Birdwatching on the
Winter is the perfect time to spot our feathered friends
Clover H.S. Air Force JROTC prepares teens for the future
No One Can Predict What 2023 Brings. But We Can Help You Prepare For The Future.
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From parades to light displays,
LAKE WYLIE ABOUNDS WITH
HOLIDAY FESTIVITIESBy Susan Bromﬁeld
Here it is holiday time again. We are fortunate to live in an area rich in history and where there are many options to enjoy during the season. Both Clover and York have historic areas and home tours. There are Christmas light displays at Daniel Stowe Botanical and in McAdenville only a few miles away in Gaston County. McAdenville, known as Christmastown USA, even uses that on postmarks at their post office. Lowry, a short drive from Lake Wylie, has a Christmas parade like days gone by with lots of horses, carriages and tractors. And the 33rd annual Lights on the Lake Holiday boat parade will be held along with Christmas by the Lake at Lake Wylie.
There is a full range of festivities within a few miles of Lake Wylie. ChristmasVille in Rock Hill is a nearly weeklong celebration that kicks off with a parade and has a full assortment of holiday festivities going on for days. And let’s not forget Winterfest at Carowinds. The park is transformed into a winter wonderland with lights, music, parades, Christmas tree lighting, carriage rides, holiday foods and fun rides for the whole family. Winterfest provides a fabulous place for a company or family Christmas party or just to gather family and friends to enjoy a special evening together. Also, Carowinds will stay open on weekends after the holidays, when it has traditionally shut down entirely until early spring.
The holidays are a time of celebrating the season with friends and family and making memories that last a lifetime. It is also a season of giving. This issue of Lake Wylie today is chock full
of interesting features and information that will give you the many options and ideas to make new memories by taking in the events, activities and ways to celebrate the season in the area.
Your family may want to include an outing to a Christmas tree farm to cut the family tree or a visit to the River Hills Lions Club Charity Christmas tree lot by the Community Church of Lake Wylie or a gathering of family and friends to share a festive meal and time together or one of the many outings described in this issue of Lake Wylie Today.
A trip through the country to Windy Hill Apple Orchard and farm is always a great part of any holiday experience. Windy Hill, located on Highway 5 outside York, makes and sells hard cider, Wassail, apple pies and homemade apple cider doughnuts, apple butter and more and has fresh greenery, wreaths and Christmas trees. Your holiday traditions may include a day at home baking gingerbread boys or holiday cookies and breads, hosting parties or caroling.
If you enjoy history, you are in for a lot of treats in the area beginning with the Lowry Christmas parade Dec. 17 from 1-3 p.m., south of York on Highway 321. This parade features horses and carriages and a glimpse of traditional parades of years gone by. Also nearby in McConnell’s on Brattonsville Highway, a Southern-style Backcountry Christmas comes to life during Historic Brattonsville’s annual Christmas Candlelight Tours. Through candlelit vignettes, costumed interpreters will recreate Christmas of the backcountry settlers as it was in the 18th and 19th
Meanwhile in York, the Yorkville Historical Society Historical Christmas Home tour features homes rich in history and decorated with traditional décor of days gone by. This year’s Clover Home Tour presented by the Clover Women’s Club will feature new and older homes with a variety of traditional and contemporary holiday décor.
Of course, a few miles away in Charlotte is the Billy Graham Library and its “Christmas at the Library” celebrations that include horse-drawn carriage rides, story time and live nativity. The library’s website, www.billygraham.org, has more information.
If you enjoy holiday music, the Clover High School Choraliers present their annual holiday show at the Clover High School Auditorium in December.
This issue of Lake Wylie Today also highlights Sweet Repeat resale store thar contributed over $200,000 to area charities and causes. Shoreline gives a look at the wonderful varieties of birds and scenes of nature of winter around the lake. Garden Party spotlights Penland Christmas Tree Farm, which offers a unique and nostalgic tradition many families enjoy each year when they cut their own Christmas tree.
However you choose to enjoy and celebrate the holiday season, there is an abundance of events and activities in the area to help you create some new memories with your family and friends. We hope you enjoy this issue of Lake Wylie Today that is full of holiday info and ideas. LW
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The Rotary Club of Lake Wylie has been busy serving our community.
Early in October RiverSweep was cancelled due to Hurricane Ian. Later in the month a River Cleanup was done in the Crowder Creek area of Lake Wylie by members of the Rotary Club and the Clover High School Interact Club. Two pickup loads of trash and debris was removed from the area thus preventing it from entering the waterways.
Josh the Otter and his Learn to Float program stopped in to see the young children at the Clover School District Community YMCA. The children were treated to a reading of the story of Josh the Otter by Rotarian Matt Burris, singing of the Josh the Otter song and a visit
stays active in community support, charity
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by Josh the Otter. The children pledged to be safe around the water, and received a Josh the Otter book and coloring book.
As of this writing the Rotary Club of Lake Wylie was looking forward to participating in the Trick or Treat event at Field Day Park and delivering Thanksgiving meals to those in need in the Clover School District.
Our moto is “Service Above Self.” If
any of these activities intrigue you or if you have questions regarding Rotary, please look us up at lakewylierotary.org or Rotary International at rotary.org.
Naked Goat Market fall festival a success
Agreat time was had by all at The Naked Goat Market premier event Oct. 15. Food trucks, live music and over 25 vendors accompanied by beautiful weather made the lawn a fun place to spend a few hours with neighbors and friends. Tom Gray of Shades of Gray played The Naked Goat Market event at the former Goat Farm. Music was sponsored by Duke Energy.
Republican Women’s Club holds ‘Boots and Bling’ fundraiser
Clover-Lake Wylie Republican Women’s Club held its first ever “Boots and Bling” fundraiser this fall. Between the fundraiser and the silent auction, the cowboy boots and the country music, the barbecue and the great desserts, everyone had a fantastic time and raised some funds also.
Afood drive, held by the Rotary Club of Lake Wylie for the Clover Area Assistance Center in September, yielded over 584 pounds of food and essentials. Along with the food, $350 in monetary donations was collected for the purchase of fresh meat and vegetables. These donations from our community are extremely helpful to the individuals that are served by CAAC.
United Bank celebrates Halloween with costume party
United Bank of Lake Wylie celebrated Halloween with fun and coordinated costumes.
The Lake Wylie crew (left to right)
Lori Dickerson, Brooke Ramsey, Tom Setzler, Angel Neelands, Sally Melton and Von Miskelly.
Norman visits Chamber Lunch ‘n Learn
U.S. Rep. Ralph Norman recently visited the Clover and Lake Wylie Chambers of Commerce Lunch ‘n Learn series to discuss various topics with area business owners and residents.
Norman has represented the 5th District of South Carolina that includes York and surrounding counties in the U.S. House of Representatives since 2017.
Lowry’s Old-Fashioned Christmas Parade to be
held Dec. 17
For a unique parade experience, check out the Lowry’s Old-Fashioned Christmas Parade. Lowry is south of York on U.S. 321 as you enter Chester County.
The parade features floats pulled only by horses and farm equipment. Beginning at the Lowry’s Community Center, this year’s event is scheduled for 1-3 p.m, with more than 100 floats, 400 horses, 100 tractors, 50 horse-drawn carriages, some farm animals and a new Santa.
Arrive early to ensure a good spot. Food will be available from local vendors. Lineup begins at 11 a.m. Entrants must have a farm theme and a horse-drawn vehicle or tractor. No registration or entry fee required. Call 803-377-4892 for more information.
Tender Hearts Ministries to open men’s shelter
Tender Hearts Ministries has begun renovation on its property in downtown York to create a men’s shelter that will serve York County.
The project is one the ministry has wanted to complete for many years. If you’d like to donate to the new shelter please go online to tenderheartssc.org.
A HOLIDAY FOR THE BIRDS
112 feathered neighbors to meet in and around Lake WylieBy Kathy Widenhouse
Winter is one of the best times to spot wildlife in and around Lake Wylie – birds, in particular. Leaves have fallen and branches are exposed, allowing birds to be much more visible to their human neighbors. Plus, up until December, many of our feathered friends are looking for a place to nest. By the time the holidays roll around, local winter birds have settled into their homes.
That gives you the chance to enjoy red-bellied woodpeckers and Carolina wrens and great-horned
owls that flit back and forth in your backyard … as well as double crested cormorant, ring-billed gull – and yes, even the occasional egret and bufflehead duck – that winter along Lake Wylie and its watershed.
Even if you’re not a long-time bird watcher, you can easily learn to identify our feathered flying visitors. There are plenty of them. More than a hundred species of birds have been sighted in York County since local official bird counts began three decades ago. We have local birding enthusiasts to thank for telling us what to look for.
The Christmas Bird Count comes to York County
During 19th century winters, gun owners were eager to try out their new rifles delivered by Saint Nick. Birds were counted by the numbers that were collected on traditional holiday bird hunts.
That began to change on Christmas Day 1900. That’s when ornithologist Frank M. Chapman, an officer in the then-new Audubon Soci-
ety, organized 25 “Christmas Bird Censuses” across North America. The event grew, and today the National Audubon Society sponsors more than 2,600 Christmas Bird Counts worldwide, scheduled during a three-week period from mid-December through early January.
One of those takes place right in our backyard. The York/Rock Hill Christmas Bird Count was launched in 1991 to provide a snapshot of early winter birds present in east and central York County – the heart of Carolina Piedmont.
