Life in Our Foothills - March 2024

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Heartwood Gallery

The Heart of the Arts in Saluda

The Message of Music


Adventure School

Our Amazing Grace

March 2024 Life in Our Foothills $4.95
life IN OUR
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Enjoying The Mountains

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Experienced agents licensed in both NC & SC KATHY TOOMEY BROKER/OWNER BARBARA BRICKER • ALEX FRAZIER KIRK GOLLWITZER • JOHN TOOMEY • TIM WRIGHT 285 N. Trade St. • Tryon • 828-817-0942 •


Mark Levin, Writer and Photographer

Mark is retired from a career in education, both in and outside of the classroom. He enjoys traveling in his campervan and finding stories about the people and places encountered along the way. You can follow his blog at as well as at TheCountryLifeWithColumbusMark.

Emily Williams, Writer and Photographer

Emily Williams is a recent graduate of North Greenville University with a Bachelor of Arts in English. She is currently pursuing her Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing while working as a substitute teacher. In her free time, Emily loves to explore Western North Carolina, try out new coffee shops, and write fiction and nonfiction alike.

Clay Johnson, Writer and Photographer

Clay is an award-winning documentary producer and writer as well as a contributing producer for PBS NC’s “North Carolina Weekend” show. He also produces educational videos and writes magazine and newspaper articles. Johnson and his wife Debra moved to Tryon in June 2021 and enjoy exploring the outdoors. He can be reached at cj@

Claire Sachse, Writer and Photographer

Once the editor of the Tryon Daily Bulletin, Claire Sachse now manages several freelance side-hustles in the public relations and publishing arena. She’s also working on writing a mystery novel in which an editor solves crimes in a fictional (maybe) mountain railroad town. Raised by a painter and a diplomat, she considers herself immensely lucky to have a home full of weird and wonderful art, and a passport full of stamps.

Storme Smith, Writer and Photographer

Storme Smith is a writer who lives in the Foothills of North Carolina. He is the co-founder and publisher of Buno Books, and has a passion for the arts. He also enjoys writing about the history, sports and unique people and places of our area.

Pebbles, Writer

Pebbles is the “spokespony” for HERD, or Helping Equines Regain Dignity, a local nonprofit that saves equines from dire conditions and in many cases slaughter. She dictates her monthly columns about her adventures, and what a rescue organization does, to Heather Freeman. Pebbles and Heather can be reached through

MARCH 2024 5


Heartwood Gallery

The Heart of the Arts in Saluda

(Story on page 22)


As we welcome the arrival of spring this month, we also welcome a few fascinating features on local folks here in the Foothills.

First, we meet with Jan Daugherty, a long-time resident of Saluda whose passion for music has touched many. Jan, a highly acclaimed violist, has performed in Charlotte and Asheville Symphonies and has taught private violin and viola lessons to the youth in this area since she and her husband moved to the area in the late 90s. We visit with Heartwood Gallery owner Shelley DeKay, and get a glimpse into the history of the Saluda staple on Main Street. Shelley focuses on American craft and only American craft, featuring work from studios across the country. Additionally, we learn about the Adventure School in Tryon, run by Mike and Mattie Carruth, a unique educational institution that allows youth to explore the outdoors while building problem-solving skills.

Of course, we also hear from our resident spokespony, Pebbles, as she shares the story of her new pasture-mate, Grace, recently welcomed at HERD.

You’ll find all of this and more in this month’s edition! We hope you enjoy what we’ve put together for you this month, and as I do each month, I encourage readers to reach out and help us share your story. Email me at jeff.allison@tryondailybulletin. com with any thoughts or ideas for upcoming issues. As always, thanks for reading!

March 2024 Life in Our Foothills $4.95 FOOTHILLS life IN OUR
Jeff Allison General Manager The Message of Music The Adventure School Our Amazing Grace Heartwood Gallery The Heart of the Arts in Saluda

General Manager

Jeff Allison

Graphic Design

Caitlin Schlemmer


Kevin Powell

MJ Parsons Distribution

Jamie Lewis

Alex Greene Administration

Sydney Wilkie


Life in Our Foothills is published monthly by Tryon Newsmedia LLC. Life in Our Foothills is a registered trademark. All contents herein are the sole property of Tryon Newsmedia LLC. No part of this periodical may be reproduced without written permission from the publisher. Please address all correspondence (including, but not limited to, letters, story ideas and requests to reprint materials) to Manager, Life in Our Foothills, 16. N. Trade St., Tryon, NC 28782, or email to jeff.allison@ Life in Our Foothills is available free of charge at locations throughout Polk County and Upstate South Carolina, and online at Subscriptions are available for $30 per year by calling 828-859-9151. To advertise, call 828-859-9151.

