall we do more in the yard,” said Barbara, explaining planting in stages makes budgeting sense. It also gives the couple the opportunity to take a step back to determine how to proceed next based upon the work they’ve already done. “A clear budget is always the best way to go,” said Donna Claeys, who owns the Garden Outlet on U.S. 220 in Summerfield with her husband, Glen. They’ve handled the landscaping for the Kellys, as well as other customers who’ve discovered that gradual
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spending produces other benefits besides just financial. Homeowners typically tackle landscaping projects in phases, even if they’re working from a design plan, said John Futrell, owner of Common Ground, a Greensboro-based landscaping company. “Opportunities present themselves as the project evolves,” he noted. “You get the chance to respond after seeing the work once it’s in the ground.” The arrival of spring – and tax refunds – is motivating northwest Guilford homeowners to spruce up their yards. It’s also a confusing time for people who don’t know where to begin – or how much the work is going to cost. Prices obviously vary, depending upon the extent of the project. Planting flowers in a small bed is less expensive than building a flagstone patio or planting a tree or tearing out old shrubs and replacing them with new ones. “If you have a limited budget, you can start with smaller plants and let them mature into the space you’ve set aside,” suggested Christina Larson, who owns Guilford Garden Center in Guilford College. As a rule of thumb, hiring a contractor to plant a $10 shrub is going to cost the homeowner about $30, according to Futrell. Planting a $75 tree runs about $225. Hardscaping projects reach into the thousands and tens of thousands of dollars. For instance, building a 10- by 20-foot
Bob and Barbara Kelly are preparing to build a raised garden bed, the latest yearly improvement to their Stokesdale home. Since building their home four years ago, they’ve added rock walls and planted shrubs, trees and flowers in stages. “Each spring and fall we do more in the yard,” Barbara Kelly said. Photo courtesy of Barbara Kelly
brick patio runs roughly $4,000 – and even more if built with stone due to the cost of materials, Futrell noted. “For $1,000, you can make an appreciable difference in your yard by doing basic foundational planting,” he said. For do-it-yourselfers, New Garden Nursery & Landscaping offers an online tool called “We Plan, You Plant.” With this option, a staff designer provides a homeowner a project plan, such as a flower bed, that the homeowner can self-install. “When you plan your yard, you can get overwhelmed,” said Ann Tangedal, who works for the Gazebo, New Garden Nursery’s retail outlet. “If you take it section by section, it doesn’t burn you out.” “Every year I do a little bit of something,” said Cindy Fish, who has hired the Garden Outlet in recent years for landscaping projects. She and her husband, Garry, have lived in their
For the past several years, Garry and Cindy Fish have improved the landscaping of their Summerfield home with expenditures of $1,000 to $1,500 annually to add shrubs, trees and flowers. Landscaping in stages has “allowed us to see how it evolves” and determine which projects to pursue next, Cindy Fish said. Their dog, Beejay, enjoys strolling in the yard, too! Photo courtesy of Cindy Fish
Summerfield home for the past 30 years. The couple began by replacing shrubbery, telling the Garden Outlet, “this needs to be low maintenance because I don’t have the time – or
the back – to do this anymore,” Cindy said. They’ve also planted a rose tree, a hydrangea and flowers. Spending $1,000 to $1,500 a year, Fish said landscaping in stages has “allowed us
to see how it evolves” and what remains to be done. They’re planning to reseed their lawn and tackle a shady, barren area in the front yard next. Some contractors will allow homeowners to do part of landscaping projects themselves to save money, Futrell noted. Two recent examples illustrate the pros and cons of the approach.
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LANDSCAPING ON A BUDGET continued from page 11
Futrell prepared the area of one client’s home for a new patio and said the homeowner is going to lay the bricks, a repetitive job that’s going to save the homeowner several hundred dollars. By contrast, Futrell said he rescued a homeowner who had dug a hole in her yard and installed a pool liner that didn’t fit inside the hole properly. She put rocks on top of it and she bought mismatching pump supplies online. “She dug the hole thinking she’d save money, but it ended up causing more problems,” said Futrell, who was hired to redo the homeowner’s work. In some cases, homeowners who set out trees, shrubs and flowers first wind up incurring the cost and effort of moving them to make way for hardscaping. For this reason Futrell advised homeowners to build patios, sidewalks
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and other hardscaping projects as a first step, pointing out that since they’re permanent improvements, they determine the layout of plants around them. A new patio gives a homeowner a vantage point to survey the rest of the yard. “You’re seeing it from a different perspective,” Futrell noted. Curved patios are a popular feature because they create a unique appearance. However, they require contractors to cut bricks and stone, which in turn increases labor costs and creates unused materials. As a cost-saving option, Donna Claeys with the Garden Outlet recommends creating a patio with straight edges and using landscaping and planting to create uniqueness in the design. Planting shrubs around the foundation of a house makes sense as a first step for owners of new homes with no landscaping or people who want to remove old plants, Guilford Garden Center’s Larson noted. “It’s like jewelry for your house, an accent for the architect,” she said of foundation shrubbery. “But if you plant the wrong plants, it has the opposite effect.” For instance, lower-growing shrubs belong underneath windows to reduce the need for pruning, while taller shrubs and trees can be planted at the corners of the house.
“If you’re always needing to prune, the plant is in the wrong place,” Larson noted.
Soil preparation is critical even if the costs of aerating, providing drainage and adding nutrients eat away at the money homeowners had hoped to spend on plants. “If you just put a plant in the ground and it’s surrounded by turf, you’re going to have problems,” Larson said. It’s obviously up to homeowners which areas of their yards to spruce up first. Designers and contractors we spoke with recommended that owners consider what’s important to them – creating curb appeal or spaces for relaxing, as examples. As she prepares to meet with prospective customers, Larson said she drives around their neighborhood to see what people have planted. The strategy makes sense for homeowners who want to avoid replicating their neighbors’ landscaping. “You don’t want a cookie-cutter landscape,” she said. “If everybody has the same thing, it’s boring.” Homeowners who want to set themselves apart can pick out “a unique plant or two” such as a Horstmann’s Silberlocke Korean fir as a focal point in a bed, Larson said.