112 species you can look for
The count takes place each year on the Saturday before Christmas. This year, it’s planned for Dec. 17. It is organized by nature enthusiast and science teacher Dr. Bill Hilton, who lives in a farmhouse on 11 acres in York which he and his family have dubbed “Hilton Pond.”
Volunteers begin before sunrise and finish at dusk (or later, if they’re counting owls and other nocturnals) to identify and tally birds seen and heard in a 15-mile diameter circle centered on Tools Fork Creek, where it flows beneath West Main Street in Rock Hill. The collection area extends north to Lake Wylie and west to the pinnacle of Nanny’s Mountain.
Participants are assigned a section of the circle and cover the area to record sightings in all kinds of habitats: woods, open fields, neighborhoods, swamps, rivers, streams, and on the lake itself.
In the three decades that the York/Rock Hill Christmas Bird Count has been conducted, volunteers have recorded sightings of 112 species, including the rare southern bald eagle, wintering Rufous hummingbird, and the more common belted kingfishers. Of those, 23 types of birds have been seen on every count. And others – Mallard ducks, the brown-headed nuthatch, yellow-bellied sapsucker, pied-billed grebe, and the red-shouldered hawk – have been sighted every year save one or two.
Newcomers are always welcome to participate in the York/Rock Hill Christmas Bird Count, says Dr. Hilton, and more experienced enthusiasts will help guide them through the sighting process.
Where to go birding
While the Seven Oaks Preserve Trail (Belmont, NC) and McDowell Park (west Mecklenburg County) are beyond the scope of the York County Bird Count, they offer a similar bird population to view – as does Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden (Belmont, NC). To the west, Kings Mountain State Park has miles of forested trails perfect for hiking and two fishing lakes that attract birds.
And you can view plenty of birds with fellow enthusiasts at your elbow as part of the Anne Close Springs Greenway Birding Club (Fort Mill, SC), which welcomes all levels of birders while they explore the Greenway’s 2,100 acres on regular outings together.
Yet one of the prime bird-sighting locales, according to Dr. Hilton, is Lake Wylie – particularly for spotting waterfowl like the Common Loon, Bonaparte’s Gulls, Pied-billed Grebes – and of course, the Canada Goose.
Pick up your set of binoculars and head over to public access areas at Allison Creek (Viesta Road, York), Windjammer Park (8999 Windjammer Drive, Tega Cay), and Ebenezer Park (4490 Boatshore Road, Rock Hill) to watch birds on the lake.
Or simply look out your back window. With just a few simple steps, you can be a part of the movement that helps cultivate natural habitats for our feathered friends in and around Lake Wylie.
Create a holiday for the birds
By creating a welcoming environment for birds in your backyard, you can purposefully add to the beauty of our local surroundings and help to increase the local bird population.
Start by setting out birdfeeders. Be sure to include a mix of high-fat foods like black oil sunflower seed, thistle seed, peanuts, and suet. And while you’re at it, provide a water source either in a dish or bird bath. Be sure to keep water clean and free of ice.
You can get personalized advice about your backyard bird sanctuary, too, from birding experts at Wild Birds Unlimited stores in Rock Hill (2734 Celanese Road) and Gastonia (3916 East Franklin Boulevard).
Thanks to the list of the most common local winter birds sighted during past local bird counts, you’ve even got a starting point of what types of birds to look for (see sidebar on page 17).
As the new year rolls into February and the winter food supply decreases, continue to feed the birds. Look for our feathered friends who will be building nests and laying their eggs nearby. Keep your eye out for the first migrators, like the purple martin.
Along the way, you just might develop your own new hobby. Maybe next year, you can join in the official York/Rock Hill Christmas Bird Count … or conduct one of your own.
Then, “Grab a birding field guide
friends among the bird families that take up residence in your backyard. And while you enjoy the peace that birds bring to our natural environment, you just may become their refuge, too.
In the meantime, you will find new and a notebook, and jot down the name of every bird species that either resides year-round in your area or winters there,” says wildlife author Jaymi Heibuch. “You might be surprised at some the species that hang out nearby during the
THE FLOWER BAR
Be merry, have a drink and make a memorable bouquetBy Kathy Widenhouse
Imagine you’re enjoying a quiet afternoon sipping wine with a handful of your best friends. Andy Williams croons carols in the background as a luxury event florist guides you through the process creating your own centerpiece for Christmas dinner. Sound like holiday heaven to you? Then you’re in luck.
The Flower Bar has come to Lake Wylie – and with it, owners Rob and Melissa Frotten are on a mission to create memorable experiences for local residents.
They do it through their interactive floral studio and wine bar on Charlotte Highway
A business born out of the pandemic
Melissa has been arranging luxury event florals for a couple of decades and full time since 2016. Her bouquets and centerpieces have been featured twice on the cover of Carolina Bride magazine and at events hosted by former U.S. First Lady Melania Trump, making her among Charlotte’s premier wedding and event florists.
She met Rob, an entrepreneur and former Marine, in 2019 when he was operating a local gym. They married in 2020. “But then COVID happened,” said Melissa. Events were cancelled, businesses closed, Rob left his job, and Melissa’s floral calendar dried up.
“I suggested that Melissa open her own floral shop,” said Rob.
But retail floristry is different than event
floristry. “I didn’t want to do balloons and teddy bears,” says Melissa. “However, I love teaching people about floral design.”
That’s how the Frottens got the idea for an interactive floral studio. They envisioned a place where people could touch and smell the flowers that they wanted in their arrangements, take a workshop to learn to make wreaths or centerpieces, see what lo-
Food for Thought
cal farms are producing, and get help with designing arrangements, curated floral novelties, and gift boxes.
“Plus, we thought designing would be a lot more fun if our clients could bring their friends and have a drink,” said Melissa. “And while they are at it, why not create their own drink as well?”
That’s how The Flower Bar was born.Schedule your party or event at The Flower Bar in Lake Wylie. Rob Frotten behind the bar.
Paint & Sip on steroids
“The Flower Bar is like Paint & Sip on steroids,” explains Rob, referring to painting studios that offer professionally led, informal group art classes where guests can bring or purchase their own refreshments.
But in this case, The Flower Bar offers guests the opportunity to create a professional floral arrangement under Melissa’s guidance. The Flower Bar announces its self-sponsored events on social media, guests purchase tickets through Eventbrite, and then simply show up. The Flower Bar team takes care of everything else.
You arrive to a studio filled with inviting tables, chairs, and the back end of a Ford truck stuffed with buckets of flowers – the truck a throwback to Melissa’s childhood visits to her grandparents’ farm in eastern North Carolina. There’s music in the background. And on one side of the studio is a bar where you can order a beverage or create your own specialty drink.
Melissa preps buckets of flowers and prepares the vases before the workshop. “This way, when you arrive, we can get started right away,” she explains. “You don’t need to strip leaves or hydrate stems.” She walks patrons through a flower arrangement lesson using 2030 types of greenery and flowers, most
sourced from local vendors like Critter Creek Farm in Rock Hill, Indigo Iris Farm in Clover and Five Blossoms Farm in Clover. Foliage and blossoms are chosen from whatever is in season. Depending on the time of year, that can include gardenias, camellias, lilies, roses, iris, ranunculus, tulips, daffodils, snapdragons. zinnias, sunflowers, dahlias, and eucalyptus.
The result is a takeaway of tangible value. “Our customers like walking out with a luxury floral arrangement that they made themselves,” says Melissa. “Many give their creations to a grandmother or take them to a friend in the hospital or simply enjoy it themselves.”
Create your own drink, bring your own food
The Flower Bar serves beer, wine, wine margaritas, wine-inspired cocktails, and wine slushies.
In fact, you’re invited to create your own drink. To do that, you choose a wine base (red, white, or rose), pick a fruit (like raspberry, peaches, pineapple, blueberry, mango, or strawberry), and add an essence (like mint, basil, lavender, elderberry, hibiscus, or vanilla). The bartender throws the combination into a blender and you enjoy your own custom beverage.
Take a Sip and Take Home Flowers
Find out more about The Flower Bar’s public events, schedule a private event or team building experience, or reserve venue space.
e Flower Bar is open at three locations:
1201 Village Harbor Dr., Suite 103 Lake Wylie, SC 803-833-9222
1988 Cherry Road Rock Hill, SC 803-417-7149
Newest location: 449 E. Main St., Suite A Spartanburg, SC
Web: theflowerbarrockhill.com/ Email: email@example.com Facebook: www.facebook.com/theflowerbarrockhill/
You can even take an extra to go in a beverage sip pouch.
If you want to eat while you sip beverages and arrange flowers, you can bring your own food on site. Or you can order charcuterie boards from partners Tega Graze in Fort Mill or anything on the menu at Christopher’s Grill and Bar, just across the parking lot. The Flower Bar has menus on hand and Christopher’s delivers.
Public events and private parties
The Flower Bar’s public events schedule is packed all year long: wreath workshops, centerpiece classes, and an Ugly Christmas Sweater party during the holidays, Moms and Mimosas Mother’s Day event in the spring, and a Halloween costume contest in the fall.
Rob and Melissa also use public events to support local causes. For example, the Chester Humane Society received 10% of a recent Flower Bar event proceeds to help with its new animal shelter addition.
Or you can schedule private events in the space and draw upon Melissa’s flower arranging expertise for your group – or
arrange for a pro to lead your group in a candle making workshop or class in making bath bombs.