MARCH 2024 7
8 LIFE IN OUR FOOTHILLS CONTENTS 10 Calendar of Events 12 Foothills Discoveries Campbell’s Covered Bridge 14 The Message of Music Violist Jan Daugherty on Folk Music and Music Education 22 Heartwood Gallery The Heart of the Arts in Saluda 30 The Adventure School Learning Through Adventure 40 Pebbles Our Amazing Grace 14 30
MARCH 2024 9 46 Quick Bites Easy Easter Eats 49 Marketplace 50 Ad Index 30


United Way VITA Tax Prep

March 8, 11am-3pm

Landrum Library

111 Asbury Dr., Landrum 866-892-9211

Paws in Landrum Pet Expo

March 9, 10am-3pm

Landrum Farmers Market

221 W. Rutherford St., Landrum

Opening Reception

All Members Exhibit:

The Story Begins

March 9, 5-7pm

Tryon Painters and Sculptors

78 N. Trade St., Tryon

Film Screening: The Nature Makers

March 12, 7pm

Tryon Theatre

45 S. Trade St., Tryon

Film Screening: Jules et Jim

March 12, 7pm

Tryon Fine Arts Center

34 Melrose Ave., Tryon

Shakespeare & Friends present Julius Caesar

March 14-17 and March 21-24

Landrum Library Speaker Series

What Lies Beneath: Animal skulls in our region and how to identify them

March 19, 6pm

Landrum Library

111 Asbury Dr., Landrum

Friends of Ag Breakfast

March 20, 7am

Green Creek Community Center 25 Shield Dr., Tryon


Annual Tryon Super Saturday
16 45th

MARCH 1-3 & 8-10

The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas

Tryon Fine Arts Center

34 Melrose Ave., Tryon

The cast of Tryon Little Theater’s “The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas” is ready for their March performances.

Glow Easter Egg Hunt & Campfire

March 22, 5:30pm

St. Luke’s Hospital

101 Hospital Dr., Columbus

Hearth & Anvil: An Open-Flame

Evening with John Wilson

March 22, 6pm

Tryon Arts & Crafts School

373 Harmon Field Rd., Tryon

Fairy Festival

March 23, 11am-3pm

Stearns Park

125 E. Mills St., Columbus

Performance: Kings Return

March 23, 7:30pm

Tryon Fine Arts Center

34 Melrose Ave., Tryon

Live@Lanier Distinguished Speaker

Series Presents John Cribb

March 24, 3pm

Tryon Fine Arts Center

34 Melrose Ave., Tryon

Jonathan Scales Fourchestra

March 29, 6:30pm

Mill Spring Agricultural Center Auditorium

156 School Rd., Mill Spring


Gardening For Life Celebration

March 30, 12-5pm

Polk County High School or

MARCH 2024 11



Each month you’ll be introduced to something in our area that’s worth some exploration. Some of these will be familiar, but perhaps you’ve never been or haven’t been in years. And others might be things you have never heard of or thought to visit. All of these will be family-friendly and either free or inexpensive. Get out there!


Campbell’s Covered Bridge was a welcome surprise when I went to check it out recently. The last time I visited, decades ago, I was checking to see how a Landrum Boy Scout was doing on his Eagle Scout project. He was trying to repair years of neglect and cover up a whole lot of graffiti. There might have been parking for possibly three cars.

Today, under the guardianship of the Greenville County Rec Network – the bridge, and the surrounding nearly 19-acre park, have been transformed into a wonderful place to spend an hour or two. The park is open during daylight hours every day of the year.

This is the only remaining covered bridge in the State of South Carolina which once had 20. Constructed between 1909 and 1911, the 38 feet long, 12 feet wide pine structure spans Beaverdam Creek. It was built by Charles Irwin Willis and is named for Alexander Lafayette Campbell who operated a grist mill that operated just downstream from the bridge.


First, walk through and enjoy the bridge and its Howe truss design featuring diagonal timbers and vertical iron rods. There are several picnic tables and benches spaced throughout the park including many that overlook Beaverdam Creek. On hot days, you’ll often find kids playing in the creek. You can explore the foundation of the old grist mill and home site and take a short hike on a nature trail. Several interpretive signs will help you appreciate the park even more.