“They can use the bulk of their budget for common plants such as azaleas and hollies, and carve out a space in the landscaping and the budget for something special,” she said. Planting to create curb appeal and to improve the comfort of patios and decks are also priorities, Larson noted. She recommended planting evergreens such as rhododendron in the front yard to create yearround greenery and around the air conditioning unit to screen it and absorb sunlight to improve its efficiency.
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‘Cowboy at heart’ stays busy and has fun transforming property by ANNETTE JOYCE About 12 years ago, Jim Quick moved into his brick ranch-style home on Stigall Road off N.C. 150, just outside the town of Oak Ridge limits. At the time, the 10-acre property was mostly wooded and sitting idle. A cowboy at heart, Quick decided the property needed horses. So, he did what any other creative, industrious person with time on their hands would do – he built a barn, created five different pastures and bought five horses. Then about five years ago, his life changed and he got rid of the horses. Again, he couldn’t stand to see the barn and land sitting idle, so he devised another plan. This time, he decided to build an event center behind his home.
What has evolved has turned out to be so much more. Quick’s property, named Apple Creek Ranch Event Center, has become his own creative playground – something he adds to on an almost daily basis.
“I can’t sit still. I’ve got to be doing something all the time,” Quick said as he ﬂashed his trademark smile. “I’m a designer. I’m a builder. I’m a creator. My brain just won’t stop.”
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At 77, Quick is not only the mastermind of this project but he does most of the building and maintenance himself – with a hand here and there from friends and occasionally a professional. Although professionals put up the exterior of the 40-footby-50-foot metal pre-fab barn on the property, Quick handled the interior – first creating the horse barn and then transforming it into a venue for events such as weddings, receptions, parties, reunions and corporate meetings. Looking around the property, it’s easy to see Quick has an obsession with antiques and anything Western. “I’ve always loved Western lore, books and movies. I’ve been a cowboy all my life, I just never grew up. I guess I was born about 80 years too late,” he chuckled.
Relying on this obsession, he has turned his property into somewhat of a museum. The barn, which still has some of the stall railings, showcases a wealth of antiques and Quick’s talent
Jim Quick, 77, enjoys staying busy. While doing so, he’s turned his property into a rustic, museum-like event center that continues to evolve. Photo by Annette Joyce/ NWO
to turn what others might consider trash into treasure. “I like to take old stuff and repurpose it into something else,” said Quick, describing himself as very detailed-oriented. “I can’t leave something ‘normal.’ I have to put my own twist on it.” As an example, he points to what he calls his brothel/hunting lodge that occupies one corner of the barn. Basically a room decorated with period furniture and Western relics, Quick wanted to make it stand out. Rather than leave a plain exterior wall, he created a fake façade complete with a roof and windows. Quick also wanted something unique to secure a few of the shelves. For that he found thick, curved tree limbs to anchor the shelves to the walls and then used the shelves to display his antiques. Speaking of antiques, they can be found throughout the barn, which accommodates about 80 people. In one of the corners, Quick pointed to where an old black pot is perched over a pile of wood looking as though it’s just waiting to be fired up. He said the pot was the first antique he ever purchased. Western prints and memorabilia decorate the walls, on one of which is a shadow box filled with
This spacious and rustic barn at Apple Creek Ranch is decorated with antiques and Western relics. Photo by Annette Joyce/NWO
continued on page 16
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continued from page 15 photos and remnants depicting a tall tale about Quick’s ancestors, a woman and a poker game. When the quick-witted creator of the shadow box tells the harmless but fascinating story, you might need to listen carefully to separate fact from fiction. Just a hint: the men in the photos really are his grandfather and greatuncles. The other stuff ? You’ll have to figure that out for yourself. Quick believes everything has a story – even if it’s fiction. Spend some time walking around outside with him and you’ll get a glimpse of his storytelling ability and his humor. Ask him about the cute little black-and-white pig sitting atop the hay wagon that’s parked underneath a shelter outside the barn, and he’s quick with a reply. “That’s Oscar… he’s the last of the Mayers boys,” he’ll say with a grin, patiently waiting for the inevitable response. Most people, he said, will just give him a blank look at first, and then smile when they get the joke. Just inside the ranch gates is a 10-foot metal centipede created by his brother, Greg Quick, a Georgia artist who works with reclaimed metal. Wearing a spiked collar around its neck and chained to a stake driven into the ground, this is Quick’s “attack centipede.” Nearby is a fire pit surrounded by seven swings
with room for about 16 people. It’s a cozy spot to enjoy conversation and looking at the store façade that Quick has built not too far away. Right now, the façade serves as a stage for bands, but Quick has plans to turn it into a building and furnish it. He’s also hoping to build a saloon next door. Around the corner, there’s an old-timey outhouse. He pointed out it’s only a replica, and he uses the structure to store tools. The restored tobacco barn that serves as another storage area was all but gone when Quick began work on it.
“There were trees growing through the roof,” he recalled. Quick took the trees out, put on a new roof and built shelters on all four sides. He took down the tier poles that had once been used to hang tobacco and used them to build a loft in the old structure. Behind the tobacco barn, Quick has dedicated space to what he calls the “Dead Farmer’s Implement Graveyard.” There, you’ll find all sorts of rusted tools and parts left behind from another era. You’ll probably also notice the front axle of a Whippet automobile which has wooden spokes through the wheels. Quick got the idea of starting his graveyard when he noticed a tree had grown around the axle and it had
become embedded into the wood. Since then, he’s added all sorts of items including a hay rake, an old tobacco stringer, cultivators and an ancient tractor. On the other side of the property, pastures have been turned into open areas and parking for events. Just past the meadow, there’s more woods, and Quick has used his talents in those areas as well. Another of his brother’s creations stands guard over the wooded property. An old suit of armor became a beehive covered by several foot-long metal bees. Quick has cleared away much of the underbrush and created a network of trails leading down to the creek. Every cowboy needs to be a sharpshooter, so it’s no surprise Quick has created a place in the woods to practice his skills. There, he’s built a gun range complete with shooting benches set up at 100, 200 and 300 feet. There’s also a covered portion that provides a range of 20 and 30 feet. Although guests are free to walk the woods, the range is not open to the public. Quick thoroughly enjoys his work, which he said is nowhere near complete – he has all kinds of plans to expand the event center and his private park. “I can’t afford to buy all of this (labor), so I have to do it myself,” he said. “It’s amazing what you can do if you put your mind to it.” Apple Creek Ranch Event Center is located at 5770 Stigall Road, Kernersville. For more information, visit www.applecreekrancheventcenter.com.
