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Boone is Bursting with Summer Fun

Sky Valley ZiplineLocated in the North Carolina High Country, at 3,333 feet, Boone, North Carolina offers a cool summer retreat (summer highs average 75 degrees) while the rest of the South is sweltering during the dog days of summer.

Named after Daniel Boone, the legendary hunter who maintained a hunting camp in the area, several attractions in the area play homage to the famous explorer. Boone is also home to Appalachian State University, giving the town a college ambiance along with the cultural and community education activities that come with a large university. The University’s An Appalachian Summer Festival brings a six-week concert series, featuring such national acts as Lyle Lovett, The Band Perry and Mary Chapin Carpenter.

This article was published in the June/July/August 2013 edition of Foothills Spotlight Magazine and the June 2013 edition of the Simpsonville Sentinel

 

 

Jane Bell, Helping Redefine Main Street Rutherfordton

spotlightwomen_900-295x195When Jane Bell left her hometown of Highpoint, North Carolina, she thought she would never live in a small town again after experiencing the big city life in Charleston and Charlotte. But fourteen years ago, Jane and her husband Alex decided to give up the big city and return to Alex’s hometown of Rutherfordton, North Carolina.

So they packed up and moved into Alex’s great grandfather’s house, an old family homestead that was built in 1888 and is in Rutherfordton’s downtown historical area. Today, Jane finds small town life comforting and says “Rutherfordton is a very warm, friendly town.”

This article was published in the April/May 2013 edition of Foothills Spotlight Magazine. Jane Bell Foothills Spotlight

 

North Carolina Wine Country

McRitchie Winery in Yadkin Valley of North Carolina

McRitchie Winery in Yadkin Valley of North Carolina

While Napa Valley in California may seem to get all of the attention, the Yadkin Valley in North Carolina is steadily gaining accolades thanks to a robust Viticulture program at the Surry County Community College and the fact that they are churning out some mighty fine tasting wines.

Southern wines haven’t had a good following until recently. Most weren’t that good and were mostly made from Muscadine grapes. But the 36 plus wineries in the Yadkin Valley are producing great-tasting, award-winning wines from a surprisingly large variety of grapes and being eco-friendly in the process.

The Viticulture program at the Surry County Community College sets the stage and is the entry point for many winemakers in the area. The program began in 2004 and has had about 25 graduates in the past five years, most who have gone on to run their own vineyard in the area.  There’s a bonded winery and vineyard on campus and program participants learn the grittiness of the job, including getting up at 4 a.m. to check the grapes and the never-ending process of growing, bottling and marketing their products.

Here’s a look at some of the Yadkin Valley Wineries and what makes them unique.

This article was published in the January 2013 edition of TravelWorld Magazine. For the full article, click here.

 

Warm Up in One of America’s Prettiest Winter Towns

Winterfest in Blowing Rock, North Carolina

Winterfest in Blowing Rock, North Carolina

Nestled high in the North Carolina Mountains is the quaint village of Blowing Rock. Pretty any time of the year, winter – when the town is blanketed in white fluffy snow – is the best time to visit. Travel and Leisure agrees, having named Blowing Rock one of “America’s Prettiest Winter Towns” in their December issue. At 4,000 feet with some of the best mountain views in the state, Blowing Rock embraces winter activities, with skiing nearby, outdoor adventures, shopping and an annual Winterfest event.

This article was published January 2013 at Deep South Magazine.

The Mysterious Brown Mountain Lights

Mysterious lights have been appearing at Brown Mountain in the Linville Gorge area of North Carolina for hundreds of years. According to Cherokee legend, around 1200 A.D. a great battle was fought between the Cherokee and Catawba Indians at Brown Mo

untain and the mysterious lights are from the Indian maidens still searching for their men who died in battle.

This article appeared in the October 2012 edition of Carolina Country Magazine.  It was also published in the November issue of Dashboards and Saddlebags Magazine.

Brown Mountain Lights Carolina Country

Yadkin Valley Wineries North Carolina

While Napa Valley in California may seem to get all of the attention, the Yadkin Valley in North Carolina is steadily gaining accolades thanks to a robust Viticulture program at the Surry County Community College and the fact that they are churning out some mighty fine tasting wines.