Businesses, in particular, have discovered that The Flower Bar is an ideal venue for team building experiences, celebrations, and holiday events.
“It’s out of the norm,” says Melissa. “And it’s flexible.” Team members enjoy a new skill in a setting that’s different from their usual professional environment. They walk away with a quality tangible item yet do it in a beautiful environment while enjoying unusual drinks and music with their colleagues. “One real estate office hosted their team building event on a Tuesday morning at 10 AM,” says Rob. “It was the only time they could accommodate everyone’s schedule. And yes, the bar was open.”
If simply want event space and beverages, you can reserve a section of The Flower Bar for a baby shower, birthday party, bridal shower, or family event – for free. You can decorate the venue as you like and bring in your own cake, snacks, meal, or other food.
Beverages? Just have your guests place their orders at the bar.
What’s blooming ahead
The first Flower Bar location opened during summer 2021 in Rock Hill. This past May, the Lake Wylie store opened, followed quickly by a third store in Spartanburg in September. Plans for two more locations – one in historic Fort Mill and a second in Rock Hill – are underway.
Eventually, Rob would like to franchise The Flower Bar concept.
Meanwhile, he and Melissa have more immediate plans for the Lake Wylie Flower Bar. Rob’s goal is to have at least one event every day at the Lake Wylie location during 2023.
“Our space is restful and creative – a place that can be a refuge for local residents,” says Melissa. “It’s a place where people can get a glass of wine, turn on music, arrange flowers, and solve the world’s problems.”
And they walk away with a beautiful experience along with beautiful flowers.
Break The Ice Holiday Drink Ideas to Ease the StressBy Matthew Mugavero Lake Wylie Liquors
The holidays are here and can be stressful enough without the work and worry that comes with hosting a gathering. Do yourself a favor and have a couple of holiday themed drinks ready to offer your quests the minute they arrive. Here are a few of our favorites that are super easy to create.
1) The Irish Chocolate Cream Martini
This one is so simple and delicious that your guests will be sure to ask you how you made it.
• 1 part 360 Double Chocolate Vodka
• 1 part Five Farms Irish Cream Liqueur
Mix ingredients and add crushed ice. Serve in a fancy martini glass. To be extra fun, add some milk chocolate shavings on top.
2) Holiday Punch
This is a custom refreshing recipe from Sonja Overhiser, author of A Couple Cooks, and is a huge hit at parties. It’s a bubbly twist on the basic punch bowl. The recipe makes for approximately 12 servings and is attractive to most palettes. It’s sweet and tart as well as beautifully presented. Combine all the ingredients and top with berries / garnish in each glass. Serve quickly, those bubbles only last about 20 minutes.
• 2 bottles Champagne or Prosecco, or dry white wine
• 2 cups ginger ale
• ½ cup Cointreau (or Triple Sec)
• 2 cups pineapple Juice
• 1 orange, sliced
• 1 lemon, sliced
• Raspberries or cranberries, for garnish
• Mint leaves or rosemary leaves, for garnish
3) Tito’s Spiced Cider Mule
Add a touch of seasonal spice to kick this mule into gear. Hot apple cider spiced with cinnamon and cloves, a splash of ginger beer, and Tito’s Handmade Vodka make this cocktail a fall classic. Mix ingredients and add to copper mug, garnish with cinnamon stick.
• 1.5 oz. Tito’s
• 3 oz. warm spiced cider
• 1 oz. ginger beer
Caroling, baking cookies, writing to Santa: every family has its own holiday traditions. And for thousands of local residents, a visit Penland Christmas Tree Farm is high on their holiday to-do list.
It was in 1972 when the first customers ponied up $5 to traipse across the fields at Steve and Judy Penland’s farm, find the perfect Scotch pine, and take it home to decorate.
Today, Penland’s welcomes 6,000 families to its 70-acre spread on Campbell Road every holiday season. Many came as children to Penland and now bring their own kids.
One family still visits the farm to select a Christmas tree years after the then-pregnant mom went into false labor. There’s an octogenarian who brought his family every year and now, four decades later, he chooses a red cedar from a golf cart while the Penland team cuts it for him. Even S.C. Rep. Tommy Pope and his family return to Penland’s year after year to choose and cut their Christmas tree.
“Customers come to relive old memories and build new ones,” says Steve and Judy’s daughter, Allison Moses, who took over the farm’s day-to-day operations in 2014.
2022 marks 50 years since Steve Penland sold his first Christmas tree. And in March, he was honored for playing a hand in building York County family traditions — and for building the South Carolina economy.
City boy discovers tree farming
While taking a forestry class at Clemson University, Steve become captivated by the Christmas tree business. He finished his degree at Winthrop University and went to work at Springs Industries. In the meantime, in 1966, he rented the tree farm parcel in York and planted his first tree.
The tree farm was his hobby, but Steve joined the South Carolina Christmas Tree Association to learn as much as he could about the tree growing process. In 1970, he married Judy and together they had four children. Eventually, the Penlands purchased the farm property.
“Dad is a city boy turned farmer,” says Allison. “He learned about tree farming as he went.”
Steve’s generous spirit led him to accumulate considerable know-how and subsequently guide many others through the ins and out of Christmas tree farming. He served as SCCTA’s president for multiple terms and as South Carolina’s representative to the National Christmas Tree Association from 1997 to 2007.
His contributions to South Carolina led state senator Wes Climer, chairman of the S.C. Senate Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee, to nominate Steve for the Order of the Palmetto, the state’s highest civilian honor. Steve received the award in March 2022. “He is still one of the most enthusiastic growers in the state,” says SCCTA Vice President Jerry Hollis.
How to grow a Christmas tree
All four Penland children grew up helping on the farm, but it was Allison who stepped forward to take the helm when Steve and Judy prepared to retire.
For the general public, Christmas trees are top of mind largely during the holiday season. For Allison, trees are a year-round project. The average fresh-cut Christmas tree takes about seven years to grow. Those cut in 2022 were planted in 2015 or earlier.
That requires planning. Allison’s work begins in Jan- Steve and Judy Penland. (Photo courtesy of Allison Moses)
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uary and February – a time she dedicates to pulling up tree stumps, tilling the fields, amending the soil, and adding fertilizer.
Then March rolls around. The farm’s new saplings arrive by FedEx packed in 60 boxes, 100 to a box in one-inch cups – 6,000 trees in all. “When that truck pulls into the driveway, I know it’s time to call on my family and friends to help plant,” says Allison with a laugh.
She marks off the planting fields in a grid so trees can grow to six or eight feet with enough space to allow a tractor to move in between rows. Her husband, Martin, the three grown Moses children, friends, and extended family help to plant the saplings, using post hole diggers to create new homes for each seedling.
Allison invests the rest of the growing season in fertilizing, spraying, and shaping the trees. To create a Christmas tree’s signature cone, she uses a motorized tree shaper and its 8-foot blade to trim branches. Accumulated brush is gathered by tractor.
Once the calendar turns to November, it’s all hands-on deck until Christmas. Alli-
Sale Shed, Snack Shack, Treasure Barn
The farm opens each year on the day after Thanksgiving. “When those first customers drive through the farm’s entrance, I get excited,” Allison admits.
They’re directed to the Sale Shed where they choose their tree size, grab a saw, enjoy complimentary hot chocolate, and get directions. After finding and cutting the perfect tree, customers return to the Sale Shed where the Penland crew processes trees. “We shake out loose needles and remove birds’ nests,” she explains.
While waiting, customers can take a free hayride around the farm to see fields of Leland Cypress, White Pine, Carolina Sapphire, Red Cedar, Virginia Pine, Christmas Mint Cypress, and Blue Ice that customers will choose and cut in years to come.
Some grab a treat at the Snack Shack – a small cabin set up by Martin and Allison’s daughter, Kayleigh, when she was in sixth
grade to make money for her 4H goat raising projects. The Shack offers nachos, marshmallows, and other ingredients for s’mores to enjoy around the adjacent firepit. Or customers can greet Steve (age 78) and Judy (age 73) in person at the Treasure Barn while browsing unique decorations, crafts, and ornaments.
“Families make a day of it,” says Allison. Weekends are the farm’s busiest times, but plenty of patrons come midweek to avoid the crowds and enjoy a picnic lunch at one of the picnic tables spread under the sprawling oak trees.
Do that and you may catch a glimpse of special needs students from Clover High School’s Functional Life Skills Program who help Allison in the fields each Thursday.
Pass the saw, please
The short four- or five-week holiday sales window can be hectic. The farm has about 120 saws to lend to customers, which means the Sale Shed often runs out of saws before customers have time to return them.
“We tell folks to just ask another family to pass theirs along when they’re done cutting,”
It’s that sense of camaraderie and community that the Penland family has fostered among customers for more than five decades. “Christmas tree farming connects you to the land, God, and your fellow man,” said Steve, who still plants landscape trees on the front of the property and in the southwest corner, selling them to local landscapers and homeowners. “To me, it is the most rewarding profession a person could have.”
And just as saws are passed from family to family on the field, the tree growing torch has now been passed to the next generation.
“I’ve touched every single one of the trees in these fields,” says Allison. “I love sharing Christmas tree traditions with customers and I get sad when the season is over.”
But come January, she’ll be back at work to prepare the fields for the next crop of trees.
