C e l o , L i t t l e S w i t z e r l a n d a n d t h e B l u e R i d g e P a r k w a y Celo has been delighting visitors for many years, not only with its scenic beauty but also with its unique community. We have included the story of the community with this Tour Guide because it is such an impressive part of our history. Waterfalls Just before you get to the Parkway on Hwy 80, you will pass a sign on Hwy 80 on the right that says Black Mountain Campground. There are two waterfalls you can hike to, both short easy walks if you want a refreshing break. Turn at the Campground sign and look for the first sign to Roaring Fork Falls which will be your first left. The second waterfall, Setrock Creek Falls, is in the campground itself which can be tricky to find. It will be a right turn to the campground on up the road past Roaring Fork Falls. We have put directions on most of the pages to help you find the blocks and plan your trip. You can find Little Switzerland on the Blue Ridge Parkway between Highway 80 and Highway 226. Turn left (North) if you enter the Parkway from Hwy 80, turn right (South) if you enter the Parkway from Hwy 226. In hunting for the Drunkard’s Path block you may encounter the old Emerald Mine off Crabtree Rd. This is an impressive series of holes in the ground that you will want to investigate. NOTE: While we try hard to keep the maps and Tour Guides updated, blocks are going up all the time and the maps and guides may not always be up-to-date. If you spot a block not on the map, take a picture if you can and email it to us so we can update the map and guide both for the next printing and for the internet. (In other words - become one of our volunteers!!) This trail overlaps both the Arbuckle and Spruce Pine trails. Make sure you start with a full tank of gas. Bridle Path Hwy 19 Snail Trail OOAK Gallery Quilt Trails Gift Shop e Appalachian Therapeutic Riding Lower Browns Creek Rd. Over and Under 234 Buddha Lane Made from bottle caps y8 Hw 0S Fishskillet 2266 Chestnut Mt. Rd. Grindstaff Rd. Apple Tree Drunkard’s Trail Linda Sharpless Pottery Studio 1280 Chestnut Mtn. Rd. Streams and Mountains The Cove at Celo Mountain off Hickory Springs Rd. Harvest Sun Firefly Farm 534 Grindstaff Rd. Grandmother’s Dream 210 Tanglewood Hollow The Dragonfly Mountain Farm Copperhead Bend Lane off Hall’s Chapel Rd. Trip Around the World 268 Sully Lane off Grindstaff Rd. Fireman’s Blanket Little Switzerland Fire Dept. Chestnut Grove Church Rd. Orchard at Altapass on Blue Ridge Parkway Painted Trillium Painted Trillium Gallery, Little Switzerland The Melon Patch Seven Mile Ridge Rd. North Carolina Bearpaw Little Switzerland Post Office Dream Ship Little Switzerland Bookstore North Carolina Lily Clay’s Compromise McWhirter Pottery Studio Hwy 80S 230 Grindstaff Rd. Butterfly Bush Sarah House Pottery Studio 315 Coventry Lane off Hwy 80S Glass Quilt 717 Upper Brown’s Creek Rd. Books and Coffee Cups Little Switzerland Bookstore Lily Toe River Crafts Hwy 80S Slave Chain Becky Gray Pottery Studio Hannah Branch Rd. • The Painted Trillium Gallery in Little Switzerland(Painted Trillium) is open during spring, summer and fall. • Discover Roaring Fork Falls and Setrock Creek Falls (Turn at sign to Black Mtn. Campground off Hwy 80 for both. First left takes you to Roaring Fork, Setrock Creek is at the campground - both are easy walks...less than a mile. (Roaring Fork is a level walk.) • The Orchard at Altapass sells apples and has a big gift shop and weekend activities (head North on the Blue Ridge Parkway). • Head South on the Blue Ridge Parkway and visit Mt. Mitchell State Park. Mt. Mitchell is in Yancey County and is the highest peak East of the Mississippi. There is a restaurant and a gift shop in the park. These blocks may take some hunting to find. • There is an old Emerald Mine you may want to investigate with HUGE cave entrances off Crabtree Creek Rd. • Horses are the attraction at Appalachian Therapeutic Riding Center (Lower Browns Creek Rd.) (Bridle Path) • Firefly Farm (Harvest Sun) sells organic produce (Grindstaff Rd.). • Mountain Farm (Dragonfly) sells lavender and goat cheese and soap and has goats (Copperhead Bend). • Sarah House (Butterfly Bush) makes and sells pottery (Coventry Lane off Hwy 80). • Linda Sharpless (Drunkard’s Trail) makes and sells pottery (Chestnut Mtn Rd). • Becky Gray (Slave Chain) works in her studio but does not sell from there. You can find her work at the Toe River Gallery nearby on Hwy. 80 (where the Lily block is). • Susan Hayden(Over and Under) makes art from recycled trash (Buddha Lane). • McWhirter Pottery (Clay’s Compromise) makes and sells pottery (Hwy 80). CELO, LITTLE SWITZERLAND AND BLUE RIDGE PARKWAY Estimated driving time: 3.5 hours Pick up 80S off Hwy 19e East of Burnsvile, or pick up Hwy 80S off the Blue Ridge Parkway THE HISTORY OF CELO COMMUNITY by Ernest Morgan Celo (pronounced see-low) Community has been an active part of Yancey County for the past 58 years. Probably the oldest and most successful land trust in America, Celo Community was founded by Arthur E. Morgan in 1937. Arthur Morgan was the world's leading flood control engineer, former President of Antioch College, first chairman of the TVA, and author of twenty books on a variety of subjects. One of his major concerns was community--he held that it was in the face-toface relationships of the small community that the best qualities of human society emerged, including the basis for healthy civilization. In 1937, he was approached by Henry Regnery, a wealthy textile manufacturer in Chicago, who asked him for advice on something socially useful he might do with some of his money. Never lacking in ideas, Arthur suggested that a tract of land be purchased as a site for an “intentional community”--a community in which people come together with the intention of cultivating community values. The location should be in an area with a good climate, congenial people, at least sone fertile soil, and should not be too far removed from urban centers. After an extended search, he purchased a tract of 1200 acres in the South Toe Valley. Nine hundred acres of this, on the east side of the South Toe River, was from the Erwin tract and purchased at $20 an acre. The remainder was on the west side of the River and purchased from the Autrey family. Celo Community was launched as a not-for-profit corporation with a board of directors composed of Arthur Morgan, Henry Regnery, and Clarence Pickett, Executive Secretary of the American Friends Service Committee (Quakers). For the first few years there was rapid after a few years it developed good self government and converted itself into a land trust. A land trust is a form of land tenure designed to avoid the abuses often associated with private land ownership, such as damage to the environment, excessive rental charges, and speculation. In the case of Celo Community the corporation holds title to the land, and members purchase “holdins” which carry most of the privileges of outright ownership but avoid land abuse and profiteering. A distinctive feature of Celo Community is a phenomenon characterized by Arthur Morgan as “human uranium”. He said that a cubic yard of granite contains enough uranium to blow up a mountain, but the particles are inert because they are separated. If they are brought together in what is known as a "critical mass" they can have great power. Thus with people, if persons with common ideals and social concerns come together, energy is created for cooperative projects of all kinds. There have been many such undertakings initiated by members of Celo Community and joined by others in the valley. An early project was the Celo Health Center, which opened in 1948 with Dr. Elpenor Ohle, a recent graduate of Harvard Medical School. Dr. Ohle retired after thirty years, to be succeeded by Dr. Steven Hill, Dr. Judy