This article was published September 2012 at See the South and in The Simpsonville Sentinel.

To read the print article, use the links below.

Yadkin Valley_Page 1

Yadkin Valley_Page 2

Brown Mountain Lights

My article on the Brown Mountain Lights in Morganton, North Carolina for the May 2012 edition of Blue Ridge Country.

Brown Mountain Lights_Blue Ridge Country

Brown Mountain Lights_Blue Ridge Country_Page2

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Follow the Hunger Games in North Carolina

The bottom of Triple Falls at DuPont State Recreational Forest is a great place to channel the spirit of Katniss Everdeen, heroine of “The Hunger Games.” The film adaptation of the Suzanne Collins novel was filmed at the forest and other sites in North Carolina. Bill Russ — VisitNC.com

Suzanne Collins’ best-selling trilogy, The Hunger Games, hit the big screen on March 23rd.  The young adult novels are set in a post-apocalyptic world where the citizens of Panem (what used to be North America) live in twelve different districts.  Read more…

This article will appear in the March 2012 edition of the Simpsonville Sentinel and online at See the South.

To read the print version of this article, please use the links below.

Hunger Games Page One

Hunger Games_Page Two

 

Head to Beech Mountain Resort for Winter Fun

I have to admit that I had always thought Beech Mountain was just a ski resort, so I was pleasantly surprised on a recent visit to find a whole little town at the top of the mountain. Dubbed “Eastern America’s Highest Town”, Beech Mountain sits at an elevation of 5506 feet and offers amazing views of neighboring states. Once you get up the mountain, you never really have to leave. Restaurants’ offer fare ranging from pizza and beer at Brick Oven Pizzeria, to fine dining at Jackalopes, and Fred’s Mercantile has a little something of everything, serving as the town’s deli, grocery, hardware, and clothing store.

This article was published in print in the January 2012 edition of the Simpsonville Sentinel and online at See the South.

To read the print version, please use the links below.

Beech Mountain Page One

Beech Mountain_Page Two

Fun Fall Festivals in the South

Fall is a great time of the year. The air begins to cool down and turn crisp.  The leaves begin to change to vibrant shades of rust, orange and red. But the very best things about this time of year are the fabulous fall festivals going on in our area. From the quirky Woolly Worm Festival in Banner Elk, NC to the prestigious Euphoria event taking place right here in the Upstate, there’s an event for everyone.  So get out and enjoying the fresh air and celebrate all of the fun fall festivals that the South has to offer!

This article was published September 2011. To read the complete article, click on one of these links; See the South or Simpsonville Sentinel.

 

Spend the Holidays at the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC

Since 1895, when George Vanderbilt and his wife Edith invited family, friends and estate employees into the home’s banquet hall for an annual Christmas party, Christmas has been a special time at the Biltmore Estate.

Inspiration abounds while visiting the Biltmore during the holidays. There are 52 Christmas trees inside the house, with a fresh-cut Fraser fir in the Banquet Hall, ranging from 4 to 35 feet tall.  There are another 45 more decorated throughout the estate.  Add in the 150,000 lights, 5000 feet of white pine and Fraser fir garland, 450 wreaths, hundreds of ornaments and 1200 poinsettias and you’re sure to find some ideas to use in your own home.

This article was published December 2010 in The Simpsonville Sentinel and online at See the South.

 

Woolly Worm Festival in Blowing Rock

http://north-carolina-travel.suite101.com/article.cfm/woolly-worm-festival-in-banner-elk-north-carolina

Polar Plunge in Blowing Rock, NC

Polar plunges happen all over the world and Blowing Rock, NC is no exception. Brave people will take the plunge during the annual Winterfest celebration, January 28th-31st, 2010.  Recently named the “prettiest small town in North Carolina” (as rated by a group of Journalists in December 2009), this is one of my favorite mountain towns.

Check out the video from last year’s polar plunge:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YnB1jLplct0

Grandfather Mountain

Article on Grandfather Mountain

http://north-carolina-travel.suite101.com/article.cfm/take_a_trip_to_grandfather_mountain

My Visit to Blowing Rock, NC

My five minutes of fame!

Blowing Rock Tattler