Her hard work helps continue the legacy of holiday traditions for local families … so they can continue to build holiday memories.
403 FACES OF THE FUTUREBy Kathy Widenhouse
Stroll through the halls of Clover High School on designated days and you’ll see plenty of students in Air Force “blues.”
It’s the same service uniform worn by regular United States Air Force personnel. But in this case, local high schoolers don it in their role as cadets in the Air Force Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps, also known as AFJROTC.
This year, 403 Clover High School students are enrolled in JROTC, making it the largest Air Force Junior ROTC program in the Southeast and among the top handful nationwide. Do a bit more math and you’ll soon figure out that one in seven of Clover’s 2,686 high school students is in JROTC – the largest student organization in the school.
That’s a whole lot of young people who are developing char-
acter, self-discipline, and leadership skills while adopting the Air Force’s core values of integrity first, service before self, and excellence in all they do.
The face of leadership
In 1995, Clover High School joined 900 high schools across the country in offering AF JROTC. Major Brian Batson took over the program in 2011.
Originally from Nashville, Batson enlisted in the Air Force when, in his words, “I tried college two or three times, but it didn’t take.” Assignments in military intelligence took him to duty stations in Alaska, San Antonio, and Hawaii. After a series of promotions, a squadron commander encouraged him to consider Officer Training School, so Batson piggybacked a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and a master’s in organizational management on top of his regular duties.
As retirement approached, a colleague told him about the JROTC instructor program – available only to retired officers and non-commissioned officers. Teaching appealed to him. Batson joined the Clover staff after 21 years of active-duty service. He, his wife Julie, a teacher at Nation Ford High School, and their four children moved to Lake Wylie in 2011. At that point, the Clover Air Force JROTC program had 99 students.
How has it quadruped in size in such a short time?
Batson is quick to point out that JROTC enjoys enthusiastic support from the Clover School District and in the community. But he and his co-instructors, Master Sergeants Brian Ghent and John Clemens, have taken some clear steps to build the program and draw in students.
At first, that meant highlighting successful alumni. Batson invited program graduates back to their alma mater to speak with Clover students and show them what is achievable — including Andrew Conn (USNA 2016, a naval surface warfare officer now in law school), Hayden Matkovich (USNA 2018, an Army infantry officer), Brady Watson (USNA 2019, a Navy pilot), and Mad-
eleine Burrell (University of Tennessee 2019, now a nuclear engineer).
Success breeds success and as enrollments in the JROTC program grew, Batson looked for a variety of opportunities to engage more students with different interests. “It’s all about eliminating barriers that may stand in the way of students participating,” says Batson. “We work with students so they can do sports, Choraliers, band, or Ag Science – yet also be a part of JROTC.”
The face of flight
One big draw has been the JROTC’s Flight Academy program.
The Flight Academy, just five years old, is a collaborative effort between the aerospace industry and the Air Force that addresses the national pilot shortage with an eight-week summer aviation training program. Students who successfully complete the course earn a Private Pilot’s Certification – at no cost. Each scholarship is valued at $22,000.
Clover cadet Samantha Burris thought she wanted to be a nurse, until she went up in an airplane. In 2018 she was the first student from Clover High School to attend the Air Force Junior ROTC Flight Academy. Today, Samantha is a senior at
Clemson and is on track to become an Air Force pilot upon graduation.
When Samantha obtained her private pilot’s license, Batson arranged for her to take Clover School District Superintendent Dr. Sheila Quinn for a ride. That opened the door for Batson and Clover’s JROTC to offer a Ground School class by hiring a local certified flight instructor, Bob Krall. He teaches cadets how an airplane operates and how weather affects flight – and prepares them to take and pass the FAA written exam required for application to the Flight Academy.
As a result, 28 of the 300 students who were selected to the nationwide 2022 Flight Academy – that’s nearly 10% of all students from across the country – are cadets in the Clover AFJROTC.
The face of opportunity
Clover students who enroll in JROTC take daily classes in the nationally accredited program that covers the science of flight, aviation history, outdoor survival skills, leadership, communications, public speaking, and principles of management. But Batson also has launched extracurricular
then keep them engaged by developing their individual interests.opportunities to attract students and Clover School District Superintendent Dr. Sheila Quinn (left) and Clover HS principal Rod Ruth (right) take a flight with newly certified private pilots and cadets Michael Tomko and Charlie Bratton. (Photo courtesy of Clover High School AFJROTC)
“We do a lot more than march,” he says – although about 20 students comprise the unit’s Drill Team, meeting after school to perfect their military and flag maneuvering skills.
The unit’s more scholarly students represent Clover in the interservice Academic Bowl team, which was one of eight AFJROTC teams to reach the national finals this year. Meanwhile, the JROTC Cyber Patriot team prepares students for careers in cybersecurity or science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. During the summer, cadets can hone their leadership skills at the Citadel Leadership School. Senior Justin Suddee did so after his sophomore year and then returned as Inspector General for the summer program in 2022.
Throughout the school year, Clover cadets embody service by greeting finishers at the Fit to Fly 5K in Rock Hill, cheering on athletes at a Special Olympics meet and delivering donations to the Clover Area Assistance Center – together clocking in more than 6,500 volunteer hours a year.
“JROTC offers so many opportunities to cadets,” says senior Michael Tomko, who serves as the cadet’s vice commander and is part of its Raider team. That’s a JROTC fitness group that practices before and after school
teams in individual strength, distance team running events, first aid, and ropes events.
Cadet unit commander Charlie Bratton agrees. He’s captain of the unit’s silver medal-winning Marksmanship Team and the 2022 Air Force JROTC and AFA Cadet Leadership Award winner. Charlie was chosen from the nearly 900 units and 31,000 juniors eligible for the award from across the country.
“There’s a place in this program for everybody,” says Batson. “From the valedictorian to the kids just getting by academically to special needs kids – they’re all a part of JROTC at Clover. There’s plenty anyone can learn about self-discipline, leadership, and life skills as a part of this program.”
The face of the future
A successful program gets that way because of an effective leader.
And while Batson is the face of the program, he won’t take the credit for Clover’s AFJROTC success. “The school district and the community support our efforts,” says Batson. “And the students respond. Our young leaders run Clover’s JROTC Cadet Corps.”
That being the case, our future is in very good hands.
Clover Air Force JROTC by the numbers
403: Number of cadets in the Clover High School AFJROTC program during 2022-2023 school year
Number of Clover cadets who have completed the national JROTC Flight Academy since 2018 and have earned their private pilot license at no cost
Number of first-year Clover cadets who are female
Number of years since Clover’s JROTC program inception
Number of years Clover has been named a Distinguished JROTC Unit
Number of Clover cadets who enter the military upon graduation
Number of AFJROTC Academic Teams participating in the 2022 National Finals, which included Clover
Number of flight simulators available to Clover cadets
Number of full-time JROTC instructors employed by Clover School District
Air Force Association National Cadet Leadership Award – Charlie Bratton (2022)
“Best in Nation” Senior Aerospace Instructor (2015) –Brian K. Batson, Major, USAF (Retired)
Hometown thrift store’s record sales beneﬁt local students and nonproﬁts
Every Monday morning, at least 15 ladies gather behind a Lake Wylie shopping center. One of them unlocks the donation sheds. Others sort through the bags of contributions, haul the plunder through the back door to the pricing rooms and stage items appropriately on the floor of Sweet Repeat Thrift Store.
The scene repeats itself four days a week, although the faces and numbers may change.
Those faces belong to members of the Sweet Repeat Charitable Foundation who, along with four part-time employees, operate the shop that netted $215,000 for charity last year.
It’s a record for the foundation. And it brings to a total of $1.4 million that Sweet Repeat has donated locally to its scholarship and grant programs since 2008.
Those funds represent a whole lot of $5 shirts and pants, $2 golf clubs, and $1 books donated by residents from York, Gaston, and Mecklenburg counties — and purchased by rabid shoppers who come to Lake Wylie from all over the Charlotte metro area to scour the thrift store that is known for its quality merchandise and unbeatable bargains.
“Our shoppers and donors are incredibly faithful and generous,” says foundation treasurer Cathy Mann.
And so are the volunteers who make the place run.
Sweet Repeat was founded in the early 1990s as an arm of the Lake Wylie Lioness Club. Members collected gently used items from the community, resold them, and turned the proceeds into scholarships. By 1997, operations occupied a small building on Charlotte Highway and in 2010, the ladies voted to become an independent nonprofit, forming the Sweet Repeat Charitable Foundation. By 2013 Sweet Repeat needed more space and moved to its current location.
It is run largely by its army of 72 volunteers, self-named “Sweeties,” who sort, price, and stock community donations and staff the store when doors are open to the public on Tuesdays and Saturdays. Many of the volunteers are retired career women. They range in age from their 50s to one spry Sweetie who is “pushing 90.”
Volunteer Monica Piern, a 2021 transplant from Maryland, wandered into the shop one day while she was getting to know the community. “It was so organized,” says Monica, a retired schoolteacher. “And I was thrilled to learn that all the proceeds go back into the community. I know what that means for children and families.” At the cash register, she asked how she could get involved and was handed a volunteer application.
Newcomers like Monica are also presented with a training manual which explains processing and hanging clothes, pricing items,
wrapping purchases, and operating the cash register. Most new Sweeties complete the training process within a month and then meet with the membership committee before becoming members of the Sweet Repeat Foundation. The annual $10 membership fee covers incidentals like printing. Members stay current by volunteering for at least 6 hours a month at the store.