McGahey, and most recently, Dr. Woody McKay and Dr. Dorothy Bobbe. The Health Center serves many people throughout Yancey County and stresses the concept that doctors should not only treat their patients, but also educate them to take greater responsibility for their own health. Probably because of the nearness of Penland School of Crafts, some of whose students and teachers settled in Celo, a number of craftsmen have joined the community. As a result, the largest single economic activity in Celo Community is the work of craftsmen such as potters, glass blowers, etc. To help merchandise their products they got together and opened a cooperative shop on Route 80 where their items are displayed (Toe River Crafts). A majority of the craftsmen taking part in this activity are from outside the community. Likewise there are several Quaker families in the community and these families formed a Friends Meeting, most of whose attenders are from other parts of Yancey County. A group of Celo Community people launched a cooperative food store which has been highly successful. Eighty percent of the members of the food cooperative are from outside the community. “Cabin Fever University,” launched by Celo Community members, operates through the winter months and is a schedule of events through which people share their knowledge and skills and carry on special group activities without any money changing hands--except $1 for the catalog. Much of its activity and leadership comes from outside Celo Community. The support of the community has helped members to start a number of enterprises. Camp Celo, a Farm-Home Camp for boys and girls ages 7-10 began in 1948 under the leadership of Community members Doug and Ruby Moody. Bob and Dot Barrus succeeded them as owners of the camp, which is now run by their son and daughter-in-law Gib and Annie Barrus, and their daughter Barbara Perrin. Called a “Farm-Home” camp, its campers care for a variety of small animals as well as engage in a full camp program of activities. Camp leadership stresses cooperation rather than competition among the campers. Another successful project, launched in 1962, was the Arthur Morgan School, initiated by Arthur Morgan's daugter-in-law, Elizabeth Morgan. It serves about 24 junior high school students, both boarding and day, and stresses the concepts of cooperation, mutual responsibility, and sharing of work and responsibility. Camp Celo and the Arthur Morgan School have been racially integrated since their opening, which may have contributed to the fact that Yancey County public schools were among the first in the South to be integrated, and without violence or serious conflict. The Celo Inn, a charming bed-andbreakfast inn on the South Toe River, also provides an intimate setting for occasional musical and theatrical performances. It was begun by community members Charles and Suzannah Jones and is now carried on by Nancy and Randy Raskin. Under the wing of Celo Community and the Celo Friends Meeting, the Rural Southern Voice for Peace (RSVP) was initiated in 1981 by Herb and Marnie Walters. RSVP provides training and a networking journal Voices for grassroots efforts for justice, peace, and environmental protection in rural areas of the southeast. RSVP is well-known for initiating the “Listening Project” which has helped build bridges between diverse groups in many communities. Celo Community people also take an active part in organizations originating elsewhere, such as Music in the Mountains, the Toe River Arts Council, Hospice, Western North Carolina Alliance, Adopt-a-Highway, and Meals on Wheels. At the present time, Celo Community includes some 34 family units, and accepts two new trial member families each year. It has become widely known and receives much correspondence. At the present time it has a waiting list of some 20 families hoping to become members. The community considers itself fortunate in being located in Yancey County, and undertakes to carry its full share of civic responsibilities. Snail Trail Location: One of A Kind Gallery, Micaville Loop, Micaville. Painted by Jane Greene and Miriam Savard. Story by Telia Tollison The minute you drive up to One of a Kind Gallery, you realize you have come upon a magical spot. There is a dragon standing guard at the front door, and when you open that door, you are confronted by a mélange of history and traditional arts and crafts. There are handmade quilts, jewelry, pottery, pictures, sculpture, and even some handmade furniture. There are serious pieces of art and the whimsical—found art from obsolete items, such as a clock made from old watch faces. The art gallery has a long and colorful history. It began as the commissary for Horace Clay Company, a big mining company at Double Island. Workers were paid in script, which they used at the company store. When the company closed its local operations in 1940, it either sold or gave the store to its manager, Clarence Robinson; no one is quite clear about the transaction. Soon, J.L. Robinson bought the store and turned it into the hub of the community. Although the old store no longer carries “everything that people might need,” it still has its original chestnut shelving (created in the days before wormy was associated with the wood), oak floors and walls, and the same tin ceiling and fixtures that the Horace Clay Company installed. Eddie Robinson, J.L.'s nephew, pointed to a support pole behind a counter with a band about head height. “Do you know what that band's for?” he asked Rhonda Boone, J.L.'s granddaughter. When she shook her head no, he explained there was a hook on either side of the band from which they hung huge bunches of bananas for sale. He pointed to a beautiful glass and oak case filled with handmade jewelry. At one time, that case held ladies' unmentionables, he informed us. At J.L. Robinson's General Store, a customer could buy just about anything. If someone asked for an item Lee didn't have, he'd have it by Thursday when the supply truck came. There were hay bailing wire, horseshoes and horseshoe nails, dress shoes, hats, and women's dresses. They carried baby bottle nipples, which stretched across the top of any bottle. Eddie Robinson saw many a baby nipple stretched across Coca Cola bottles. There were ten items at cost, including sugar, flour, and snuff. Lee made a penny per pack of cigarettes, forty cents a pound on dry goods, and twenty cents plus cost on food. You could buy dynamite caps at the back of the first floor and feed for livestock. Eddie and Rhonda met to swap stories about the general store for this narrative. Eddie worked there for many years, and Rhonda and her sisters worked at the store part time while they were in school. Rhonda remembered the sweet smell of feed in the feed room that Robinson added in the mid-40's and having to go into the spooky basement to use the restroom. Both Eddie and Rhonda recall being pinched in the soft under part of the arm when they did something wrong. Eddie laughed that anytime he saw J.L. and someone tiptoeing toward the front door, he knew that his uncle was “helping” a person leave by pinching the tender underarm. Eddie probably knows as much about the store and its history as anyone. He surprised Rhonda by informing her that there was a powder magazine in the basement where her grandfather stored dynamite for sale. He then pointed to an area of ceiling where there was no patterned tin. “That's where your granddaddy took down a wall. People used to not go behind the counter. The customer told a clerk what he wanted, and the clerk would find it. I came in one day, and Uncle Lee had a saw out to cut a counter in two.” He also had many stories about the hard times in Yancey County. He said people really struggled, but they managed to pay their bills to Mr. Robinson; he would let customers get what they needed on credit. He told