Dogs are welcome and must be leashed.


171 Campbell’s Covered Bridge Road, Landrum. Your GPS should take you right there. Plenty of parking.

and Photographed by Mark Levin
Kylee Smith and Nathan Rhinehart from Greer chose Campbell’s Covered Bridge as their location to have a birth-announcement video filmed. The baby is due this summer. Beaverdam Creek just invites kids and adults to cool off on a hot summer day.
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Donna DeYoung & Kenny Ross from Blue Ridge visit and enjoy the park often. They can get here by golf cart in just two minutes. Campbell’s Covered Bridge Historical marker Landscaped seating and viewing area overlooking Beaverdam Creek If you have a little time, a visit to Poinsett Bridge is worth the drive.


Violist Jan Daugherty on Folk Music and Music Education

The power of music has coursed through the veins of long-time Saluda resident Jan Daugherty since she was a little girl. Playing in her school’s orchestra at the age of ten, she quickly realized that performance was her

and Photography


Since those early days, Daugherty has become a highly acclaimed violist. After training for years with a noted teacher in her home state of Oklahoma, Daugherty attended Juilliard in New York and studied under

the instruction of famed violist Lillian Fuchs.

For over thirty years after graduating from Juilliard, Daugherty held positions as principal assistant violist in the Charlotte and Asheville Symphonies. She has also taught private violin and

viola lessons to the youth in this area since she and her husband moved to the Foothills in the late 90s. Through the lens of her years of experience in the classical music world, Daugherty shares insight into the rich cultural history of folk music in

western North Carolina and

County’s youth.

Daugherty has taught at the Music Academy of WNC in Hendersonville, North Carolina since 2013, alongside many other reputable musicians in this area. At the academy, she employs the Suzuki teaching method, which involves the building of classical sightreading and technical skills for stringed instrumentalists.

“I love teaching,” says Daugherty. “I keep thinking about retiring, but when I’m in a lesson, it’s so exciting that I wonder how I could ever not want to do this.”

Daugherty finds unparalleled joy in watching students come alive in their playing abilities as her lessons find footing in their minds. She also sees a necessity in musical instruction, especially for children. As opposed to the absorption-based

cognitive learning children do in school, music forces a different cognitive learning process.

“With music or sports, you have to do the physical work, train your muscles and train your coordination,” Daugherty says. “You can’t just know what it is, and that’s a critical thing.”

When students build this muscle memory skill, Daugherty says studies show learning and brain function are enhanced.

“Both parts of the brain work together in musicians to an extent that they don’t in many people,” she says. “When a musician listens to music, they are experiencing the emotional response that everybody does, but they are also analytical at the same time.”

The elevated cognitive performance is something that can be applied to multiple areas of a student’s

life, and Daugherty sees that as valuable to cultivate in her students for their growth as individuals.

Daugherty has not only contributed to the music scene in western North Carolina through teaching students; she also owned a music shop in Saluda for ten years. The space was a place for locals to purchase a new stringed instrument or have one repaired, but the shop was also a refuge for folk musicians in the Foothills. Each Sunday afternoon, Daugherty would host jam sessions for anyone who wanted to join and create folk music by ear.

“At first, I did not know how to do that because I was entirely paper trained,” recalls Daugherty. “I learned really quickly that traditional musicians and classically trained musicians almost cannot communicate because one group plays almost

entirely by ear, and the other one is reliant on reading the notes always. It’s rare that you find somebody who does both.”

Daugherty had to overcome these communicative obstacles, but once she did, she realized, “if you can hum a tune and your fingers know where to go on the instrument generally, then you can play by ear.”

For several years, Daugherty also hosted a weekly fiddle group for Polk County kids so they could learn the folk music culturally tied to the Foothills. Daugherty found it so valuable to have people in the Foothills come to her shop to play folk music because the form of playing has had heritage in Appalachia for hundreds of years.

“It’s something that most everyone in the area can appreciate and participate in if they put in the least

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of music
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amount of effort. It’s just joyful; it’s fun, it’s freeing, it’s not constrictive in the way that some types of music are.”

She particularly loved the community built by the folk jam sessions.

“It’s the social interaction—you get together to jam—there’s no rules, really. You just sit down to play, and everybody’s excited about it, everybody’s participating on all levels. It’s not just really good players; anybody can do it.”