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Common area SOLD COMING SOON
NW GUILFORD – The rising risk of COVID-19 is crimping what had been a very active housing market, according to real estate agents who say some sellers are reluctant to open their houses to potential buyers who may be sick with the coronavirus. Buyers are feeling wary too, not only because they don’t want to risk picking up COVID-19 while visiting houses, but also because they’re uncertain about the security of their jobs. Even so, not all housing activity in northwest Guilford has ground to a halt, giving real estate agents the opportunity to complete sales, including transactions initiated before the risks of the coronavirus were well known. Realtors said they’re continuing to show houses to out-of-town buyers who need to find new homes while picking up new listings by sellers. In conversations with buyers and sellers she’s representing, Keller Williams agent DeDe Cunningham said she is “letting them know we see this as a delay in the spring market.” A combination of historically low mortgage rates and a tight supply of houses in northwest Guilford, particularly at prices below $300,000, fueled the market until the onset of COVID-19 concerns in recent weeks. The average selling prices for houses in Oak Ridge and Summerfield rose 3.5 percent to $397,836 in the fourth
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Following a very active first quarter, Realtors said they’re reassuring buyers and sellers as the risk of COVID-19 weighs on demand for houses Beeson Rd.
Historically low mortgage rates and a lower inventory of available houses for sale contributed to a very active first-quarter housing market – until mid-March, when many Realtors began to see a slowdown in activity due to effects of the coronavirus pandemic. They say activity hasn’t come to a halt, though, and they’re continuing to show houses and pick up new listings.
PHASE 2 Common area
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Justin (left) and Lindsey Stewart, owners LJ Custom Homes
R�v�l�t�o�a�y W�r d�a� m�y b� g�a�d�d i� R�d�e�o�d s�b�i�i�i�n Two rows of mossy stones mark graves that may be those of American soldiers killed in the Battle of Guilford Courthouse
The boot of a Summerfield Historical Committee member marks the possible grave stone of a Revolutionary War soldier. The grave stone is among several located in the Ridgewood subdivision off N.C. 150 in Summerfield.
by CHRIS BURRITT SUMMERFIELD – Mossy stones are strewn in the woods, nearly buried in leaves – except for two even rows about 6 feet apart. “There is no question they are graves,” said Gary Brown, chair of the town of Summerfield’s Historical Committee. On a Saturday afternoon in early March, he and several other history buffs took a walk in the woods near the Ridgewood subdivision located just east of the N.C. 150 and Lake Brandt Road intersection.
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Kicking around the brown leaves, committee members found what they believe may be make-shift headstones erected by the Army of Major General Nathaniel Greene to honor Americans killed in the Battle of Guilford Courthouse 219 years ago. Even though Greene’s army eventually withdrew from the fighting, they killed a quarter of the British troops commanded by British General Charles Cornwallis, according to historical accounts. The losses contributed to the British surrender at Yorktown, Virginia, in October 1781, seven months after the Battle of Guilford Courthouse. After the battle, Greene and his troops traveled north to regroup at the Troublesome Creek Ironworks in southern Rockingham County. The route would have passed near the present-day Ridgewood subdivision. That’s where several members of the Historical Committee, Summerfield Town Councilman Reece Walker and former
Former Summerfield Mayor Mark Brown first visited the possible grave site in the late 1990s and has since researched the possibility that soldiers may be buried there. Photo by Chris Burritt/NWO
Mayor Mark Brown and his wife, Mamie, parked their cars for the recent field trip. The group followed a trail roughly 200 yards before veering off toward a knoll where Mark Brown had visited the burial ground before. “Here is one!” Gary Brown said as the group located several stones, including five that were lined up in two rows, with slight depressions between them. Visiting what may be the resting place of the dead brought Revolutionary War history to life for members of the group. Looking southward through the bare oaks in the direction of Guilford Courthouse National Military Park, they shared varying accounts of Greene’s withdrawal from the battlefield about four miles from where they gathered amid the stones. The American troops traveled several miles before stopping to camp, according to one account. Another said British soldiers pursued the Americans, giving them a brief time to pause but
(L-R) Summerfield Town Council member Reece Walker and Summerfield Historical Committee members Gary Brown, Sam Schlosser, Bruce Petersen and Anna Heroy exit the woods near the Ridgewood subdivision after visiting what may be the graves of American soldiers. Photo by Chris Burritt/NWO
not stop for the night. Bruce Petersen, the committee’s vice chair, asked whether Greene would have had time to bury the dead. Offering
another possible scenario, he said the graves “may not be that deep if they were in a hurry.” Over two centuries, any human
remains would have disintegrated, perhaps leaving behind metal buttons, Mark Brown suggested. He said the Historical Committee plans to explore the possibility of using groundpenetrating radar to determine whether the density of the soil beneath the stones differs from that of the surrounding terrain. If it does, it would suggest the earth might have been disturbed, possibly by digging of graves. “It is all speculation,” said Brown, who first heard the story about “the soldiers’ graves” about 45 years ago when he was a Guilford County sheriff ’s deputy. It was a fellow church member, James Royster, who called Brown in the mid-1970s and asked him to investigate a green patch that turned out to be marijuana. Royster also showed Brown old gravestones where James Doak, a sheriff in the 1850s, was buried. And, Royster mentioned that soldiers might be buried in the nearby woods,
continued on page 31
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Residents who have moved to northwest/northern Guilford County from afar share their perspectives on what they found different when they arrived, and what they’ve come to love about our area by ANNETTE JOYCE For those who didn’t grow up in our area, the native customs, sayings, food and pace of life may be in stark contrast to what they were accustomed to. For example, residents who moved here from other states told us the The Eastern Tiger Swallowtail, Papilio gloucus, is North Carolina’s state butterfly. | Adobe Stock photo
phrase “Bless your heart,” biscuits for breakfast and the usual friendliness of Southerners were some of the things which stood out to them at first. Since settling in and making our area their home, they’ve grown not only accustomed to (most of) those things, but now fully embrace them. Val Kepley and her family moved to the Greensboro area from Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, in 1996 and have since settled in Oak Ridge. Although she now considers herself a Southerner, Kepley admits it took her awhile to adjust to the culture change. “The biggest difference was the slow pace,” she recalled. “You’d go to the grocery store and everyone was socializing and taking their time. I wasn’t used to that. We’d always run in, get what we needed and rush out. I’ve gotten to like that slow pace.” The food was quite a bit different too – especially the typical
continued on page 36
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‘HICCUP,’ NOT CRISIS
continued from page 17 quarter of 2019, helped by lower inventories, the Greensboro Regional Realtors Association (GRRA) said in January. In Stokesdale, the average sales price was $295,386, up 9.2 percent from the same time period in 2018. Some house hunters who missed out on buying properties last fall started looking earlier this year, jump-starting the traditional spring buying season, according to Sue Hutchinson, a Greensboro-based agent for Fathom Homes. “By February, it was a busy market,” she said. “It’s definitely slowed down.” The impact of COVID-19 on firstquarter housing activity will be reflected in GRRA’s next quarterly report, which is typically released in mid-April.