Eddie, “If the people paid their bills quickly, encourage them to take anything they want. If they are slow to pay, let them take what they want, but don't encourage them.” As times grew better, many adults whose parents shopped at Robinson's told the family, “My people would have starved if it hadn't been for your granddaddy.” Customers who were unable to make it to the store had their groceries delivered. Both Eddie and Rhonda remember driving up single-lane dirt roads to take groceries. J. L. Robinson was an original and a character in the true sense of the word. He only had a 3rd grade education, but he could do math in his head like a calculator. “You couldn't fool Uncle Lee.” Eddie laughs about three teenagers who broke into the store to steal shoes. They put the new ones on and their old shoes in the boxes. One joker said he'd sure like to see 'ole' Lee's face when he saw the old shoes. A voice behind them growled, “Well, turn around then.” There stood J.L. with his hand on the pistol he always carried. J.L. could have turned them over to the law, but he didn't, and the man who tells the story said he never stole again. The store kept 3 barrels of oil for sale: kerosene, motor oil, and floor oil. Lee insisted his own floors be oiled almost every night. Eddie thinks to this day that Lee knew when the younger Robinson wanted to leave early to go courting because that's when Eddie had to swab the floors. Before the elder Robinson closed the store each night, he'd walk outside and look both ways on the road. If he saw car lights, he would wait to close. More likely than not, those lights meant a customer. He generally opened up at 5:00 a.m. and closed when people stopped coming, somewhere between 7:30 and 9:00. Eddie recalls getting out of high school (now Micaville Elementary School) at first bell so that he could be ready to dip ice cream when everyone else got out. When the feldspar mill was in operation, J.L. would come get Eddie out of school to cash tickets. Drivers would take a truckload of 'spar, generally around 2240 pounds, to the mill and get a ticket for their load. Truckers would then bring their tickets to the store to cash them. At the end of the week, the elder Robinson would turn in the tickets to the mill for reimbursement and a tidy profit. At one point in time the store carried fresh meat and ground its own sausage. They also made fresh sandwiches that were very popular when the Taylor Togs Plant down the road was in operation. Rhonda remembers fighting with her sisters about whose turn it was to work for granddaddy. Those sandwiches were delicious, and there would be long lines of workers waiting for lunch. He was a hard taskmaster, as his granddaughter recalled. He was always on the lookout for ways to make money. One time a friend offered Robinson a filling station and the acreage behind it. Robinson had the cash in his pocket to pay for it, but decided he wanted to keep the cash to pay for stock. Soon afterwards, the acreage sold for a quarter of a million dollars. Robinson swore that he'd never turn down the opportunity to buy property again. Because he did business with everyone around, he had accumulated a lot of land by his death. Later, his son ran the store until it closed in the 1980's, but he “never could do it right.” J.L. liked to go to the store everyday, even after retirement. From his young days, he kept the keys to the store in his back pocket behind his wallet. One time he went home, bathed and changed clothes, then returned to the store. His son was looking for the keys to close up, but J.L. had left them home in his old pants. He knew perfectly well where the keys were, but slyly urged Eddie to “let them hunt for them.” A story that Eddie seemed particularly proud to recall happened about 1953 when they were rewiring the school. A company from Asheville won the contract and had some 'colored fellas' working for them. These guys kept peeping in the front door, until one of them finally got the courage to ask Uncle Lee if he would mind fixing them some sandwiches and bringing them to the feed door so they buy them. Uncle Lee said, “No. This is my store. If you want a sandwich, you come right on in just like everybody else. And if you don't behave, I'll do you just like everybody else and take you across the road.” A story that both Rhonda and Eddie were a part of involved another local character, Fred, who had a drinking problem. He would come to the store drunk, which J.L. didn't like. J.L. said, “Look here, Fred. You can't come into the store drunk;” then he'd make Eddie or Rhonda take him home. The only problem was that Fred took the back way and usually beat them back to the store. Now, while J.L. Robinson was running his store, his wife Hettie loved to be outside. She had a huge garden up the side of the mountain so remote that the only way to access it was by walking. Sometimes, Rhonda would go with her to help, but Rhonda said her grandmother could out-work her granddaughter any day. Hettie would much rather be using a hoe or shovel than doing housework. When she wasn't outside gardening, she was inside canning. When the store closed, it underwent several incarnations, but the property remains in the hands of the Robinson family, a memorial to their grandfather. Currently, it is leased by Estela Shackelford, Kari Weaver, and Lynda Gayle Banner, who have established the OOAK (One of a Kind) Art Gallery. When they decided that they wanted to add a quilt square to the exterior, they contacted Rhonda and her sister, Belinda Woody. After much discussion, everyone concluded that the perfect square would be a variation of the very first quilt block erected, Snail’s Trail with its one curving trail. J.L. Robinson's General Store has led many lives and thus deserved many trails, so the block has four trails that intersect. Come, sit on the front porch and imagine the world of the past, then go inside and see what artists are doing to honor their heritage. Donna Sue Groves started the Quilt Trail movement in Adams County, Ohio with the block she put on her barn to honor her mother, Maxine. This is a picture of that block (Snail’s Trail) on her barn. The Snail’s Trail block we put on the OOAK Gallery was painted to match this original block. While they were at it, they put up 20 other blocks, thus starting the Quilt Trail phenomenon that has swept the country. Quilt Trails can now be found in 30 states and Canada. Grandmother’s Dream Location: 210 Tanglewood Hollow. Drafted and Painted by Deborah Palmer. Installed by Rolf Holmquist. Rolf Holmquist is a Swedish born artist currently living and working in his log cabin home and studio located just above the cabin where this block can be seen. He chose this block, which was a gift from Katherine Hancock, to honor his grandmother, and the colors are the colors of the flag of Sweden. His passion for capturing the aged structures and rustic landmarks of his beloved Appalachian mountain home can be observed in many of his works. His unique birdhouses and feeders are built of architectural recycled materials and then painted and adorned with many objects, including curious plates, spindles and hardware. Rolf says, “In order to create my structures from authentic rural materials, I dismantled an old, dilapidated barn that was beyond restoration. I start with this weathered barn wood or old building materials to make my birdhouses and feeders, and then add paint and interesting found objects. Each is built with a specific bird in mind and are fully functional with an easy clean-out door.” Fascinated by nature all his life, birdhouses are just the latest in a long line of artistic endeavors. Rolf graduated from Newark School of Fine and Industrial Arts. His architectural structures have been published in many Lark books from Sterling Publication, including Beastly Abodes, The