But the camaraderie is so warm and the atmosphere is so much fun that many Sweeties work more than that. They collectively clock
800-900 volunteer hours or more a month. Their regular business meetings include lunch and the opportunity to honor The Chick of the Month – a volunteer who, in the words of foundation president Sue Powers, “has helped out this month in an especially meaningful way.”
Sweet Repeat accepts clothing, home décor items, small kitchen appliances, utensils, sports equipment, plates, glasses and dishes, elec-
tronics, books, and movies to stock its shelves. Sweeties are on hand four days a week at the donation shed but donors can drop off items during off hours, too. The sheds are locked overnight.
The shop’s stock turns over quickly. Its literal mixed bag means you may leave with a brandnew wreath for your front door, a crib layette with its original sales tags intact, or lightly used designer label jeans, depending on the day.
During the holiday season, Sweet Repeat’s back room is transformed into a winter wonderland by store manager Eve Foery, whose experience as a window display designer for New York City department stores is put to good use in staging donated merchandise. When the seasons change, Eve switches up the displays accordingly.
The shop’s best bargain? Clothes, which make up about 70% of sales. You can easily find new or gently used labels like Ann Taylor, Gap, and Chico’s on Sweet Repeat’s racks.
But whether donations are designer or generic, little is wasted. Sweeties sort through it all, set aside items that can’t be sold, and donate them to ministries at God’s Kitchen and True Word of God Church, both in Clover, and Carolina Veterinary Specialists in Rock Hill. Each Tuesday, a Lake Wylie resident named Matt stops by Sweet Repeat to collect excess clothing and deliver it to the homeless living behind Walmart. Extra books go to the Lake Wylie Library and Eagles Closet in Clover.
Certain items can pull in more cash elsewhere than in the store. One Sweetie assembles the unsellable silver and 14K gold, and treks to Perry’s of SouthPark a few times of year to exchange the metals for a check to Sweet Repeat. Volunteer Lynne Gessner posts collectibles like Beanie Babies and original Fisher Price toys on eBay, with profits paid to the foundation.
What do the Sweeties do with extra seasonal items once Halloween or Easter or Christmas are passed? Pack them in two units at Morningside Storage until next year.
In the aftermath of COVID-19, many businesses have struggled to maintain a strong bottom line. Sweet Repeat’s experience has been different.
Its merchandise, say shoppers, is as good or better than the quality of items in department stores like Belk. Even during the pandemic, when the numbers of Sweeties dwindled to around 50 and the store limited its hours, bargain hunters descended into the shop to find good deals.
The Lake Wylie/Clover Mayday
Allen & Lynne Turk
Tom & Carolyn McAnallan
Tom & Elizabeth Carlisle
Corporate Travel Management, Inc. Daniel Schmidt
Jerry & Carol Bohannon
Lake Wylie Pizza & Italian Restaurant Liquor at the Lake
All Saint’s Catholic Men’s Club
Will & Wilberta Wildermuth Bank of York
Carrie & Giovanni Cespedes
Fly & Rack
In Memory of Barry Bright
In Memory of Daryl Twiss
Lake Wyle Chamber of Commerce
Lake Wylie Discount Liquors
Lake Wylie Market
Lake Wylie Pharmacy
McGee Enterprises Pier 88
Marilyn & Lowell Lueking
River Hills/Lake Wylie Lions Trey and Pam Horack
Nothing Bundt Cakes Lee’s Hoagie House Epping & Associates CPA’s
Riverside Health & Chiropractic Scott Clinton Photography
Sound Advice Hearing
Stanton IT Consulting
State Farm - Jay Killian
Tommy McLean Automotive Wal-Mart Supercenter #5745
Western Benefit Card Services
Kochi Japanese Steakhouse
Lake Wylie Realty
Publix Supermarkets, Inc.
RHCC Circle of Friends
RHCC Women’s Golf Association
Join & Roseann Stichnoth
Steve & Mamie Gaver
Al & Sheri Sutherland
Ann & Fritz Rehkopf
Davis & Lois DeLuca
Don & Joan Nowak Fund
Park Pointe Village
Patty & Jim King Sweet Repeat
Wayne & Nina Lynch Kasby’s Bruce Roberts
Dave & Andi Brown
Journey of Lake Wylie, SC Church
Melanie Wilson Real Estate
Okuma America Corp
Sloan Financial Group Thrivent Financial York County
John & Lorena Hess
Little Woods Marketing Fern Recio Paul Loftis
Lake Wylie Hardscapes
Goshen Glenn Farms
Edward Jones - Lee Youngblood
Bobby Stroup RHCC Golf
Dick’s Sporting Goods
Gary Troyan RHCC Golf
Ira RHCC Tennis
Kevin & Kim Naumann
Magnolia House Florist Market on Wylie
Lake Wylie Senior Health Craig & Cathy Miller
Nick Webb RHCC Golf
Patrick RHCC Tennis
Prayers Therapeutic Touch
RHCC Pro Shop
Shirley & Frank MacMillan Tiger Jordan Tommy Jordan RH Golf Academy
That enthusiasm has doubled Sweet Repeat’s sales over the last year and profits are funneled back into the community where it is needed the most. The foundation’s $215,000 net gain in 2022 meant three $5,000 college scholarships for Clover High School students in need. The remaining $200,000 was awarded to 30 local nonprofit organizations in grants ranging from $1,000 to $15,000.
Each grant application was reviewed by the foundation’s Charitable Giving committee and specified a project for which the funds will be used. 2022 beneficiaries include Clover Area Assistance Center, The Community Café, Lake Wylie Children’s Charity, the Stellie J. Jackson Enrichment Center, RideAbility Therapeutic Riding Center, and River Hills EMS. Autism Charlotte will use its award to help outfit its new learning center where children with au-
tism can get individualized support. Sweet Repeat’s grant to Restore Mobility for the Blind, a Lake Wylie nonprofit, will provide safe transportation for local residents with disabilities.
Awardees were invited to a special celebration in October at the River Hills Country Club where they received their funding.
Meanwhile, foundation members are celebrating with them and looking forward to next year.
“Sweet Repeat is not just a thrift store or a place to donate your unwanted items,” says volunteer Sweetie Jackie Kitchen. “You know your time is doing something to help others. It’s a rewarding, positive place to be.”
Made all the sweeter by the generous donors and volunteers who keep it running — and the gifts that are re-invested into our community.
Donate, Volunteer or Shop at Sweet Repeat
Sweet Repeat Thrift Store
4082 Charlotte Highway
Lake Wylie, SC 29710 803-831-0722
Web: sweet-repeat-thrift-store.business.site Facebook: www.facebook.com/ sweetrepeatlakewyliesc
Hours: Tuesday and Saturday, 9 a.m.–3 p.m.
Donation shed behind the store open Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Saturday, Sunday, 9 a.m.–5 p.m.
Celebrate Family-Friendly Fun this Season Without Breaking the BankBy Kathy Widenhouse
Gifts, parties, decorations, outings, food, travel: the holiday season can be noto riously expensive. But perhaps you, like so many others, are tightening your belts this year. Or maybe you just dream of a sim pler time, filled with music and merriment and smiles rather than rushing and spending and crowds.
If so, there’s good news. There are plenty of ways you and your family can enjoy simple of Christmas cheer at no cost (or very little cost) in and around Lake Wylie this season. Here’s a sampling.
Watch a parade
Christmas comes early to Belmont as the historic mill town kicks off the holidays with
its 73rd annual Christmas Parade on Novem ber 29. Check out festive floats, antique cars, area school marching bands, and get a glimpse of Santa Claus before he stops by Clover a few days later.
On December 4, to be exact. That’s when the Big Guy will join local civic groups and businesses as they parade down Clover’s Main Street. Rumor has it that The Grinch will be present, too. Watch the 52nd Annual Clover Christmas Parade for free and grab an inexpen sive meal either before and after at Food Trucks on Main, assembled at Boyd’s Tire from 12-5 PM.
Local Christmas parades aren’t limited to the land! To view one on water, set aside De cember 10 for the Annual Holiday Boat Parade sponsored by the Lake Wylie Chamber of Com merce. The light show on the water was the first
event of its kind in the Charlotte region when it was launched in 1989. Now, more than three decades later, the Holiday Boat Parade contin ues to bring out boaters and spectators for a glittering display right in our backyards. Home owners along the shoreline join in the festivities by decorating their docks and homes, together with several dozen decorated boats that parade from Papa Doc’s to circle around RiverPointe on the lake’s Charlotte shoreline, and travel un der the Buster Boyd Bridge before returning to the starting line. Afterwards, boats remain close to shore so spectators can view their decora tions in detail.
Check out the lights
You can get bedazzled further when you drive through the granddaddy of local light displays at Christmas Town, USA – otherwise
Our grand opening will be in the upcoming month or so. Please follow us on Facebook for speci c grand opening date. We will be o ering door prizes, giveaways and much more! We look forward to meeting all of you and your pets!
We started with the goal of improving the health and well-being of our own pets. Now, we hope to use what we learned to promote nutrition and vitality for the pets within our community.
· Fresh, all-natural pet food made every 30-45 days.
· We have a full line of all-natural treats, chews and supplements
· One-on-one pet nutrition consultation to address your speci c pet’s needs
· We o er delivery to your work or home!