“Most homebuyers and sellers realize it is a hiccup, not a housing crisis,” said Cunningham, of DeDe’s Real Estate Group. “A lot of them want to hear what’s going on; they want reassurance.” In recent interviews, five Realtors with listings in northwest Guilford confirmed concerns about the coronavirus are slowing activity. The slowdown mirrors national trends. Forty-eight percent of Realtors said interest by potential homebuyers has decreased due to the coronavirus outbreak, according to a March 16-17 survey by the National Association of Realtors. The percentage tripled from a week earlier when it totaled 16 percent. “Our phone calls are way down; our showings are way down,” said Phillip Stone, an agent who owns A New Dawn Realty in Stokesdale with his mother, Dawn Stone. “But we’re still closing existing deals and getting new contracts.” Stone said he secured two contracts with sellers over the March 21-22 weekend, based upon earlier
conversations with homeowners. The previous week, he arranged the sale of a house that had gone on the market less than 24 hours earlier. The listing price was $250,000, suggesting that demand for more affordable housing may hold up better than sales of expensive houses, according to Stone. “It’s really slow and going to get slower,” said Gil Vaughan, an agent for Keller Williams Greensboro North. He expects houses, especially ones costing more than $400,000, to stay on the market longer. The plunging stock market and job insecurity are holding back potential buyers.
“Those who have 401ks, retirement plans and stock portfolios have watched them decline,” Vaughan said.
Potential buyers “are being cautious,” confirmed Fathom Homes’ Hutchinson.
“Even though they may be ready to buy, many don’t know the status of their jobs,” she said. Even as showings have slowed, demand hasn’t dried up. People relocating to the Greensboro area “have to look at houses,” said Jan Cox, an agent for Keller Williams Greensboro North.
Nicole Gillespie, an agent for RE/MAX Realty Consultants in Greensboro, said she secured contracts with three sellers in mid-March while staying busy showing houses to potential buyers. “Our market still has pent-up demand,” she said.
Tim Atkins, an agent for Allen Tate in Oak Ridge, said one of his clients called to express concern about potential buyers coming into his house. He explained that Realtors are taking precautions when showing properties.
“We’re communicating with sellers and buyers,” Atkins said. “We’re trying to play it day by day. We never know what is coming next.”
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T H A N K
Once discarded items,
now outdoor treasures by LILY PIERCE
Talented artists and crafters abound in northwest Guilford County. Some of those artists upcycle old, outdated, unwanted or otherwise unusable materials into impressive works of art by painting, combining and/or repurposing them. In this Spring 2020 issue of At Home we feature three local artists who turn trash into treasure, creating outdoor displays for the yard, garden, porch, patio or barn.
Y O U
Photos by Lily Pierce/NWO
Kelly Avis, owner of Plymouth Country Store, located inside Golden Antiques in Summerﬁeld, upcycles old objects and recreations of antiques for plant-related uses and outdoor decor. Above is an old entertainment center Avis converted into a potting bench ideal for a back porch, and an old door which is suggested for use as outdoor décor.
to our Spring 2020
At Home advertisers please tell them you saw their ad in this year’s At Home publication 26
A scale can be used to make a hanging plant holder, perfect for a patio ceiling. Underneath the scale is a gate that has been repurposed for outdoor decoration – here, it is used to display a wreath.
A watering can and a bird cage are used as a decorative ﬂower holder and a plant holder, respectively.
Visit Plymouth Country Store’s booth inside Golden Antiques, 4537 U.S. 220 in Summerﬁeld.
Photos by Lily Pierce/NWO
Northwest Greensboro resident Michelle Jarrett, holding both a ﬁnished project and an unﬁnished one, is the owner of Funky by Nature. Jarrett uses metal scraps, antiques and other “old stuﬀ” to produce her unique creations. For this ﬁsh piece of art, Jarrett uses a handmade crutch as the body and golf tees as teeth.
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Jarrett uses old rake heads and bicycle gears to create peacocks, which make for bright, fun yard or garden decorations.
Muﬃn tins and baking pans were used to create the colorful art pieces shown here.
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Here, weeding sickles have been repurposed as exotic birds to create artwork that can hang on an outside wall or a fence post.
To contact Jarrett, call (336) 707-7794, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit FunkyByNature on Facebook. more treasures on page 30
DeDe Cunningha Cunningham Cun ningha (336) 509-1923 cell/text email@example.com www.dedesrealestategroup.com
Your northwest-area specialist!
I cannot express enough gratitude to Phillip for his help with the purchase of my new home. Not only does he have a fantastic understanding of the housing market, but he goes above and beyond to make sure that I am ‘in the know.’ He explains every step of the process in detail and makes sure to communicate with all parties. Everyone at A New Dawn Realty has been supportive and encouraging throughout the process as well. An organization is only as good as those who represent it, and I think that is what makes A New Dawn Realty such an ideal company for those looking to purchase or sell a home.
Phillip Stone REALTOR®
(336) 908-6528 firstname.lastname@example.org
I’ve been in Guilford County for over 40 years and in Real Estate since 1998. I know what Guilford and surrounding counties have to offer when buying or selling property. I enjoy a personal and attentive touch to the needs of my clients, who turn into friends, which has fueled my career with referrals. It is an honor when a client buys or sells one of their biggest investments with me. I find it rewarding to contribute to their success and transition in life. Feel free to give me a call with any Real Estate needs or anything regarding your home.