Ultimate Birdhouse Book, Ecology Crafts for Kids, The Ultimate Mailbox Book, Dog Crafts, The Ultimate Clock Book, Salvage Style for the Garden and Decorating Porches and Decks. Rolf has won over 100 awards from major Art and Invitational Shows and his work is included in over 30 corporate collections. Locally, Rolf’s work can be found at New Morning Gallery in Asheville, The Design Gallery in Burnsville, the Toe River Arts Council Galleries in Burnsville and Spruce Pine, Black Bear Trading Company in Burnsville, Crabtree Creek Art and Floral Gallery in Micaville and the Toe River Craft Gallery in Celo. Rolf’s wife, Diane, is a quilter. Streams and Mountains Location: The Cove at Celo Mountain off Hickory Springs Rd. Designed by Barbara Webster, Painted by Cheryl Hughes, Dot Dantzler and Carolyn Bareford. Installed by Mountain Lifestyle Communities’ team. Story by Mountain Lifestyle Communities It is worth the hunt to find this block because of the beautiful and unique gate that marks the entrance to the community. The Cove at Celo Mountain IS streams and mountains. Ayles Creek serves as the southern boundary of our community and is the primary headwaters stream in the vast watershed cradling The Cove at Celo Mountain. Many other springs and streams flow through the property as they reach toward the South Toe River which runs only a few miles east of The Cove at Celo Mountain. The sounds of water bubbling from underground springs, trickling over rocks and bounding over boulders is nature’s background music forever playing throughout our community. Celo Mountain, referred to locally as The Knob, rises to 6237 feet, and is the northern anchor of the Black Mountain Range. Celo casts its long shadow across our community as the sun drops behind its peak each day. Spilling down the east face of Celo is Joe Young Ridge and Little Mount Celo, both of which form our southern viewscape. The Jump Off, Bowlen’s Pyramid and Blue Rock Knob all radiate north of Celo, completing the amphitheatre constructed over eons in which our community has a center orchestra seat. Native Americans waded these steams and scaled these mountains. The earliest settlers built cabins along the streambanks and in the shelter of the mountain’s rock outcroppings. Their descendants have used these sterams to water their crops and have long benefitted from the almost limitless bounty of these mountains. Streams and Mountains—God’s gift for us to enjoy, nurture and protect. We pledge to hold true to all that is good in this beautiful place. Butterfly Bush Location: 315 Coventry Lane off Hwy 80. Drafted by Barbara Webster, painted by Sarah House, installed by Kevin Freeman. Story by Maryallen Estes Sarah House makes her living as a potter. When Sarah responded to the question, “What was your main interest as a child?” she stated: “My mom and I always rode horses. I was riding a horse before I was born! My mother got her first horse when she was three months pregnant with me. I was always a good student---loved to read but didn't like being told what to read.” She stated she got interested in pottery at age thirteen when she tagged along with her parents to Wild Acres Retreat where she “just hung out mostly” and did a “few lumpy pots.” This is the first block you will encounter if you have started from Hwy 19 and turned onto 80S. Look for Coventry Lane on your left as you enter the curvy road after passing the straight flat part where the big meadows are on the right and the boxwoods and storage buildings are on the left. She attended Warren Wilson College where each student had a job. Her job was studio assistant in the pottery studio. She advised that she had to relearn everything about pottery. However, her main training was at Haywood Community College where she received her Associate Degree in professional crafts. The courses were all inclusive and included marketing, design, photography, business, kiln building, and studio setups. Her father was the manager at Wild Acres Retreat. Her mother began making tiles in 1993 the same time Sarah became interested in pottery. In 2000, Sarah and her husband, Kevin, moved from Asheville to Little Switzerland. That was the first time she had her own garden. There, she planted five or six butterfly bushes----everyone a different color. Therefore, ever since, she's had a love affair with butterfly bushes. She doesn't use images in her pottery. She says of her pottery “it's all about colors”. One of her pleasant distractions is her handsome year old son, Kalen. When searching for a quilt design to adorn her studio, Sarah chose the butterfly bush because not only did she favor it, but there were no quilt designs to depict pottery. She actually painted the design at home and stated it was a lot of fun. At present Sarah divides her time between Kalen and the pots. Visit Sarah’s website at www.skhpottery.com. Clay’s Compromise Location: McWhirter Pottery, Highway 80 south Drafted by Barbara Webster, Painted by Carolyn Bareford, installed by Willow Johnson and Wade Whitson Story by Barbara McKinney McWhirter Pottery is right on Hwy 80 on the right just past the fire department on the left. Jim and Kore McWhirter came to live in the Celo Community of Yancey County in 1961. They began McWhirter Pottery, the county's oldest pottery, in 1963; then in 1970, close to South Toe Elementary School, they bought land from a Mr. Shufford, approximately 6.5 acres, on which they built their home. (Jim and John Peterson built the house.) Pete, Jim and Kore's son, his wife Kim Peterson McWhirter, and their sons Michael and Christopher now live on the home place where Pete and Kim have continued the family tradition of making pottery. Pete's signature marking on much of his pottery is a white and yellow dogwood flower taken from his father's drawings, and he continues to create his versions of the "critters" or little animals his mother was famous for incorporating into her pottery pieces. Obviously, family continuity and heritage are important to the McWhirters, so getting involved with the Quilt Trails project and choosing a personal quilt square design appealed to Pete and Kim. "I'm excited about being part of the project," Pete said, "because it is a heritage based thing." Their star square, titled "Clay's Compromise," is a blending of nature's colors: the red of the clay body, the basis for the McWhirters' pottery, with "forest green, sky blue, and a muted yellow tan," according to Pete, "so representative of the lovely area where we live. We chose the name because we have to compromise with the medium we use to get the results we want." The quilt square hangs on the pottery studio begun by Pete's parents decades ago and where second generation potters Pete and Kim continue to do their renowned work. In a Colby Martin piece for the 30 July 2008 Yancey Common Times Journal, Pete remarked, "'I love the creative facet of pottery [--t]hat you can start with nothing and make a useful piece of artwork.'" In our 4 October 2008 interview, Pete explained, "I am so fortunate to have a work that I enjoy and will love doing until I die, as did my parents. People call me an 'artist,' but I consider myself a heritage craftsman." The McWhirter Studio is certainly representative of fine talent, of the creative spirit, and the tradition of passing these gifts from one generation to the next. Glass Quilt Location: Levin Glass Studio, 717 Upper Browns Creek Rd, off Hwy 80S. Designed by Wanda Levin, Drafted by Barbara Webster, painted by Carolyn Bareford, installed by Rob Levin. From Micaville, go 4.2 miles down 80S. Turn right onto Upper Browns Creek Road. Go 7/10 mile, look for Levin Glass Studio sign on left, and turn left into driveway. The studio is a brown wood building set back from the road amidst pine trees. Rob Levin is one of many talented artists who have chosen to settle in the Yancey