Daugherty carried the mantra of “anybody can do it” with her to the Music Academy of WNC when she began to teach folk music and host folk workshops for her students. She claims she started this at the academy because many students do not know they hold the skills to play by ear. Daugherty believes “all you have to do is give them a little bit of information, and they can Suzuki instruction books


take it and run with it.”

Since Daugherty sold her business in 2008 due to the economic downturn, she has noticed that the musical artists of Polk County, adult and youth alike, have not had a distinct place to meet and collaborate.

“Western North Carolina is steeped in all kinds of music and art,” she says. “The individuals are there, but they need a place to come together and express the art and appreciate each other.”

According to Daugherty, Polk County’s citizens would greatly benefit from the establishment of community orchestras or ensembles that preserve folk music and introduce classical repertoire. An “anchor organization,” as she calls it, is vital for the musical flourishing of a community and meets the performance needs for an area in terms of music for special events or cultural advancement through public


Polk County students would also benefit from the establishment of a youth orchestra because “there has to be a role model for the kids to see,” claims Daugherty. Her fiddle ensemble used to act as that role model for young children when they would perform at local festivals, “but unless you have that draw, there is no reason for kids to know that this is something they want to do.” One of the best role models Daugherty believes the children of Polk County can have is music and the character-building lessons it provides.

“We have in our country a cult of celebrity,” states Daugherty. “People look at people who are famous and admire them, but I think they often assume that person just rolled out of bed that day and was a singer or an instrumentalist. Once you take an instrument and realize what’s involved, then you

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LEFT: Jan’s antique parlor organ RIGHT: Jan playing a folk tune on her viola

know it’s required that you put in a lot of effort to get to that point. So the people that you appreciate are not the ones that just by some stroke of luck have been thrown into the spotlight; they are people who have made the effort and accomplished something, and you can appreciate the accomplishment.”

Daugherty believes putting in effort for the purpose of accomplishment and growth is the most important lesson a student can derive from learning an instrument.

Playing an instrument is a way to tie people to their heritage, equip them with skills and encourage an attitude of hard work and perseverance. Jan Daugherty’s work over the years as a classical performer, folk player and instructor of aspiring musicians is a testament to her devotion to sharing the power of music with the Foothills.

Jan with a student at the Music Academy of WNC
“Both parts of the brain work together in musicians to an extent that they don’t in many people. When a musician listens to music, they are experiencing the emotional response that everybody does, but they are also analytical at the same time.”
Close-up of Jan’s grand piano

Heartwood Gallery

The Heart of the Arts in Saluda

Heartwood is defined as the older wood at the center of a tree that’s more durable than the surrounding sapwood, so it’s fitting that a gallery that’s been the artistic centerpiece of downtown Saluda for nearly four decades bears the

same name.

“I just wanted something that would just become its own meaning and stand the test of time,” says Heartwood Gallery owner Shelley DeKay, who credits her husband Tom with coming up with the gallery’s name.

The DeKays moved to Saluda from Colorado in 1985. Tom was a home builder and Shelley a weaver.

“I wanted to do something that was conducive to a creative life and also raising my family and so I thought I would open a weaving

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Story and Photography by Clay

studio,” says DeKay. “I came downtown and rented a space for a hundred bucks and hung up a sign that said I was a weaver and Heartwood was my weaving studio in the beginning.”

DeKay says at the time Saluda was an up-and-coming arts and crafts community with a blacksmith, potters and woodworker and their studios and galleries. The country was also experiencing a boom in the American craft genre.

“People opening their own businesses, trying to figure out how to make a living and raise their families and have a good life without the corporate stuff, with more of a back to the land, use your hands, stay connected to the community sort of thing,” says DeKay. “There was a nice blend in those decades of people who had been born and raised here and had businesses here for decades

ABOVE: Blown glass by Janet Zug

BELOW: Inside gallery

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BELOW: Handmade clock
John and Jane Schlabaugh

out her looms and in 1989 brought in a business partner named Barbara Seiler.


and then those of us who were coming in and finding empty buildings and making studios, making art, making businesses.”

The year after opening her original gallery DeKay moved around the corner to a space that had opened on Main Street. She made and sold clothing, placements, rugs and hammocks which supported the gallery for about four years until she started bringing in the work of other artists and craftspeople.

“I found a couple of potters I liked and would bring them in and I found a couple of jewelers I liked and would bring them in and so the gallery just sort of took over the weaving business. It had a life of its own and I hung on and followed it,” says DeKay

DeKay ultimately tired of making and selling her own work and decided to just sell the work of others. She took

“She had a great eye and she was a follower of American craft so that’s what she brought to the table,” says DeKay.