Eddiana Fondry NC Broker/REALTOR®
If you are looking for a great Realtor, simply ask yourself: ‘Do I want someone who: 1) is a “FULL-TIME” real estate broker; 2) will PUT MY INTERESTS FIRST; 3) will WALK ME THROUGH THE ENTIRE PROCESS step by step; 4) is ON TIME, HONEST and ACCOUNTABLE; and 5) will provide me with PROFESSIONAL, POSITIVE and SATISFYING results?’ If so, then feel free to contact me whether you are BUYING or SELLING. Then just SIT BACK and RELAX!
Gil Vaughan Buyer & Seller Representation REALTOR®/Broker, ABR, CGP, CSP, e-Pro, SFR, SRES
Appearing in the Northwest Observer’s third issue each month, this section serves as a guide to what’s happening in our local business community and real estate market.
Real Estate Showcase ads are a cost-effective way to promote your listings year-round in our classified advertising section.
(336) 337-4780 • email@example.com
www.JustCallGil.com (336) 644-7035, ext. 11 | firstname.lastname@example.org
these local Realtors
Serving buyers and sellers in the Triad area has been my passion for over 30 years! I began as an elementary teacher, and am mother of two wonderful children who graduated from Guilford County schools. My husband and I have lived in the Greensboro area for over 30 years. It’s a special place to call home and I enjoy helping others find their special place to live in our community. Give me a call – I would enjoy the opportunity to earn your business now or in the future! ‘Building Lasting Friendships One Sale At A Time!’
Sue Hutchinson CRS, ABR, GRI, SMS, Broker
(336) 314-3441 • email@example.com
Nicole helped us sell our house and buy a new one. Nicole offers a high level of service and delivers on everything she promises. She worked tirelessly from the first day we signed until the day we sold our home and bought a new one. We’ve been in our home a month and she still checks in! She draws on a large font of knowledge about real estate, finance and construction, gained only from many years of dedicated service in the industry. Her network of contacts and resources is second to none, and this very much benefits her clients. We never felt alone in this process. Nicole is the epitome of a professional.
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Experience... Integrity... Compassion... these are just a few words that describe the cornerstones of business for KERBAPPEALS REAL ESTATE. As a Realtor® in the Triad since 2005, customer service is my #1 priority. If buying and/or selling a home is your priority, please give me a call. I promise to work with you – and for you – every step of the way!
Gail Kerber, CDPE, ABR, SPS, SLS REALTOR®/Broker/Owner
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As first-time buyers, we could not have been more blessed. Whenever we reached out to Tim with questions he was always prompt, knowledgeable and most of all courteous with his responses. His faith, honesty and easygoing nature coupled with his hard work and knowledge took the stress out of what can be a very stressful process. Tim was there for us every step of the way and seemed just as excited as we were when he handed us our keys to our new home! If you would like a worry-free, pleasant home-buying experience, then Tim is the Realtor for you!
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Once discarded items,
now outdoor treasures
continued from p. 27
Photos courtesy of Beth Sykes Shaffer
Northwest Greensboro resident Beth Sykes Shaﬀer, owner of Emerald City Chimes, makes other crafts, but she primarily upcycles silverware for wind chimes. The wind chime above left was a special commission in which the customer provided Shaﬀer with a bell and keys from her home; the wind chime in the center photo uses an unspeciﬁed metal scrap for the top and old forks and spoons for the chimes. At far right is a wind chime made with an old tea kettle and forks that would add charm to any porch or patio.
To contact Shaffer, call (336) 202-7143, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit Emerald City Chimes on Facebook.
BUY LOCAL SELL LOCAL
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I am different from most real estate professionals. I have built my business on results, and I am confident I can deliver for you! I live in Summerfield and have been in the local real estate industry for over 30 years. Familiarity of the market is key! I’m also active in the local
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Shaﬀer made these robots with soda cans, small wrenches, poker chips and more; they could be placed in a potted plant protected from the elements. The “paintbrush personalities” at the bottom of the photo were made from old paintbrushes and could hang on a barn wall.
REVOLUTIONARY GRAVES continued from page 19
based upon his conversation in the 1920s with an elderly woman who owned the property at that time. Royster told Brown he and his son had located the graves in the 1960s, but they lost track of them after Duke Power had erected power lines in the area. The stones were described by Royster as being “in straight rows with multiple stones in each row, and with a total number of stones being between 20 and 30,” Brown recorded in a written account of his search for the graves. As he continued searching for the graves in 1996, Brown said he found “several equally spaced impressions” on low ground near a creek. An archaeologist for the state of North Carolina probed the depressions and determined they were not graves. He told Brown that Revolutionary War dead would have been buried on high ground, supporting Brown’s view that
the graves of Americans killed at Guilford Courthouse may have, in fact, been discovered.
In the late 1990s, a surveying crew for the Ridgewood subdivision told Brown they had found a grave site. After Brown contacted another archaeologist who wasn’t able to determine the age of the stones, he wrote in his account that it would require a formal excavation to determine any further information on the graves. Back in the 1970s, Brown said he rode horses on the property now occupied by Ridgewood. He remembers seeing the foundations of old houses and picking up broken pieces of pottery and glass, suggesting a community of people lived there a century or more ago. It’s possible the stones mark the graves of their dead, he said.
Covering northwest Guilford County’s local matters since 1996 www.nwobserver.com
The burial of American soldiers “is my theory,” Brown said. “It is all predicated on this old woman saying there were soldiers’ graves.”
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Summerfield Feed Mill: the next generation Brandi Neal joins her aunt, Arlene Neal, and uncle, Steve Neal, at the historic icon on Summerfield Road by CHRIS BURRITT SUMMERFIELD – Brandi Neal hoisted a 50-pound bag of horse feed across her shoulder, catching the attention of the “Loafers,” a group of men who can be found most weekday mornings lounging in old recliners and rocking chairs on the porch of Summerfield Feed Mill. One man said he was worried that she might hurt herself. Another joked that Brandi was no longer “the wimp” she was nearly a year ago when she started working with her aunt and uncle, Arlene and Steve Neal, who are brother and sister. “She’s tough,” said Michael Page, a customer relaxing on the porch one recent morning, then jokingly added, “That’s why they keep her around here.”