County area. Rob specializes in glassblowing and mixed-media sculpture. Rob has taught workshops all around the country, in New Zealand and in Ireland. His work is in many public and private collections, including the Corning Museum of Glass, the Museum of American Glass, the Mint Museum in Charlotte, the High Museum in Atlanta, the Museum of Arts & Design in New York, and glass museums in Spain, Germany and Denmark. He has received a Southern Arts Federation/NEA Visual Arts Fellowship and several North Carolina Arts Council Fellowships. Rob and his wife, Wanda, a photographer and Montessori teacher, moved to North Carolina in 1975, when Rob was invited to teach glassblowing at Penland School. The following year, Rob was given an Artist-in-Residence position at the school, and their twin daughters, Molly & Hannah, were born in 1978. In 1979, Rob & Wanda bought & renovated their home on Upper Browns Creek Rd., and in 1980 built the glass studio and moved in. Their property is at the base of Mt. Celo, part of the Black Mountain chain that also includes Mt. Mitchell. In 2000, Rob added on to the studio, expanding to include a gallery, a photo room, and more work space. Included in the wall of the studio is a stained glass window that Wanda created from glass that Rob had made. He blew the glass into flat sheets and Wanda designed the window and cut out the pieces. The colors are lavenders, oranges, and clear. An unusual aspect of Rob's glass is that he makes most of the colors he uses in his work. The Quilt Block is taken from the colors and pattern of the window and is hung on the outside wall of the studio facing the road. Rob loves the process of working with hot glass. He sums up his approach to working: “I was originally attracted to hot glass because of its liquid qualities and sense of immediacy. I have always tried to capture the elegance, fluidity, and whimsy which I feel are inherent properties of glass. I have often formulated my own glass, including the colors I use. The glass itself can be a symbol of human characteristics: fragile, but durable; fluid, but hardedged. My work, whether more sculptural or functional in intent, has maintained a certain continuity in terms of style. The approaches I use are eclectic and personal at the same time -- sort of a blend of Late Venetian and Early Neurotic.” Rob is not only a talented visual artist, but also plays guitar in the popular local group, Hot Duck Soup, as well as with Bandana Klezmer. Visit Rob's website at www.robertlevin.com. North Carolina Lily Location: 230 Grindstaff Rd. Drafted and Painted by Carolyn Bareford, Installed by Keith Beam. Story by Colby Martin and Teaky Tollison Dr. Fergus and Ruth Mandl Pope chose the North Carolina Lily for their quilt pattern in honor of Mrs. Pope's mother, Madam Lili Krause, the famous Hungarian pianist. Madam Krause was a musical prodigy who taught piano at the Budapest Academy of Music when she was only eight years old and continued a full and varied career in music all of her life. One could argue that her talent saved both her life and those of her family. After Krause's marriage to Otto Mandl, they moved to Northern Italy because Professor Mandl thought they would be safe from Hitler in the Italian Alps. Soon, they were approached by the Italian government and urged to declare themselves German. By this time, her talent was so well known that she and her husband could negotiate with other countries for asylum from Europe; they were particularly attracted to New Zealand. On their way, the family stopped in Java for 19 concerts, but they ended up staying for 79. During this time, the Japanese invaded the island, and Krause's family was torn apart. Lili Krause was put into an underground cell away from her husband and children. When she learned that Mandl was in the same compound, she began singing Hungarian folk songs to let him know that she was alive. Eventually, the children, Ruth (age 12) and Michael, were also imprisoned and didn't know the status of their parents for a whole year. Ruth Mandl Pope recalls that the Japanese “prison camps were like concentration camps. Michael built coffins and I worked on a road gang. We would break down stonewalls with small hammers and heap them up into piles. We lived in small bungalows that would normally be suitable for four people. There were 60 living in each home.” At one point, Ruth and Michael managed a harrowing escape through a sewer pipe. When they finally found the family for whom they were searching, it was dark and raining. Ruth fainted on their doorstep, so the family reluctantly took them in for one night. Michael did not want to return to the camp, but Ruth convinced him they could not survive otherwise. Finally, the whole family was reunited in a family prison camp. One of the Japanese commanders was familiar with Madam Lili Krause, the concert pianist, and asked if there was anything that he could do for her. She requested a piano and her family. She was granted both. The British liberated Java, and the Mandls finally arrived in New Zealand. Madam Krause rebuilt her career. Ruth and Michael attended school and sometimes toured with their parents. Professor Mandl instilled Ruth with a love of literature and theatre. When the Old Vic Theatre School of London came to New Zealand looking for talent, Ruth auditioned and was accepted. In 1947 the whole family returned to Europe. While in London, Ruth met an American, Dr. Fergus Pope, and they were married two years later in 1959. One experience that Mandl and Pope had in common was that he was also a world traveler. Before he met Ruth, he journeyed from London across the Sahara Desert to Johannesburg, South Africa. He wanted to meet Dr. Albert Schweitzer. While there, he helped Dr. Schweitzer build Leper Village. His trip inspired him to become a pediatrician. After six years of training in Great Britain, he and Ruth returned to Albert Schweitzer Hospital for what they thought would be their lifelong career, developing and running a Children's Under-Five Clinic and a physician training program for young Gabonese males. The Gabonese Minister of Education who had helped them find candidates was accused of revolutionary activities, and the Popes were expelled from the country. The Popes moved to the United States where Dr. Pope entered a pediatric residency at the Mayo Clinic. Upon completion, the Popes agreed that they wanted to settle in a part of the United States where there was a need for doctors. A response from Jay Edge of Burnsville led them to their farm on the South Toe River where they built their home and a concert hall for Lili Krause. Madam Krause lived with the Popes from their marriage onward. Since moving to the Burnsville area in 1969, the Popes continued their humanitarian efforts. Fergus Pope was the prime facilitator for several programs initiated by the Appalachian Regional Commission, a federal program to help with public health services. He was instrumental in the birth of the Child Development Project, Comprehensive Maternity Services for Region D, and Health Management Agency for Region D, National Foundation March of Dimes for local counties, and North Carolina Region D Health Maintenance Project. Additionally, Dr. Pope is the founder-director of the first two rural primary care clinics in North Carolina in the health departments of Yancey and Mitchell Counties. Mrs. Pope stared the first Montessori school in Yancey County and is co-founder of the Music in the Mountains program. She still teaches yoga classes at the Blue Ridge Fitness Center and Celo Health Center. The Popes officially retired in 1998, but they now direct their energies toward the protection of Celo Farm. The bottom fields are organically farmed, and upstream, the area is home to beavers, otters, and a pair of blue heron. Dr. Pope pointed out, “Animals, nature, and