· Locally owned and operated Scan
known as McAdenville, NC. More than 375 trees are covered with red, white, and green lights and each homeowner in the tiny hamlet gets into the act, too, with a personal display. You can park for free at three locations inside McAdenville, including just adjacent to the town’s lake, or you can follow the line of vehi cles on its slow snake through town to take in the lights. There’s no charge.
On your way going or coming, be sure to drive down Route 274 through Lake Wylie. Do that and you won’t be able to miss the in tersection at Harper Davis Drive and the home of Annette and Tim Cooper. Their yard is filled with 100-125 inflatables and figures along with thousands of tree lights, house lights, spotlights, and light projectors scattered across the prop erty that they’ve dubbed “Cooper’s Christmas Chaos.” The Cooper’s home has become such a popular destination that it's now got its own Facebook page and a Letters for Santa mailbox out front. St. Nick’s elves answer each note left there by excited boys and girls.
Head a bit further south to Rock Hill, and just off Twin Lakes Road you will find the Staf ford Park Community Christmas Light Show. Nearly every one of the 100-plus homes in the neighborhood is decked out for the holidays. It’s free to drive through, but if you go on the spe cially selected weekend (this year, it’s December
16 & 17), you can vote for your favorite display. Stafford Park’s HOA tallies the results and posts the winners on their neighborhood Facebook page. On voting weekend, organizers welcome contributions of canned food, toys, and mon etary gifts which are donated to local charities. Last year’s collection totaled more than 1,300
pounds of nonperishable food items, 200 toys, and $8,000 given to those in need.
Eat breakfast with Santa
You’ve got to eat. Why not do so with St. Nick himself?
For just $10 per person, you and your lit tles can stop by Camp Thunderbird on Dec. 10 (8:30-11 a.m.) to visit Santa Claus and fill up on pancakes, sausage, and bacon. While you’re sip ping that extra cup of coffee, kids can work off their energy at the Bounce House, get their fac es painted, decorate cookies, or watch the magi cian create balloon animals. Local mounted po lice, K-9 squad, and fire department will show horses and dogs and fire trucks to children and adults. And the River Hills/Lake Wylie Lions Club members, the event’s hosts, will offer free eye vision tests, too.
Stroll the village
Main Street in historic downtown Belmont transforms into an old-fashioned Christmas village on Dec. 3. There’s no fee to wander the streets and explore local vendors at the Christ mas Market. And the Christmas Carousel, too, is free – although organizers welcome a dona tion of canned food or a toy to benefit local charities. You may find it fun to enter the sec ond annual gingerbread house contest in front
of City Hall, take a ride on the track less train in the upper field of Stowe Park from 1-9 p.m., grab a photo with the Snow Puffs or a visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus, or stroll through 75plus lit Christmas trees in Stowe Park, each individually decorated by an or ganization, group, or individual.
The days-of-yore holiday fun lasts even longer during ChristmasVille, a four-day award-winning festival that fills the streets of Old Town Rock Hill.
Buildings and streetlamps are dec orated transforming the downtown into a picturesque holiday village and outdoor art festival with over 100 activ ities ranging from ice skating to horsedrawn carriage rides to kids crafts and gourmet coffee tasting. General admis sion and many of the festival events are free, including Dickens carolers and
And if music is your thing, check out the Clover High School Choraliers Holiday Show on Dec. 8, 10 and 11. For just $10 a seat, you and your fam ily can enjoy a Broadway-style revue that’s been dubbed as “the best enter tainment value in Charlotte.”
Start a new family tradition
With so many options available at little or no cost, this year you may face an altogether different problem than you have had in years past: how to choose which activities to do.
Pick a few and try them. Your wal let will thank you. You’ll have more cash to spend in the new year. And you may just start a new family tra dition that builds memories for many years to come.
73rd Annual Belmont Christmas Parade Nov. 29, 3:30 p.m. Historic Belmont, NC Free
52nd Annual Clover Christmas Parade Dec. 4, 3 p.m. Main Street, Clover Free
Lights on the Lake Boat Parade, Lake Wylie Dec. 10, 6:30 p.m. Launch at Papa Doc’s Free
McAdenville Christmas McAdenville, NC Dec. 1-26, 5:30-10 p.m. Free
Cooper’s Christmas Chaos
682 Harper Davis Road, Lake Wylie Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day Monday-Friday, 5:30–9 p.m.; Saturday & Sunday, 5:30–10 p.m. Free
Stafford Park Christmas Light Show
2210 Keswick Lane, Rock Hill Open nightly; free Drive-through voting for your favorite display on Dec. 16 & 17, when HOA members will collect toys and nonperishable food items for the needy
Breakfast with Santa
Sponsored by the River Hills-Lake Wylie Lions Club Dec. 10, 8:30–11 a.m.
Camp Thunderbird $10 per person
Music and Festivals
2022 Christmas Village
Historic Downtown Belmont, NC Dec. 3, 1-9 p.m.
Free general admission
Historic Downtown Rock Hill Dec. 1-4, daily
Free general admission; fees apply for certain activities
The Clover Choraliers Holiday Show
CSD Auditorium, Clover Dec. 8 & 10, 8 p.m. Dec. 11, 3 p.m. $10 general admission
This is what life is supposed to feel like. When you aren’t held back. When you have a health partner that doesn’t just treat part of you – they care for all of you. That’s why more people prefer Atrium Health, with the most complete care that lets you get back to the moments that matter. That’s what it’s like to live fully
Shop locally for gifts and holiday needs
and Italian. Copper Premium Pub has covered outdoor dining and even a fire pit and is open for lunch, dinner and take out. A gift certificate from Lily’s Bistro, Christopher’s or Famous Toastery is always a nice gift to give or receive.
Jackson’s Kitchen Catering makes entertaining easy and family holiday meal preparation a breeze. For those with less time to dine, there are gift cer tificates at most of the area fast-food places. A gift certificate from the Bagel Boat of Lake Wylie is sure to be a favorite gift or stocking stuffer. Who doesn’t love a mocha, hot cocoa or coffee at the holidays and on these cold winter days? Fast Frog Bakery, on S.C. 55 near S.C. 49, features beautiful and clever holiday treats and baked goods that make a special and perfect gift.
If meals don’t appeal to your gift giving ideas, think about other gift certificates for manicures and pedicures, available at the Nail Gallery and Nail Palace, a great massage from one of our local massage therapists, including Dragonfly Wellness Center. Anytime Fitness provides gift certificates to begin a healthy new year with a fitness plan and memberships. A YMCA family membership can be enjoyed all year long. Mahalo Salon located at Evergreen Road and Highway 49, Great Clips and Revel Salon and Color Studio located at Lake Wylie Business Centre all provide personalized service.By Susan Bromfield President - Lake Wylie Chamber of Commerce
Think Shop Locally this holiday season. The Lake Wylie area has more to offer than you might think! As the holidays approach, avoid the traffic, save time, stay safe, shop locally and support our community and local businesses. Here are just a few ideas to consider as you prepare for the holidays ahead:
Market on Wylie located at 4547 Charlotte Hwy #4 (same building as Lily’s Bistro - at the oth er end) has wine from all over the world and an off-the-hook ever-changing selection of craft beer. They offer lots of imported food: Pastas (stroz zaproti, sette dita, fusilli al Ferretto, long spaghet ti), delicious pasta sauces, olives and peppers. And don’t forget dessert! Frozen delicacies as well as Italian cookies and treats. These make great gifts or are perfect for making a festive meal at home.
Lake Wylie Liquors always has the most helpful staff! They offer a terrific variety of party and gift items during the holidays and is conveniently lo cated on Highway 49 and Evergreen Road.
What about Christmas Trees and wreaths? We have several choices: Walmart and Lowes, Riv
er Hills Lion’s Club Charity Tree Lot by the west/ back gate of River Hills - the fresh cut trees from the NC mountains will arrive Thanksgiving week. Insider Info: River Hills Lion’s Club Charity Tree sale is always a great success and usually sells out by mid-December. How about a family outing? A short drive into the country you will find Penland Tree Farm where you can cut down a fresh tree and enjoy hot cocoa or cider. For many, this is a beloved holiday tradition.
Coastal Cottage is a locally owned boutique, located in Plantation Square (behind Lily’s Bis tro). They have a wonderful selection of the most charming home decor items, cozy for winter ap parel and delicious gourmet stocking stuffers like Raspberry Jalapeno Jam or Mulling Spices. Beauti ful and fun jewelry make it a must stop.
And The Flower Bar is a terrific place to gather with friend during the holidays and make a beau tiful floral arrangement while enjoying a libation.
Gift certificates make a great gift and there is no end to the ideas available locally.
The variety gives many choices. Papa Doc’s Shore Club offers great views, Rey Azteca and Az teca Grill offer Mexican fare for lunch and dinner. And, of course, everyone loves Lake Wylie Pizza
And for our family pets, Bright Eyes and Bushy Tails pet grooming and supplies located in Water side West makes a great spot to get gifts for pets or a gift certificate for grooming and services. Pet sense located at Shoppes at the Landing also offers pet grooming and supplies and treats for pets. Newly opened Pet Wants in Lake Wylie Plaza has fresh pet food and treats.
Lake Wylie Bowl N’ Bounce is a favorite place for families and groups to gather this winter for bowling and bounce. Gift Certificates are available and this treat will make a gift for the whole family. And for a fun holiday treat, arrange for Carolina Selfies to be at your next gathering or party. For a special or unique greeting card to give or have placed on your lawn as a holiday card, contact Car olina Storks at 704-526-5988.