Ann Powell Broker/ REALTOR® GRI, SRES
(336) 327.3473 mobile (336) 485.1881 office email@example.com allentate.com/annpowell
Serving the Northwest Area for 17 years 32
Brandi Neal carries a bag of feed to a customer’s vehicle at Summerfield Feed Mill. The feed mill’s mascot, Blue Neal Otey, is owned by Brenda Otey.
Joking goes with the territory, and Brandi takes the ribbing with a big smile and a work ethic that may lead to her eventually taking over the family’s 60-year-old business. The feed mill on Summerfield Road is as much a place for swapping stories and catching up on gossip as it is a store where items like pine needles and horse feed are purchased. The mill’s main structure is made of roughhewn timbers and thick floor boards worn smooth by countless pairs of work boots walking across it over the decades. Paul Neal bought the feed mill in 1959. A few years later, he moved
his wife, Doris, and their three children – Steve, Randy and Arlene – to Summerfield from Walnut Cove in Stokes County. After growing up and doing other work, the three children eventually circled back to the family business, succeeding their father who died in 2007. By that time, Paul had stopped making horse and cow feed from scratch as demand shifted from farmers to builders, contractors and homeowners buying supplies for landscaping, lawn and garden. Brandi’s father, Randy, died in May 2018; at the time of his death she was caring for her grandmother,
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for updated weekly information. Customers of Summerfield Feed Mill come to the iconic building on Summerfield Road for bags of feed, bales of pine straw, and vegetable plants and seeds. Photos by Chris Burritt/NWO
who died last April. Shortly afterward, Brandi went to work in the feed mill where as a child she jumped on bags of feed and rode her bicycle and minibike around the gravel parking lot. Brandi’s son, Hunter, is following in her footsteps. A student at Summerfield Elementary School, he loves tossing the football in the feed mill’s parking lot. As he grows up, he could eventually work there also, according to Arlene. She said she and Steve “were hoping” Brandi, 25, would join the family’s business, setting herself up to learn all she could from them and eventually take it over. Joking aside, Brandi said she has indeed gotten stronger over the past year from toting bags of feed and loading bales of pine straw into customers’ trucks and trailers. Using the tools of her generation,
she adds up customers’ purchases on her phone, whereas Steve, 70, and Arlene, 63, still rely on an old, clattering adding machine; it’s located in the office, which is decorated with historic photos of the feed mill. The cluttered space is stocked with a wide collection of merchandise, from honey buns to work gloves to tins of Bag Balm hand and body moisturizing cream.
Steve and Arlene handle merchandise ordering, a task they plan to teach Brandi. She said she’s not yet comfortable driving the tractor because it relies on a clutch to change gears. While she can drive the forklift, she defers to Steve or Arlene to move pallets loaded with feed, fertilizer and manure around the feed mill. Brandi values the benefits of
continued on page 38
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Get rid of
clutter, take back your life
by ANNETTE JOYCE What do you see when you walk into your home? A nicely organized dwelling that offers a haven from the outside world? Does everything have its own place, and is everything tidily stored away? Can you easily relax into the comfort of your own cozy little cocoon without any unnecessary distractions? You may be the exception, but for most people the scene awaiting them when they open the door to their home is quite different. The kitchen table might be laden with a week’s worth of mail, a couple of shopping bags and dirty dishes left over from a hastily eaten breakfast. Coats, magazines and toys are strewn around the family room. The home office floor is covered with various piles of paper, books and boxes that need to be dealt with. In short, many of us are surrounded by a world of clutter, and it can be incredibly overwhelming. You don’t have to be considered a hoarder for clutter to make you both physically and mentally exhausted. In a Jan. 21, 2019, article posted on “The Conversation,” an online global network of newsrooms, author Libby Sander, an assistant professor of Organizational Behavior at Australia’s Bond University, wrote about the detrimental effects of clutter.
“Clutter can affect our anxiety levels, sleep and ability to focus,” she wrote. “It can also make us less productive, triggering coping and avoidance strategies that make us more likely to snack on junk and watch TV shows (including ones about other people decluttering their lives).” On a local level, Jess Trott, owner of Greensboro-based Organize with
Jess, has founded her business for the purpose of helping others declutter. “We are all overwhelmed, overcommitted and undervalued. Clutter adds to this,” Trott said. “Our possessions quickly become burdens. We can’t find what we need. We don’t know where things are, and we have trouble seeing what is a priority. “Clutter leads to stress, a feeling of
Clutter not only invades our physical space, but can wear us down mentally. Professionals we spoke with advised people wanting to declutter to keep only those things they need or love – otherwise, throw them away or donate them.
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being overwhelmed and wasted time. It holds us back from living the lives we want to live and blocks the important pieces of our lives.” Since 2011, Trott and her team members have helped thousands of people bring their physical space into balance by identifying and gaining control of clutter.
“Less is best,” Trott said. “Removing the unnecessary frees you up – spatially, emotionally and physically. Having less to manage and more time to make choices and decisions allows us all to lead the lives we should truly be leading.” Maria Adams, owner of Maria Adams Designs, a residential interior design firm based in Oak Ridge, has seen the effects of clutter time and time again with her clients. As an example, she mentioned one client she recently helped to design a more pleasing and productive home office. “This particular client spends a lot of time in her office and whenever she went in, she said she felt drained, stressed and disorganized,” Adams said. “The first thing we did was organize her belongings, getting rid of the clutter and keeping the things she actually needed.” After that, Adams removed all the furnishings from the room and determined that a lot of it wasn’t necessary. “She had too many filing cabinets, so we got rid of all but one, which still gave her plenty of storage for what she was keeping,” Adams said. Once this was done, Adams could continue with the redesign of the room, adding better lighting and freshening up the colors.
“Now she loves working in her new office,” Adams said. “She says it feels more like home, but she’s still much more productive than before.” Both Adams and Trott acknowledge that conquering clutter is not a simple proposition. It takes an investment of time and a commitment to making hard decisions. Sometimes a professional is needed to help cull through possessions that have been collected over years of living. For those wanting to try it themselves, they do offer some advice. Trott recommends actually scheduling your decluttering time. “Pick one hour on the calendar and write it down, commit to it and begin,” she said. “It can be one drawer, one shelf, one handful of hanging clothes. Do the next right thing and then do it again, and again. It is tiny incremental changes that make all the difference.” Adams agrees with starting small. “Start in one area of your home and create four piles – trash, donate, sell or keep,” she said. “Look at the items you want to keep and make a place for them.” The biggest issue most people have is what to keep and what to let go of. “If it’s an item you definitely need for work or for life, keep it,” Adams said. “If it doesn’t fall into that category but truly brings you joy, again, keep it – otherwise, toss it or donate it.”