man live in harmony on Celo Farm, and that echoes Dr. Schweitzer's Ethic of 'Reverence of Life.'” The North Carolina Lily quilt pattern forms a perfect punctuation mark for an amazing family and their life's journey. Bridle Path Location: Appalachian Therapeutic Riding, Lower Brown’s Creek Rd. Lower Brown’s Creek will be your first left after you pass Poplar Grove store on Hwy 80S. Brown’s Creek Baptist Church is on the corner and Upper Brown’s Creek is directly opposite on Hwy 80. Follow Lower Brown’s Creek until you see the sign for ATRC on the left and turn left onto Riding Rd. - a gravel road, and follow it up the mountain to the barns and fields. There is a gate across the road so you may need to call ahead to make sure you can get through. The number to call is 828-675-5630. The Appalachian Therapeutic Riding Center provides therapeutic horseback riding for persons with physical, cognitive, and/or emotional disabilities in a safe, structured environment. It was started in 1986 when Lisa Mauney (pronounced Mooney) and Sally McCoy were talking about it over a church supper at Burnsville’s First Baptist Church. Lisa had horses and wanted to use them for community service but wasn’t sure how to go about it. Sally had experience working in a program in England that provided services like ATRC now supplies. That conversation helped launch Appalachian Therapeutic Riding Center. They got a pilot grant from blue Ridge Mental Health and started the program in Lisa’s backyard in Celo in 1986. That was the same year they became a non-profit 501(c)(3) corporation. ATRC is located on fifteen acres of land bought with Janerve grant money in the beautiful South Toe River Valley just outside of Burnsville, North Carolina. That same grant helped them build their first building. The program is currently funded by grants, donations, fees, and the Yancey County United Fund. In 1992 they built their indoor riding arena and since then another addition to the arena and a barn have been built. All property, buildings and animals belong to the center, not to individuals. In 2006, ATRC became a premier accredited operating center by North American Riding for the Handicapped Association or NARHA. ATRC has two instructors fully certified by the North American Riding for the Handicapped Association. In addition, physical, occupational, and speech therapists are often involved, either hands on in the program or as consultants. Volunteers round out the staffing. They currently have six horses, some donated, some purchased. Lisa and Miika Rollet help the horses adapt to balls being thrown, wheelchairs and walkers. Lisa says the benefits for their clients include improved posture, balance, mobility, flexibility, and muscle strength. It increases confidence, self-esteem, attention span, concentration and improves communication and speech development. Lisa said “this program could not exist without the help of many dedicated volunteers who lead horses, side walk with riders, clean barns, and feed horses.” They are closed in the winter but when they are open (February - November) they have sessions 5 days a week. There is a gate across the road so if you want to see the block, it will help to call ahead to make sure the gate is open: 828-675-5630. Visit their website at www.atrcriding.com or email them: [email protected] Over and Under Location: 234 Buddha Lane. Created by Susan Hayden out of bottle caps. Installed by Michael Rutkowsky. Susan Hayden’s Story When I first moved to the mountains of North Carolina from New York a local man, Bill Young, asked me “Do you know the difference between a yankee and a damn yankee?” I said no. He said “A yankee goes home.” Ha, Ha, Ha. Well, I guess that makes me a damn yankee Bill because I feel blessed to be here, this is home and it felt like home since the first day I came here over 20 years ago. However, this area is not for everyone and my then husband decided his heart belonged back in New York. I got custody of the dog (Patty) and the Makita drill and I've never ever regretted staying in NC. To get to Buddha Lane....from Micaville take Highway 80 South approx. 4 miles to Lower Browns Creek. (After you see Poplar Grove Gas Station it's the next main left turn and you'll see Brown's Creek Baptist Church on the corner. Upper Brown’s Creek is on the opposite side of the road.) Drive approx. 1½ miles. Lower Brown's Creek turns to a gravel road....at the row of mailboxes. You will make the first right...on Buddha Lane (there is a street sign)...the next opportunity you have to do anything bear to the right...following the pink flamingos to the studio. 234 Buddha Lane. This is an amazing, unique area rich with artists.....some of the best in the country in everything from glass blowing to basket making. Penland School of Crafts (the oldest and largest craft school in the country) is 20 minutes from my home. I've taken classes in everything. Wish I could say I was good at everything I tried but alas, I failed miserably at watercolors, and....well there were other failures I don't need to get into. But I'm hooked on welding, which I learned at the local community college, and love to work with scrap metal and recycled materials. Another favorite class was at John C. Campbell Folk School in Brasstown, NC with Bobby Hansson, author of the Fine Art of the Tin Can. I applied to be Bobby's studio assistant or his 5th wife....whichever came up first. He's creative, an amazing story teller, a very colorful character in every sense of the word and a perfect gentleman. (You'll find out I lie sometimes) Maybe it's at this point I should say how happy I am that things worked out the way they did. If my ex-husband stayed, back in 1994, I wouldn't have had the freedom to build the house of MY dreams. My choices.....of land, of siding in black steel, my design and my choice of art work and landscaping. Would he have let me finish the shower in broken tile or cover cabinets in bottle caps? No! My home is a reflection of me and me alone. Would I have had the freedom to take welding classes and buy a MIG welder and scrap metal which I have all around my studio? I don't think so! Would I be featured on HGTV's Offbeat America if I were still married? Nooo! I've had the opportunity to do whatever I pleased and it's a wonderful thing when it works out. So in a way I say thank you Josh for leaving me and moving back to Long Island and leaving me to flourish and play with all these wonderful creative people in such a beautiful place. You were the best husband I've ever had, no lie. Today I have Stella dog and two zebra finches named Dot and Jim. I have a small home and studio but BIG plans. I just obtained the website showmeyourtool.com to work on and I'm looking for a location that I can work and have an area to display my work and a few friends. A folk art gallery would fit in really well with the galleries we have here. I love the work of self taught artists, outsider artists and anyone who's interested in working with recycled materials. I take the pieces that you throw away or that you sell at a flea market or that you scrap or toss in the garbage and they become my craft supplies. I love folk art and other artists who work with found materials. I buy vintage whirligigs and locally made art. It's everywhere in my home. My ultimate commitment to recycling shows with the house I had built. I collected the doors and windows since 1981 and built in the mountains of North Carolina in 1998 on the South Toe River. Out of some necessity but mostly as a challenge I did the finish work out of broken pottery, broken tiles and glass pieces in the bathroom, shower, mantle and kitchen counter. Cabinets in the kitchen and living room I covered with bottle caps and I have enough caps to cover the entire floor in this 480+ square foot home. (Resale value? yeah I've heard of