For 20 years DeKay and Seiler visited national shows of American craft all over the country looking for work to show back at Heartwood Gallery. In 1990, she bought the building she was in and expanded the gallery to create the space it is today at 21 East Main Street.

“We have focused on American craft and only American craft and the best we can find, handcrafted, across the country and we try to represent all genres, so we have glass, ceramics, fiber, some two-dimensional work,” says DeKay in describing Heartwood Gallery today. “We have a lot of metal in the garden art department now that’s sort have gotten

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Inside view of Heartwood Gallery

big and all levels of jewelry.”

DeKay says the work is created by American studio artists all over the country, many working out of their homes.

“They wholesale to me so they can stay home and be part of their community, raise their kids and make whatever it is they make,” she says. “The things that people are making with their hands, there’s a real connection there. It’s genuine and it’s good. It’s a good life.”

Some of the most enduring and popular artwork the gallery has carried over the years include

bronze candlesticks made by California artist Gregg Hessel, sand cast bronze bells by Maine’s Richard Fisher of US Bells, blown glass from Vermont’s Janet Zug, artistic tiles from Michigan’s brother and sister team at Motawi Tile Works and handmade wooden clocks from Iowa’s John and Jane Schlabaugh, who incorporate Motawi tiles into some of their clocks.

Traveling to national shows has mostly given way to virtual shows where DeKay and gallery manager Meghan Krenek go online to shop for works to display in the gallery.

Bronze bell by Richard Fisher

ABOVE: Tiles by Motawi Tileworks

“There are still a few wholesale shows, but they are drying up in favor of the virtual markets. COVID pushed that,” says DeKay.

She misses attending shows and being able to see artists and their families who over the decades have become friends, but she loves the personal relationships she has developed with her customers.

“We’ve been able to build a nice customer base, from the locals who live here, from the people who just have summer homes and come up a few times a year to people who might be on the way to somewhere else and know to stop,” says DeKay, who relishes being a part of the community’s rich history. “I’ve been on Main Street in Saluda for a long time now, but I think I would still not be considered an old-timer around here.”

BELOW: Bronze candlesticks by Gregg Hessel

The Adventure School

Learning Through Adventure

ducation is not just about textbooks and classrooms. It is about exploring the world, asking questions and finding answers. The Adventure School in Tryon, run by Mike and Mattie Carruth, is a unique educational institution that takes this philosophy to the next level.

Founded 25 years ago

the Adventure School is a place where children can embark on a journey of discovery and adventure. The school’s philosophy is simple: let the child lead the curriculum, and the adults are there to supervise and guide.

The Adventure School is a family endeavor, with Mike and his daughter Mattie

running the school with a shared passion for outdoor adventures, question-asking and problem-solving.

The Adventure School describes itself as “a source for uncovering strength, joy, and connection through shared experiences in the backyard, the wilderness, and the world.” Since its inception, numerous

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children have come through its doors, where most of their time is spent outside learning about nature and, most importantly, having fun while learning.

Mike Carruth’s expertise in organizing outdoor corporate team-building retreats inspired his wife, Marianne, to suggest that he turn his skills into something closer to home for children. Soon after, the Adventure School was born on their property off Highway 176. Over the years, the Adventure School has become an institution that has impacted and inspired many students.

The Adventure School’s programs cater to children of all ages. The Wild Child program is for potty-trained children aged 3 to 6, taking place twice a year in the fall and spring. The program helps children learn to develop healthy relationships


through guided, unstructured playtime.

The Adventure Youth Group program is held in the spring for 8 to 12-year-olds and is the program that started it all. Mattie herself took part in the Youth Group and now leads it with her father. The program has been around long enough that many of the past attendees have now sent their children. The Youth Group is a co-ed, outdoor recreation and leadership-focused program where students participate in various outdoor activities.

Adventure Saturdays happen once each month and are for kids aged 5 to 12. This program takes place on the campus, a beautifully landscaped area complete with creeks and a shallow pond designed so that if a child falls in, they can easily walk out. In the outdoors, everything can provide a learning experience

MARCH 2024 33 54 McFarland Drive Hwy. 108 Tryon, NC 28782 (828) 859-9341

for the students. The students learn through games, boating, creek exploration, fire building and camping skills.

The Adventure School also hosts numerous summer camps. Wild Weeks for ages 5 to 12 are intentionally unstructured day camps.