“One of my favorite tricks is to have clients switch the way they think about their stuff,” Trott added. “Do not decide what to get rid of, decide what you love,” she said. That may be the true key to decluttering: get rid of what hinders you and surround yourself with the things you need and cherish.
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‘NOT FROM HERE’
continued from page 22 Southern breakfast. “Biscuits. Nobody really eats biscuits and gravy for breakfast up North,” she said. “Eggs, bacon and toast tends to be the breakfast of choice. And what’s up with country ham? It’s so salty.” Her first encounter with Biscuitville caught her off guard. “I thought it was a regular fast food place that was open all day,” she said. “I think I went around 5 p.m. and was surprised to find that it had closed three hours earlier.” Then, there are the Southern sayings – such as “Bless her heart,” which she still finds amusing.
“You can get away with saying almost anything as long as it’s followed by these few words,” she laughed. “It doesn’t matter how bad it sounds, just bless the person’s heart and you’re good to go.” When Lisa Powers moved from Michigan to Reidsville in 1993, she told her young boys she never wanted them to get “a hankering” for anything or say they were “fixin’” to do something. Powers, who now lives in Summerfield, noted these were are just a couple of Southern words and phrases she would eventually grow accustomed to. It took her a while to figure out that when people were talking about the movie picture house they were referring to the local movie theater, and that when someone else needed a “drop cord,” that person was looking for what she called an extension cord. As members of the medical profession, both Powers and her husband encountered some foreign terms in their dealings with co-workers and patients. “There was one sweet woman who would tell her patients to ‘hawk it up.’ I finally figured out she was asking them to
cough,” Powers said. Initially, she had no idea what people were talking about when she heard them say their stomach was “all tore up” or they were “tore up from the floor up.” Like many others, the phrase “Bless your heart” also took her a while to understand. “At first, I really thought everyone was just being nice,” she chuckled. “I soon learned that you have to look for the meaning. Are they being sincere or snarky?” Unusual words and phrases aside, Powers loves living in the northwest Guilford County area. “We came down because we wanted to be able to have some land. The weather’s good, taxes are cheaper, and the cost of living is cheaper,” she said. “This is a really good place to raise children and I love the people. Neighbors are always willing to help neighbors.” One difference she still notices here is people’s inability to drive in snow and ice. “I get it. There’s not a lot of snow and no equipment to deal with it,” she said. “People definitely don’t know how to drive in the snow. Bless their hearts.” Peggy King and her husband, Danny, moved from Napa, California, to Stokesdale in July 2007 after her daughter moved in February of the same year. Moving from an area of over 72,000 people with houses crammed together, King has enjoyed having space around her and the small-town way of life. “The people here are a lot more friendly and it’s a lot more rural. Plus, I love Bi-Rite!” King said. King has found many things about living in this area to be similar to what she remembers about growing up in Kansas. “Moving to Stokesdale was like coming home,” she said. “I grew up with Southern foods – collards, blackeyed peas, biscuits and gravy, okra and cornbread baked in an iron skillet. It’s all here for me to enjoy.” Until she wound up in Stokesdale, King didn’t realize she had also been
missing some aspects of nature. “We didn’t have thunderstorms in Napa,” King said. “I like the thunder and lightning. And lightning bugs. We didn’t have those either.” A woman of strong faith, King also likes the way people freely express their faith here in the South. “It’s wonderful to see people pray in a restaurant. You don’t see that in California,” she said. “There aren’t that many churches and you’d never see police officers directing church traffic.” Deb Ross, who lives just outside the town of Oak Ridge limits, moved from a town near Springfield, Illinois, when her husband, Jim, took a job in the northwest Guilford County area. Ross said the biggest thing she noticed in her new hometown was the difference in the word usage. “Words sounded different and some had different meanings,” she noted. “I got a kick out of people putting on a ‘toboggan.’ To us, a toboggan was a sled,” she said. “And what I called a ‘cart’ in a grocery store, people called a ‘buggy.’ ” Besides the language differences, Ross said she also dealt with variations in food choices and style of preparing them. “Everyone here eats bread with every meal, and people tend to fry more foods. Grilling was really big in Illinois,” she said. One of the biggest shocks Ross got was when she first ordered tea from a local restaurant. She had no idea she was getting sweet tea. “I took a drink of it and I had to spit it out,” she laughed. After getting used to the differences in speech and foods, Ross said she has grown to love the area that is now home. “I really like the fact that there’s so much to do outdoors, and that we’re so accessible to both the coast and the mountains,” she said. She also likes the mild winters and the friendly people. “I grew up in a college town where you didn’t know your neighbors,” she
said. “Here the neighbors are very friendly, which is a really nice change.” Carmen McGuirk, her husband, Bruce, and their children have been in Summerfield long enough to consider themselves Southerners, but McGuirk still remembers what it was like to move from San Francisco to rural northwest Guilford County. The biggest difference to her was people’s overall approach toward others. “I was born and raised in San Francisco, but I never knew my neighbors. People were very territorial. You couldn’t go on their property or touch anything they owned,” she said. “No one said ‘hi’ or made eye contact.” Being the social person that she is, McGuirk was very happy to discover people in the South to be so different. “People here are much more friendly,” she said. “They care about each other.” As for the foods more common to Southerners, McGuirk quickly developed a taste for two Southern favorites: grits and barbeque. However, she struggled with the exact meaning of barbeque for a while. “In San Francisco, the mention of barbeque meant you were going to someone’s house to grill burgers in the backyard,” she explained. McGuirk said prior to moving to the South, “all of you” had been the phrase she used to refer to a group of people. She quickly learned the more common phrase used here is “y’all.” Jody Morse and her husband, Mike Doyle, were in their early 30s and living in Chicago, but had talked about moving to the South once they retired. They had a wake-up call, however, when they moved to Stokesdale much earlier than anticipated after Morse’s father became seriously ill. Fortunately, Morse’s father survived, but she said their move was a “lifechanging event” that made the pair realize they needed to do the things they wanted to do sooner, as opposed to waiting. They sold their Chicago dental practice,
bought an existing practice in Kernersville and opened Morse and Doyle, DDS. “Once we walked into that business, it was game over,” Morse said. As they were looking for a place to live, they came upon a 47-acre farm in Stokesdale, bought a horse and began learning about farm life. While Morse said she and her husband have very much enjoyed living on a farm, she confesses they’ve made plenty of mistakes. For example, early on she got sucked into the mud a couple of times while working with her horses before realizing you have to put down a lot of gravel or cement in moist areas to ensure firm footing. And there was the time Doyle ran over a nest of yellow jackets while working on his Bobcat; covered in the insects, he ran away screaming and left the machine running (it eventually ran out of gas). Another time, Doyle started a burn pile and the flames ended up dangerously close to three of their cars. One of the most memorable incidents occurred when Doyle chased a raccoon across one of their fields with a handgun. Even with the mishaps, both the farm and Stokesdale have been a good fit. “When I first moved here, I was not sold on the whole farm thing, but I’ve changed my mind,” she said. “Some people have weekend homes. I consider this my weekend home but I get to come to it every day. It’s quiet and peaceful.” Morse said she also loves the farmers who live around her.