that but what's it got to do with ART?) A small deck connecting my house to the studio was pressure treated wood from a deck replaced in town and the steel siding on the peak of my studio was recycled from Biltmore Iron and Metal. My work can be seen at my studio in Celo, NC and at the Toe River Arts Council shows and gift shop in Burnsville and Spruce Pine. I do local craft fairs Fearrington Folk Art Show, the Valle Crucis Country Fair, Weaverville Art in Autumn and the Bakersville Creek Walk along with the Toe River Arts Council Studio Tours in June and December. Maybe you'll see my Tool Bench at the Fuller Craft Museum in Brockton, Mass. in a show called Trashformations. I would make what I do even if I never sold another piece ever. I believe that is the true definition of a folk artist. I can buy craft supplies to work with but for me I want the challenge of using what other people throw away. To give trash a new life. Harvest Sun Location: Firefly Farm 534 Grindstaff Rd. Drafted by Barbara Webster, painted by Carolyn Bareford and Cheryl Hughes, installed by Scott Paquin. Story by Elizabeth Gibbs The owners of Firefly Farm, Scott Paquin and Elizabeth Gibbs, have a deep desire to continue the history of farming on this piece of land that adjoins the South Toe River on Grindstaff Road. The land was originally owned by Henry Grindstaff, who developed a family farm in the 1920's. All the buildings date back to Henry's time. Dr. Fergus Pope and his wife Ruth purchased the property in 1968, and raised Christmas trees and cattle. Scott has been farming this parcel since 2003. He originally visited the area in 1985 to attend a class at Penland School. He continues to be a semi-retired woodworker. Scott and Elizabeth met on the farm in 2005 and discovered in each other a great passion for growing, cooking and eating fresh food. Elizabeth realized a desire to farm while managing a farmers market in Durham. The Popes placed this land under conservation easement to protect the beautiful South Toe River that courses through the property. Scott and Elizabeth purchased the farm in 2006 and began market farming together. They chose the Harvest Sun block design, which faces the southwestern sun, since a good harvest is their livelihood. The barn on which the quilt block hangs faces southwest, so the afternoon sun illuminates the block. Fireflies light the summer night on the farm. Firefly Farm sells at three farmers markets, including the Saturday Yancey County Farmers Market, to restaurants and through a Community Supported Agriculture program. You can find out more about what they grow at www.Appalachiangrown.org From Lower Browns Creek Rd., look for Grindstaff Rd. Turn onto Grindstaff and enjoy the ride back to Hwy 80. You will see Harvest Sun on the way. Trip Around the World Location: 268 Sully Lane. Drafted by Deborah Palmer, Painted by Betty and Jim Wells, Installed by Jim Wells. Story by Betty Wells Betty was born in Rome, GA in the NW corner of the state near the foothills of the Appalachians into a family that had lived in that area of Floyd County for several generations. In fact, Betty was the first generation to grow up entirely in the city off the farm. She attended Rome public schools and was graduated from UGA. She returned to Rome to teach several years before moving to FL in 1960. There, after Hurricane Donna devastated the beachside of Daytona in September of the same fall, she met Jim at a hurricane party hosted by mutual friends. They were married in December of 1961. Jim grew up in NE Ohio, one county south of Lake Erie. His family had a small dairy farm and he is well acquainted with barns, having spent many hours there doing all the milking AM and PM. He graduated from Youngstown University, paying his own way with carpentry work in the summers and took his master's degree from Westminster College in PA during summers, after he began teaching in FL in 1957. Look for Sully Lane off Grindstaff Rd. which is off Hwy 80. Both were employed in education; Betty teaching secondary school English in public schools and Jim teaching small business management at Daytona Beach Community College. Together they have 63 years in the classroom. Betty retired in 1984 and Jim in 1998. The summer of their retirement they began their summer home in the Celo area of the South Toe River and have since divided their time equally between Ormond Beach, FL, and Burnsville. Retirement was long anticipated and planned for and has been successful in every way for us. Our oldest connection to Appalachia is the fact that Betty's paternal grandparents lived in Limestone, TN, for many years and her father was born there. Betty has three quilts that Grandmother Carper did entirely by hand, and using original feed sacks for her fabric. Her favorite is the "Trip Around the World" pattern, so that was the logical choice for our quilt block which hangs on our house. Betty has also done quilting, one throw entirely done by hand, two queen-sized ones, a number of other throws and wall hangings, and smaller articles of decor. There is something imminently satisfying about quilting, especially that done by hand. Our history in Yancey County, though brief, goes back to 1978 when we were invited by FL friends vacationing at Little Switzerland to play a new golf course in their area. We had been checking out other WNC areas (Highlands, Boone/Blowing Rock, Waynesville, West Jefferson, etc.) so we decided to do it. We fell in love with the golf course because of its scenic beauty, but principally because it was flat and we were walkers. Every year until we built, we spent the month of July in a rented house at the golf course and came to love the town and its people as well. The first year that the new Town Center was operational, we gave free ballroom dance lessons there for three months. When classes were over, our students gave us a very generous check as thanks. Right away we decided that we would spend it on something typical of mountain heritage and culture. What better thing to do than to have a Quilt Trails block?? This would be a daily and visible reminder of my grandmother's bequest and the wonderful folks of Yancey County who have welcomed us so warmly. The Dragonfly Location: Mountain Farm in Celo on Copperhead Bend off Hall’s Chapel Rd. Drafted by Linda Walker, Painted by Tina Leskovic and Sharon Denning. Installed by Scottie Cole, Country Cablevision. Mountain Farm is a 24-acre lavender, blueberry and dairy goat farm in Celo. Their small herd, hormone and antibiotic free, includes four kinds of goats. Pick-your-own blueberries ripen June and July. Heavenly lavender blooms from June to September, and creates the natural border for the new meditation labyrinth. When visiting their farm you can bottle feed kids in season, hike the trails, picnic at the pond, or sit in a chair in the lavender field and just inhale. They are dedicated to preserving their land as a farm that provides safe, natural and beautiful products, enthusiastically embracing environmental methods to protect the woods, pastures and streams. Turn onto Seven Mile Ridge Rd. off of Hwy 80. Left after crossing the bridge. Then turn left onto Hall’s Chapel Rd. Then look for Copperhead Bend on your left and signs for Mountain Farm. This quilt block is intriguing with its apparent circles. It is made completely from the unit below - all straight lines. Their soaps bear a dragonfly design, and dragonflys dart about their pond during the summer months, hence their choice of The Dragonfly quilt block. Marilyn Cade also teamed up with John Richards of Yummy Mud Puddle to supply us with SOAP with quilt block patterns on it. John made the molds and Marilyn makes the soap. You can buy the soap at Marilyn’s shop on her farm or at the Quilt Trails Gift Shop. Visit their website at www.mountainfarm.net. Call toll free to reserve