Kin Ye, a term passed down through the Appalachians to describe a deep connection between friends, is for ages 8 to 12, where campers build friendships through shared adventures. The Counselorin-Training program for ages 12 and up helps campers develop leadership skills, often becoming counselors after being campers. Multiadventure camps for ages 12 to 15 allow young teens to get a taste for multiple types of outdoor adventuring. They engage in basic outdoor living skills and participate in outdoor activities such as hiking, paddling, biking, rafting and climbing. And the Teen Backpacking Expedition

is for ages 14 and up, where teens spend five days and four nights camping in the wilderness.

Mattie, after spending time teaching fourth graders in Seattle, has returned home to the area where she is using her Wilderness Leadership & Experiential Education degree to work with her father and the children handling a lot of the day-to-day management of the school. Even when she was living on the other coast, she was helping run the school returning in the summers. It’s also important to note they are both Wilderness First Responders and one of their helpers, who came through the school, is a local paramedic.

“I was a 4th-grade teacher in Seattle, and one of my favorite parts of teaching is letting kids work through stuff and being there to support them,” says Mattie. “With our preschool programs, it’s really fun to


see the kids figuring stuff out in a safe environment where we are there to answer their questions.”

Mike explained that a program named Outward Bound helped to inspire his founding of the Adventure School

“There wasn’t anything in my educational background that got me into this,” says Mike. “Through Outward Bound, I realized that programs of those types have for getting people to open to new possibilities. Once I went to Outward Bound, I realized there were a lot of opportunities to learn and grow through high-challenge adventures. And I wanted to do that, and I had to piece it together myself because there wasn’t a program like the one Mattie attended available at the time.

“The best compliment I ever got was from a 12-yearold girl who came with her

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cousin from Spartanburg. When she got home, her Mom asked her how it was, and the little girl said, ‘It was so not organized.’ Our goal is for the kids to do what they want to do and not what we prescribe for them to do, and if it takes more staff to accomplish that, we bring in more help.”

The Adventure School’s programs are not just about having fun; they are designed to help children develop essential life skills and values. The school’s philosophy is centered around the belief that children learn best by doing, and the Adventure School provides a safe and nurturing environment for children to learn through experience.

In addition to their regular programs, the Adventure School also provides custom programs for adventurers of all ages. The

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staff at the Adventure School work closely RIGHT: Mike Carruth (left) and Mattie Carruth
“Our goal is for the kids to do what they want to do and not what we prescribe for them to do, and if it takes more staff to accomplish that, we bring in more help.”
MARCH 2024 37

with each group to develop a program that meets their specific needs and goals.

The Adventure School’s impact can be seen in the lives of the children who have attended its programs. Students have even pursued careers, inspired by their experiences at the Adventure School. The school’s philosophy of learning through adventure has even benefited the families of its students, who have learned to appreciate the value of outdoor education and the importance of letting children lead their own learning.

The Adventure School is a unique educational experience that has proven to positively impact the lives of children and families in and out of the Foothills area. It is a community of adventurers who are passionate about exploring the world and discovering all it has to offer.

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Grace. This one little word conveys gratitude and importance. As a noun, Grace is a short blessing before a meal, a title of address for a duke or duchess, and a reprieve. It is also approval or favor, as to stay

in one’s good graces. Grace is unmerited divine assistance, as well as a charming trait. The verb Grace means to adorn, embellish, and confer dignity. All these impactful meanings are conveyed in only five letters. I should know. I am the

epitome of grace.

Last spring, our rescue team, Helping Equines Regain Dignity (HERD) saved a lovely small gray quarter horse. Her benefactor took one look at her and named her Grace. The young mare’s

Your dream. Our mission.

If you are a resident of Polk County or Rutherford County, your tuition could be free with the Powers Promise!

expressive, kind eyes kept a protective watch over her newborn foal, Mia. The two were a beautiful pair and arrived with a slightly larger gray mare, Calypso, and her colt, Sloan. It was clear to all of us that the mares were tightly bonded. The only thing we knew about them at this point was that they came from the same farm. Their previous owner had taken the pair of gray mares to a livestock auction when they were heavy with foals. Both babies were born in the auction holding facilities. How utterly stressful for these mares. The blessing is that they were kept together in a small pen away from other horses in the sale. All four equines were healthy and of reasonable weight.