“We buy hay from one and know another guy who works a tobacco field,” she said. “These are such good, genuine people. They’re hard workers and they’d give you the shirt off their backs.” Then, there’s Bi-Rite in downtown Stokesdale. “I love the Bi-Rite,” she said.
“They are amazing people. It’s just a little country store but they have everything. They also have the best meat ever.” Ann Schneider moved to Oak Ridge from the Los Angeles area in 2008 when her husband, Matt, took a job with High Point University. When asked why they chose Oak Ridge, Schneider quickly responded: “Trees! Coming from a 5,500-square-foot lot, we were excited about having a bigger yard and more trees. We kept asking the Realtor – who was showing us around High Point and Jamestown – for more trees. Finally, she brought us to Oak Ridge. We all fell in love with the woods in our new back yard, and with beautiful Oak Ridge.” Along with the open landscape, Schneider was delighted that there were far fewer cars and people than in her former town. “When people complain about traffic here, I try to be sympathetic, but we used to live near the busiest freeway in the world, and Matt had a 100-mile roundtrip commute. A 5- to 10-mile drive could easily take 45 minutes,” she said. It didn’t take Schneider long to discover how welcoming and friendly people in her new town were. “When I first went to Lowes Foods, I saw lots of people talking to each other – something rare in the LA area,” Schneider said. “At that point, I didn’t know anyone. Now I’m thrilled to see people I know nearly every time I buy groceries.” Schneider said her three children probably had the most difficult time adjusting to their new lifestyle. “At first the kids had trouble understanding what people were saying – depending on how thick their accents were. And they found out quickly that some of California’s more casual customs – like calling adults by their first names – weren’t appropriate here,” she said. “Our oldest daughter couldn’t imagine why we had moved from a town with movie studios, movie theaters, and lots of coffee shops and restaurants within walking distance to a house that seemed, to her, to be in the middle of nowhere. The best thing we did to help her adjust was to get her a dog.”
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(L-R) Brandi and Arlene Neal hold a small urn containing the ashes of Randy Neal, Brandi’s father, who died in 2018, as Steve Neal looks on. Photo by Chris Burritt/NWO
growing up around the feed mill and its unspoken ways of doing business. As an example, an honor system has emerged over the decades. Customers leave coins in front of the cash register for cans of soda they take from a refrigerator against a wall lined with rakes, shovels and other tools. At closing time, Steve, Arlene and Brandi leave bags of horse feed on the porch for customers to pick up later. They keep tabs on the orders by tacking yellow tickets to a bulletin board in the office.
“These are family people,” said Page, who lives near the feed mill and buys birdseed and oatmeal cookies there.
One morning last week, Tim Cole was buying squash seeds for his garden. “They’ve got it all,” he said, surrounded in the hardware section by hinges, dog collars, buckets, fly masks for horses and medicated shampoo for dogs. A pair of scales weighs nails and grass seed by the pound. Brandi is a burst of energy as she trots from the feed mill to the pine needle trailers in the parking lot and carries bags of feed to customers’ vehicles. During a lull in business last week, she leaned against the porch with Steve and Arlene for a photograph. The two women held a small urn with the ashes of Brandi’s father. “He’s got to look after us,” Arlene said.
for making this publication possible BUILDERS Disney Custom Homes................................................ 3 Don Mills Builders......................................................40 Johnson & Lee, LLC...................................................23 LJ Custom Homes.....................................................17 Naylor Custom Homes................................................ 7 R&K Custom Homes................................................... 5 Walraven Signature Homes..................................20-21
Colfax Lawn Care......................................................11 Eanes Heating & Air.................................................... 2 Hedgecock Builders Supply.......................................... 8 Marshall Stone..........................................................12 New Garden Landscaping & Nursery........................10 Piedmont Fence Company.........................................16 Triad Land Surveying................................................... 6
MEDICAL PRODUCTS & SERVICES
COMMUNITY ORGANIZATION Oak Ridge Historic Preservation Commission............... 9
Dove Medical Supply............................................24-25
HOME PRODUCTS & SERVICES ABS The Clean Machine............................................15 BEK Paint Company..................................................18 Budget Blinds............................................................22 Cardinal Millwork.......................................................31
PS Communications......................................35, 38, 39
PET-RELATED SERVICES Triad Dog Fence.......................................................... 6
REAL ESTATE PROFESSIONALS A New Dawn Realty...................................................14 Ann Powell – Allen Tate.............................................32 Carolina Real Estate Pathways/Kristi Lucas................13 DeDe Cunningham – Keller Williams.........................27 Eddiana Fondry – Keller Williams...............................28 Gail Kerber – Kerb Appeals........................................29 Gil Vaughan – Keller Williams....................................28 Jan Cox – Keller Williams...........................................30 Maureena Shepherd – Allen Tate................................. 4 Nicole Gillespie – RE/MAX Realty Consultants.....19, 29 Phillip Stone – A New Dawn Realty............................28 Ramilya Siegel – Keller Williams................................37 Smith Marketing – Allen Tate.....................................31 Sue Hutchinson – Fathom Realty...............................29 Tim Atkins – Allen Tate..............................................29
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