A gift for the home is always a good idea. In Clover on Main Street at ML Ford and Sons Furni ture store, there is a treasure trove of gift items and furnishings. Saltwater Market will have the freshest seafood and freshly cut meats and special holiday treats for all your holiday needs and gifts. Jackson’s Kitchen has homemade breads, salads, pies and cheese balls; great for gift giving or for home.
Located across the Buster Boyd Bridge in North Carolina at Highway 49 and Shopton Road is Kasby’s by the Lake. It has outdoor and indoor furnishing and accessories as well as mattresses and beds.
Season of Giving at Lake WylieBy Susan Bromfield
The holidays are a time to count our blessings and give generously. There are many charity projects, fundraisers, volunteering projects and efforts to help others at all times, not only during the holidays. Lake Wylie is a giving community every day of the year. For newcomers and longtime residents alike, there are endless opportunities to volunteer, give and participate.
There is an ongoing need at Clover Area Assistance Center for canned goods, toiletries and household staples like dish soap, soap, toilet paper, paper towels, laundry soap, diapers and shampoo. Charity drives are held each year where our community members, church congregations and businesses can drop off canned goods, unwrapped toys, new hats, gloves and scarves. If you are unable to shop for the needed items, or don’t have extra items in your pantry, checks are welcome too. Make checks to Clover Area Assistance Center and mail to PO Box 521, Clover, S.C., 29710. Count your blessings this holiday season and give to our neighbors that may need a helping hand.
The Sweet Repeat Foundation operates one of the most successful “recycling” charity projects in the area with its Sweet Repeat resale store located in Lake Wylie Plaza. The volunteers work all year long to operate this store for charity. Items are contributed to Sweet Repeat, sold to give them a new home and the money raised is given to charity. This year, Sweet Repeat raised more than $200,000 to contribute to area charities
The River Hills-Lake Wylie Lions Club raises money for charity throughout the year with several annual events, including their annual golf tournament, charity Christmas tree sale, producing the River Hills telephone directory and the annual fall raﬄe. They are a major contributor to the Lake Wylie-River
Hills Emergency Squad, a free service to the entire Lake Wylie area.
The May Day Golf event and foundation raises money to help the many homeless and disadvantaged students in the area along with donating to area charities. The October golf event raises funds which are earmarked to help homeless students and other student needs in the Clover School District. Contributions are accepted all year long by sending a check to Lake Wylie/ Clover May Day Projects, c/o Lake Wylie Chamber of Commerce, PO Box 5233, Lake Wylie, S.C., 29710.
The Lake Wylie Children’s Charity raises funds throughout the year to help families who may have a very sick child and are in need of financial and community support during their time of need. This group contributes to needs throughout the year that are identified by Levine Children’s Hospital as well.
Area banks and churches will have angel trees; Toys for Tots, Clover Jaycees Santa’s toy drive (benefiting children in the Clover School District), Second Harvest Food Bank in Charlotte, CAAC adopt a family and many other avenues to give generously to those less fortunate during the holidays. Toys and canned goods may be dropped off at United Bank in Lake Wylie. Giving time by volunteering is a priceless gift. Give a warm coat, a new unwrapped toy, canned goods or a check, but give what you can to the many that need a helping hand.
As the holidays are upon us, it is a time to count our blessings, be grateful and reach out to help others. It is a time to be with family and friends and give to area charities and the many projects that benefit so many all year long.
The holidays are a time to celebrate the season, give and care for those around us. The season of giving is all year long.
Is 2023 going to be your year?By Jane DuBois
Yes. I’m writing about exercise. Don’t roll your eyes! January is a great time to make a new start. Some cliches are true. Sure, others have tried and failed – joining a gym and go twice or maybe not at all. That doesn’t mean we have to fail. How do we succeed? Well, first, put it on your calendar! Setting a definite time to exercise will increase your chances for success immensely. Get a friend or coworker to work out with you. Lots of folks swear by the buddy system – someone keeping you accountable. Sign up for personal training sessions. Or, maybe sign up for a challenge! These are fun and often have a cash prize for the winner.
Without a doubt, we all need to move more if we want to enjoy a healthy long life. Use it or lose it. Another cliche that is absolutely true. The last couple of years had us hanging around the house a lot more, right? Maybe it is time to get out and get moving! And we have lots of choices right here in Lake Wylie (and all offer personal training).
Gyms in Lake Wylie
Anytime Fitness 125 Evergreen Rd. Lake Wylie, SC 29710 803-831-1234
YMCA Aquatics Center 5485 Charlotte Hwy. Clover, SC 29710 803-831-9622
9-Round Fitness 221 Latitude Ln. Lake Wylie, SC 29710 803-619-4533
And for those of us with something holding us back, maybe it’s back or knee pain, head aches or some other physical problem that is keeping you from living life to the fullest. Chi ropractic might help. Have you tried acupunc ture? Maybe traditional massage could get you on the right track. Or for more serious issues it might be time to seek physical therapy. This is not a complete list but a good place to start.
Lake Wylie Wellness and Chiropractic 4543 Charlotte Hwy #9 Lake Wylie, SC 29710 803-701-7077
Dragonfly Wellness Center (chiropractic, massage and acupuncture) 264 Latitude Lane, Suite 103 Lake Wylie, SC 29710 803-746-5700
Glaza Chiropractic 548 Nautical Dr #204 Lake Wylie, SC 29710 803-831-2345
Lake Wylie Family Chiropractic 244 Latitude Lane, Suite 104 Lake Wylie, SC 29710 803-831-6500
Lake Wylie Physical Therapy 4543 Charlotte Hwy Suite 11 Lake Wylie, SC 29710 803-831-1454
Ivy Rehab Physical Therapy 439 Channel Road, Suite 102 Lake Wylie, SC 29710 803-746-7800
Healthee Touch 219 N Congress St. York, SC 29745
or 1762 McGill Road Smyrna, SC 29743 803-367-3718
Zenergy Massage Therapy 4607 Charlotte Hwy., Suite 16 Lake Wylie, SC 29710 803-526-3550
Restoration Wellness Massage & Coaching 4341 Charlotte Hwy., Suite 201 Lake Wylie, SC 29710 704-408-1466
The real estate market has delivered a wild ride the past couple of years in Lake Wylie. During the pandemic, demand shot up for homes offering office space, outdoor living areas and access to recreation and nature — features readily available in the beautiful Lake Wylie area. Available listings sold quickly, and the number of homes available began to dwindle.
With strong demand and light supply, the inevitable happened. The price of housing in Lake Wylie has risen considerably since pre-pandemic times. Within the Clover School District, the average home price is $493,000, up almost $140,000 since 2019. The price per square foot is up a whopping 50% since pre-pandemic.
For lakefront properties, prices have risen even more, up 56% in comparison to before COVID-19 emerged. The average price for a waterfront home on Lake Wylie in the first three quarters of 2022 was $1.2 million.
Prior to the pandemic most homes sold on the lake were priced between $500,000 and $900,000, with an average in the mid $700’s. Now, availability of mid-priced homes on the lake is very limited. Buyers with moderate budgets are finding them-
Avg. Price Price/Sq. Ft.
River Hills $628,000 $222
Paddlers Cove $552,000 $184
Summerhouse $480,000 $207
Cypress Point $595,000 $180
Boshamer Farms $362,000 $175
selves in a race whenever a new listing is introduced, and they find the homes in their price range are much smaller than they were a few years ago.
Sellers are realizing profitable gains on their real estate transactions, both on and off the lake. Within the CSD, current prices in some of the largest selling neighborhoods are:
Established neighborhoods with moderate priced homes (in the $300’s) — such as Autumn Cove, Bethelfields, and the Oaks at Clover — posted 40-50% increases in price since 2019.
In summer 2022, sales began to decline as mortgage rates rose and the number of available listings continued to drop. While single family home sales through third quarter were down 12% from last year in the greater Charlotte area, sales were down just 2% in the CSD.
As we navigate through the market swings, there are some key points to keep in mind. Demand is still very strong for homes in the Lake Wylie area. A large factor in the recent softening of the market is tied to lack of inventory. The number of available homes is 30% lower in York County compared to pre-pandemic. The number of waterfront homes available is 72% lower than it was pre-pandemic. Both on and off the lake, the supply of homes for sale has not kept up with buyer demand. Until the “pent up” demand is met, prices will stay high in our market.
New listings receive quick interest from potential buyers. The average time on market for a home in our area is just three weeks, with many new listings selling within a day or two, at asking price or above.
Both buyers and sellers can benefit from the expertise of a skilled Realtor in this fast paced market. To ensure the most favorable outcome, make sure you choose a professional with experience in the type of home, neighborhood or area you are purchasing or selling.
Drew Choate, “The Lake Wylie Man” is aﬃliated with Keller Williams Connected in Fort Mill. His team has led the market in Lake Wylie waterfront sales each year for more than a decade.
Spotlight lightNews of the Lake Wylie Chamber of Commerce
Lake Wylie Chamber of Commerce
BY COMPORIUM, PROLIFT GARAGE DOORS AND PAPA DOC’S SHORE CLUB
WHEN: PARADE BEGINS SATURDAY, DECEMBER 10, 2022 AT 6:30 P.M.