The mares with their foals were transported to us in a four-horse trailer that was set up with two box stalls. This way the foals could rest and sleep in deep shavings for

most of the long trip. The mares had plenty of hay and water for the cross-country journey from Oklahoma. Calypso and Sloan were unloaded first into their new pasture. Grace and Mia were given the field just across the alleyway. At first, Calypso called out for Grace and paced the fence line in panic. Grace called back consistently. It was clear to us these two had not been separated from one another in a long time.

Six months zoomed by with the mares and foals making wonderful progress. Mia and Sloan learned to lead, trailer load, and stand nicely for the vet and the farrier. Grace started her groundwork training as Mia was weaned. Mia moved into a neighboring pasture with two-year-old filly, Bambi. HERD was contacted by an equestrian in South Carolina, Shelby Dobbins, about fostering Grace and

Handsome HERD colt, Sloan, sired by DOC OLENA MATE.
MARCH 2024 43
Grace in the HERD playground, tarps are a breeze.

continuing her training to find her a good home. Our mare was welcomed at Three Nails Ranch in Gaffney. Shelby has consistently shared updated photos and videos of Grace’s progress under saddle. Their partnership is going so well that Shelby wants to adopt Grace from HERD.

Grace entered our rescue with a negative Coggins test, which revealed the previous owner’s identification. Shelby went to work researching what she could find out about Grace’s past. She was able to speak on the phone with the horse trader who took Grace and Calypso to auction. He had bought them from a larger ranch in Oklahoma, owned by a husband and wife. The spouses were splitting up and 50 horses had to be removed quickly. They sold the horses with registration papers, only if they could find them easily. In the case of our mares with foals, the papers did not

convey to us with the horses.

The horse trader was informative and helpful to Shelby. He hunted through his files and sent her a screenshot of one set of quarter horse papers. They most likely are a match for our Calypso as they are for a teenage mare and Grace is only five years old. One key fact is that out of all the mares he bought from the Oklahoma dispersal sale, only two were gray. So, the papers had to match one of our mares. He also shared a copy of the papers of the stallion that sired Mia and Sloan.

The stud was a gray quarter horse, DOC OLENA MATE. His lineage was exceptional, connecting back to SMART LITTLE LENA and POCO POCO DOC. He was owned by the rancher who also sold all the mares. The stallion was purchased in the spring by someone other than the horse trader who bought our mares. A few

Bill McClelland with Grace’s foal, Mia.

months later in July 2023, DOC ended up at the Bowie Texas Livestock auction as a consignment horse.

His advertisement at the catalog sale stated that this AQHA 2008 gray stud, DOC, was a 14-year-old stallion. He produced several great roping horses and has been on one ranch his whole life. DOC was ridden until age 4 and then was turned out for 10 years to pasture breed mares. After buying him, the new owner rode him, and he gave them no trouble. DOC never bucked, and was well-mannered, 100 percent sound. They guaranteed he would produce well-minded colts.

Shelby contacted the AQHA records and found that this stallion was now deceased. He fetched only $900, meat weight pricing, at the Bowie sale. The lot owner bought him. We surmise he was shipped to slaughter in Mexico. This was shockingly

horrible to discover. Unfortunately, it happens far too often for middle-aged stallions and broodmares alike.

Our beautiful Mia and Sloan are a testament to DOC’s exceptional mind and athletic build. What a crying shame this happened to him. This is why it is so important to commit to a horse one loves to be their forever home.

Luckily for the two gray mares and their beautiful offspring, fate dealt them a kinder hand. We are optimistic for them to have safe, happy equine careers. Calypso will stay here with us as a solid-minded babysitter. She is exceptional at tending to young newcomers and is pasture-sound but not suitable for riding. Both Mia and Sloan are top quality with lovely conformation. Our amazing Grace, well she too is one special horse. Just ask me or her new foster trainer, Shelby Dobbins.

MARCH 2024 45
Grace accepts empty feed bags for desensitizing training.




Even if Easter hosting duties fell on your plate this year and added one more thing to your holiday to-do list, that doesn’t mean it has to be difficult. After all, Easter is a time meant for fun and fellowship with the food just one part of the



•1 roast (3 pounds)

•1 bag (1 pound) baby carrots

•1 bag (1 1/2 pounds) trio potatoes or potato of choice

•3 cups beef broth

•1 can (10 ounces) cream of mushroom soup


Building the menu around simple, one-pan dishes can keep the focus where it needs to be: spending time and creating memories with family and friends. These dishes call for short lists of ingredients,

•1 tablespoon garlic pepper

•3 tablespoons brown sugar

•1 onion, roughly chopped

•1 bundle asparagus



•garlic powder


•Preheat oven to 350 F.

many of which you may already have in your pantry, and simple preparation to create a full spread perfect for sharing with loved ones. Plus, using only one pan makes cleanup a breeze, so you can get back to the festivities quickly.

•Sprinkle salt, pepper and garlic powder over roast and rub into front, back and sides.

•Place seasoned roast in middle of large roasting pan.

•Place carrots on one side of roasting pan and potatoes on other side.

•In large bowl, mix beef broth and cream of mushroom soup with garlic pep-

per. Pour mixture over roast, potatoes and carrots.

•Sprinkle brown sugar over carrots and add chopped onion.

•Cover and cook 2 1/2 hours then remove from oven, add asparagus and cook uncovered 30 minutes.

•Serve from pan or place on platter for more formal presentation.



Yield: 18 rolls


•2 packages yeast

•1/2 cup sugar

•2 cups lukewarm water

•6-7 cups all-purpose flour, divided

•2 teaspoons salt

•2 eggs

•1 stick softened butter

•oil, divided


•In large bowl, dissolve yeast and sugar in lukewarm water.

•When yeast is foamy, add 3 cups flour. Mix in salt, eggs and butter.

•Once mixed well, add remaining flour 1 cup at a time and knead dough into ball in

bowl. Remove dough from bowl and place on clean surface.

•Wash and dry bowl then grease with drizzle of oil. Place dough in bowl and let rise 1 hour or store in refrigerator if making in advance.

•When ready to use, grease muffin pan with oil.

•Roll dough into hand-size balls and place in each muffin hole; cover 1 hour.

•Heat oven to 350 F. Bake rolls 30 minutes.

Note: Dough can be made in advance and stored in refrigerator up to six days. If making ahead, punch down dough, cover and place in refrigerator. Punch down daily until ready to use.

MARCH 2024 47


Yield: 1 cake


•1 can blueberry pie filling

•1 box yellow cake mix

•1 bag (4 ounces) chopped pecans

•1 stick butter, melted

•1/4 cup oil

•whipped cream, for serving (optional)

•vanilla ice cream, for serving (optional)


•Preheat oven to 350 F.

•Spread pie filling on bottom of 9-by-11-inch pan.

•Sprinkle cake mix and pecans on top. Do not mix.

•Drizzle melted butter and oil on top of cake mix and pecans. Do not mix.

•Lift pan and tilt from side to side until cake mix is completely covered in butter.

•Bake 1 hour until golden brown and bubbly.

•Serve with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream, if desired.

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Foothills Magazine
MARCH 2024 49
50 LIFE IN OUR FOOTHILLS ADVERTISER INDEX 516 S. Trade St., Tryon • 828-859-2466 • A bawdy-but-wholesome crowd-pleaser that skewers pretension, celebrates life and touches the heartstrings. This raucous, hilarious musical comedy took Broadway by storm and continues to enthrall audiences worldwide. “Utterly charming, lively and genial.” – New York Daily News M a k i n g S c e n e s S i n c e 1 9 4 8 March 1-3 & 8-10, 2024 at Tryon Fine Arts Center Tickets: or 828-859-2466 Carolina Storage Solutions 43 Carruth Furniture 32 Cason Builders 32 Clover Acupuncture 25 Congregational Church of Tryon 50 Dr. Jonathan Lowry 9 Farm Bureau 29 Foothills Movement 25 Habitat for Humanity 21 Highland Design & Construction 20 Isothermal Community College 42 JB Trees 37 McFarland Funeral Home 33 New View Realty 4 Penny Insurance 19 Polk County Transportation 34 Prince Gas Company 28 Red Bell Run 39 Rosecrest 36 Rutherford Regional Health 27 SG Power & Equipment 44 Southern Pet 7 St. Luke’s Hospital 3 St. Luke’s Foundation 38 Stone Setting and Design 26 Strauss Attorneys 45 Tryon Builders 18 Tryon Estates 48 Tryon Fine Arts Center 52 Tryon International Equestrian Center 35 Tryon Little Theater 50 Tryon Painters & Sculptors 7 Tryon Presbyterian Church 16 White Oak Village 17 Wild Petunias 2
KINGS RETURN R&B entwined with jazz, gospel and touches of pop Saturday, March 23, 2024 • 7:30 pm for more info & online ticket purchase signature series sponsors 34 Melrose Avenue, Tryon NC 28782 828-859-8322 tr 2023-2024 Signature Series Live Creative

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