WHERE: BUSTER BOYD BRIDGE AT PAPA DOC’S – LAKE WYLIE
CAPTAINS MEETING WILL BE HELD AT 6:00 P.M.
This form and a check for $25.00 should be sent to: Lake Wylie Chamber of Commerce, P.O. Box 5233 Lake Wylie, SC 29710 by Thursday, Dec. 8, 2022 (late and same-day registration is $30)
33rd Annual “Lights on the Lake” Holiday Boat Parade
Set for Dec. 10, 2022
The lake will light up with one of Lake Wylie Chamber of Commerce’s most popular events, the 33rd annual “Lights on the Lake” Holiday Boat Parade, to be held on Saturday, Dec. 10. Each year the event grows in number of participants and popularity, and this year many more boats are expected to join in. Homeowners are encouraged to participate too by decorating their docks as a way of adding to the festivities.
Boats will meet at Papa Doc’s Shore Club , SC Hwy. 49 by Buster Boyd Bridge, at 6 p.m. for lineup. A meeting of the boat captains will be held on the shore next to Papa Doc’s at the same time. The parade begins at 6:30 p.m. and the parade route spans both sides of the Buster Boyd Bridge. Best viewing is from the deck at Papa Doc’s and the Buster Boyd Public Boating Landing and access area.
Awards will be presented to the participant with the most creative lighting display. There will be first, second and third place winners.
Early registration is $25 and must be received by Thursday, Dec. 8. Late and same-day registration is $30. Mark your calendars and plan for a fun night on the lake. Please mail your check and registration form to BOAT PARADE, Lake Wylie Chamber of Commerce, P.O. Box 5233, Lake Wylie, SC 29710. For additional information and a registration form, contact the Chamber at 803831-2827, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www. lakewyliesc.com.
Holiday Gala kicks off the season
The Lake Wylie Chamber’s annual meeting is held as a holiday gala celebration where the annual Business and Citizen of the Year are recognized. This year’s event will be on Dec. 8 at River Hills Country Club. Reservations can be made by calling the chamber at 803-831-2827. Sponsorships are also available.
Halloween Business After Hours
Oct. 27, 2022
Business After Hours
Oct. 20, 2022
Lake Wylie Chamber of Commerce 2022 Golf Classic Sponsors!
Premier Sponsor Long Consulting Group Gold Sponsors
360 Painting Gastonia/Rock Hill
Lake Wylie Liquors
Lake Wylie Today
River Hills Country Club State Farm – Seth Neely Watson Insurance
Carolina Homes Connection
Carolina Storks and More Comfort Systems
Elrod Pope Law Firm
Glaza Chiropractic Lake Living with Matt and Katie Lakeside Insurance
Lee’s Hoagie House
May Green Properties
Mr. Crawl Space
Peoples First Insurance
Redwood Lake Wylie Retail Systems Inc
Senator Harvey Peeler
Southern Custom Printing
The Lake Wylie Man
TLC Your Way Home Care
Vibes Around The Lake Walmart
YMCA Camp Thunderbird
York County Natural Gas York Electric Co-Op
Lake Wylie Chamber of Commerce 2022 Year in Review AnnualBy Susan Bromfield, President, and Jeﬀ Ledford, Chairman
After two years of changing circumstances, the Lake Wylie Chamber of Commerce had another very active and productive year. Here is a recap of the variety of activities and accomplishments and Lake Wylie highlights during the past year:
• Positively promoted Lake Wylie and economic development all year long. Look around in every direction.
• Safely operated a Lake Wylie Visitor Center in one of the busiest corridors in the state.
• Held more than six Business After Hours networking events with the support of 15 sponsors.
• Held ribbon cuttings and grand openings with new and expanding businesses.
• Staffed a beautiful Lake Wylie Visitor Center and developed a team of volunteers.
• Operated a Small Business Center in Lake Wylie with seven beautifully furnished rental offices that has been perfect for small businesses to launch or downsize and remain in Lake Wylie.
• Appropriately and safely presented and promoted Lake Wylie events and activities throughout the year by collaborating with community groups.
• Did July 4th promotion and assisted YMCA Camp Thunderbird to promote and raise money to facilitate Lake Wylie Fourth of July Community Fireworks Display.
• Collaborated with area groups to have a candlelight vigil to support Ukraine.
• Hosted an outstanding golf tournament at River Hills Country Club involving more than 120 members, includes sponsors, golfers, volunteers and participants.
• Added more than 30 new members.
• Continued partnership with the South Carolina Biz News to publish Lake Wylie Today, a premier quarterly magazine to promote the Lake Wylie lifestyle, business and events. Lake Wylie Today features the Chamber Spotlight newsletter and helps to promote and market the area and our members.
• Published 10 full-color page quarterly newsletter in Lake Wylie Today.
• Lake Wylie Today award-winning publication a collaboration with SC Biz News won first place in magazine division by South Carolina Press Association again for 2021.
• Published a full-color Lake Wylie Living newcomers guide for Lake Wylie area.
• Lake Wylie Chamber President Susan Bromfield was honored as recipient of Chamber Association of Chamber Executives South Carolina Chamber Executive of the Year Award.
• Utilized chamber “e-communications” and social media to promote area and chamber.
• Hosted business lunch ‘n learn seminars, meetings and informational opportunities for members.
• Presented and collaborated with Clover Chamber to present member networking and learning opportunities.
• Actively supported the many local service organizations like Lake Wylie Rotary Club and River Hills Lions Club.
• Supported a coat collection drive, toy drive for holidays and canned good drive.
• Maintained Lake Wylie website and online directory 24/7.
• Successfully implemented the chamber business plan goals and objectives.
• Continued collaborations with educational programs.
• Successfully served as Legislative Liaison with State and Federal legislators.
• Worked with other Chambers of Commerce on issues and areas of common interest and concern.
• Actively supported economic development efforts and issues.
• Supported the efforts to promote the Lake Wylie Park.
• Developed and collaborated to publish Lake Wylie materials to support members and tourism.
• Continued support for “Going Green” efforts at Lake Wylie to include adopt a stream and coves and storm drain marking program at Lake Wylie.
• Worked “hands on” with a variety of economic development prospects that have now selected Lake Wylie to launch or locate their businesses.
• Worked to support a variety of community projects and charitable efforts and groups.
• Supported members and their efforts to promote economic development and growth and prosperity for the community.
• Worked with members on new opportunities to benefit businesses and community.
• Promoted and marketed Lake Wylie throughout the year via materials, magazines, visitor center, speaking engagements and promotional events.
To LW Chamber Staff Welcome New Members
Aug. 23–Oct. 31, 2022
Inspire Integrative Pediatrics
534 Nautical Drive, Suite 2 Clover, SC 29710 803-619-4121 email@example.com www.inspirepeds.com
Mullooly Wealth Planning LLC
Steven Mullooly 168 Highway 274 #134
Lake Wylie, SC 29710 803-272-1003 firstname.lastname@example.org www.mulloolywealthplanning.com
Peoples First Insurance
466 Hood Center Drive Rock Hill, SC 29731 803-329-5301 mburris@peoplesfirstinsurance. com www.peoplesfirstinsurance.com
604 Sundale Street
Lake Wylie, SC 29710 803-552-6465 email@example.com
Prolift Garage Doors of Rock Hill
Stanley Belizor Rock Hill, SC 803-302-7264 firstname.lastname@example.org www.proliftdoors.com/rock-hill/ Garage door service
Reveka Skincare LLC
6737 Stonebridge Lane Clover, SC 29710 360-621-9811 email@example.com www.revekaskincare.com
The Flower Bar
1201 Village Harbor Drive Lake Wylie, SC 29710 803-833-9222 firstname.lastname@example.org www.theflowerbars.com
360 Painting of Gastonia - Rock Hill
11701 Parks Farm Lane Charlotte, NC 28277 615-477-9315 email@example.com www.360painting.com/ gastonia-rockhill
2022 Chamber Champion
Lake Wylie Chamber of Commerce and United Bank- Lake Wylie continue Neighbors Helping Neighbors Charity Drive
The Lake Wylie Chamber of Commerce and United Bank – Lake Wylie continue the holiday “Neighbors helping Neighbors” Charity Drive. This year, unwrapped new toys, canned goods and checks for Clover Area Assistance Center can be dropped of at United Bank – Lake Wylie on the corner of Hwy. 49 and 274 at Lake Wylie between 9 a.m.–5 p.m. Monday through Friday from Nov. 21-Dec. 16. We ask for our neighbors to give generously and do what you can to help our neighbors in need of a little extra help. Holidays are a time to share, love and be charitable. If everyone helps by dropping off a new toy and/or check collectively we can make a difference to many. If you are unable to shop for the needed items, checks are always welcome too. Make checks to Clover Area Assistance Center and mail to PO Box 521, Clover, SC 29710 or donate online at www.cloverareaassitancecenter.org by clicking on donate. Toys will be donated to the Clover Jaycees Santa’s Closet. Count your blessings this holiday season and give to our neighbors in need.
Lake Wylie Chamber of Commerce 2022 - 2023 Board of Directors
Calculated Moves, PA
Michaelyn SherrillTreasurer Home Companions
P.O. Box 5233
264 Latitude Lane, Suite 101 Lake Wylie, SC 29710 803-831-2827
Fax: 803-831-2460 firstname.lastname@example.org www.lakewyliesc.com