the Blueberry Cottage: 866-212-2100. Melon Patch Location: 2838 Seven Mile Ridge Rd., Burnsville (Celo area) Drafted by Barbara Webster, painted by Carolyn Bareford. Colors were chosen to match the heirloom wedding quilt. Installed by Bill Krause. By Bill Krause As you meander along the South Toe River up Seven Mile Ridge passing native rhododendrons, hemlocks, wild turkey and an occasional deer, you come to Bill and Carol Krause’s place. There you will find Carol’s art studio where she does acrylic paintings on canvas, hand painted rocks, and charcoal and pastel drawings. Bill dabbles in the arts through photography and watercolor, and pen & ink drawings on canvas. Head up Seven Mile Ridge Rd. and soon you will see this block on the left. Carol and Bill are members of TRAC and the Celo art community. Their works are on display in craft shops and galleries in the surrounding counties. Looking at the quilt block it is easy to see why it is called Melon Patch. Entering a melon patch is like walking into a candy store. There are melons that taste like pineapple, mango, or peach, easy to grow, producing luscious fruit in one season. Those green bowling balls that pass for watermelons or the melons posing as cantaloupes in grocery stores don’t begin to represent the world of melons. Most varieties are not native to North America, but became part of our common heritage when immigrants brought the seeds here, hidden in suitcases or sewn into clothing. These precious possessions spelled breakfast, lunch, or dinner, and the comforts of home in an uncertain New World. Log Cabin Star Location: Seven Mile Ridge Rd. Painted by Jane Greene, Miriam Savard Story by Teleia Tollison Imagine laughing children running in and out of an old log cabin high up on Seven Mile Ridge, and adults from all over sitting on the lawn talking and eating and catching up on the news. If you can see this picture, then you know why Vada Hoilman chose to hang the quilt square, Log Cabin Star, at the old home place. Every summer there is a Ballew family reunion, and Vada wanted a commemorative of the good times that the relatives have had on the family farm. The farm has provided generations of Ballews with all kinds of memories, both happy and sad. Dating back to the pre-Civil War era, the cabin was built by Vada's great grandfather who was killed in the Civil War at Chattanooga. As did so many other young men, he never came home, but was buried in Tennessee. He left a sturdy cabin, which has housed a family of givers. Vada's dad had a huge orchard with apples, cherries, peaches, and plums. He was well known for his wonderful honey. He shared fruit and honey with everybody, never choosing to sell any of it. Vada's mother was a midwife and delivered many a baby in Yancey County, often traveling through the night walking or on horseback. Mary Sante, the mother of the world's greatest banjo player (Raymond Fairchild), was also born there. Another notorious connection to the cabin was Bob Wilson, the first hanging in Yancey County. Out drinking and hunting, Wilson ended up killing a man. Before his death, he gave his little son (who became Vada's aunt's husband) an orange and told him never to drink. Vada remembers the long walk down Seven Mile Ridge to Lonnie Blue's where she'd catch the bus to Micaville High School (now the elementary school). When she was a child, families sent their children to school, went to church, and worked on their farms. They went no place else, but everyone was grateful for what they had. Vada married Sherrill Hoilman in 1953 shortly after he retired from the air force. In 1959 they built their home in Bakersville, where she still resides. Sherrill worked for Mitchell County School System as head of transportation. He kept all the school buses running. “He was a good man,” she quietly remembers. Vada went back to school and studied nursing. Following her mother's footsteps, she assisted Dr. Jack Horner and Dr. Melvin Webb in delivering babies at Williams Clinic (the doctors' clinic in Spruce Pine located where the old town hall was). Maude Branel cooked for overnight patients and would leave leftovers in the refrigerator for the staff. Vada laughed in remembering Dr. Webb or Dr. Horner requesting that she heat up dinner while waiting for a new mother to deliver during the night. Later, she worked at the local hospital. When she retired from there, she worked at Brian Center. In her free time, she used to help her sister quilt. Or as Vada modestly phrases it, her sister did the quilting; she was just the “go-fer.” Together they created over a hundred quilts and gave them all away to family and friends. She has two children, sons who remained in North Carolina. Tony works at Deyton Elementary School and Tommy works at Baxter's. She also has three granddaughters. Tony's daughter, Megan McKinney is a nurse. Tommy also has a daughter, Catrina, who is studying nursing, and his other daughter Courtney is studying missionary work in Lynchburg, Virginia. She has one greatgranddaughter, Addison. Today, Vada is still active in her church. She loves company and enjoys cooking for her sons who stop by frequently for one of Mama's home-cooked meals. Slave Chain Location: Hannah Branch Rd.. Drafted by Barbara Webster, painted by Avril Wilson, Barbara Webster and Deborah Palmer. Installed by Richard Kennedy. Becky Gray’s pottery studio is located on Hannah Branch Rd. in the Celo community. The quilt block, Slave Chain, was chosen by Becky to honor the slave Hannah for whom the road is named. Becky’s studio is a stucco barn located on land that was once a plantation of Col. James McDowell. The stream that flows by the shop, Hannah Branch, is named after Hannah, one of the McDowell slaves. After you’ve found the three blocks up Seven Mile Ridge Rd., come back down and instead of turning right to cross the river, go straight onto a gravel road and look for Hannah Branch. This is the Celo Community compound. After you find this block you might want to go on up the road and find Arthur Morgan School. In 1969, by chance Becky took a course with Tom Suomalainen at Penland. Becky said he does “Amazing, mystical clay sculptures.” Becky said when she saw his sculpture it took her back to her childhood when she was fascinated with archeology, and she would make tombs and elaborate things out of clay as a game. As she got older she forgot about it. Tom’s work took her back to that space, only on an adult level. That was when she realized she could do this thing she loved the most as a child. “It’s never stopped being magical ever since.” Becky met her husband, Richard, a builder and a photographer, when he came to her first gallery opening at the New Morning Gallery in 1975. They got married in 1982 and Becky then moved to Celo. You can see Becky’s interest in the mystical in her sculpture. Her distinctive style is immediately recognizable once you become familiar with her work. While her studio is not open to the public, her work can be seen and purchased at Toe River Crafts on Highway 80, the TRAC Gallerys in Burnsville and Spruce Pine, The Design Gallery in Burnsville, and the New Morning Gallery (in Asheville). Her studio is open for the Studio Tour which the Toe River Arts Council sponsors twice a year. If you go to her studio to see her block, we ask that you not disturb the working artist. If you want to meet her and talk with her, visit her studio during the Studio Tour the first weekend in December or the spring tour in May. Lily Lcoation: Toe River Crafts on Highway 80 in Celo Drafted by Barbara Webster, painted by Dotty Morgan, Bethany and Iris Rountree and Peggy Tibbits. Installed by Randy and Nancy Raskin with Hilary Ragin and Molly Martin. This is one of 6 flower blocks put up to honor the women who founded the libraries in Yancey, Mitchell and Avery counties. This block honors Ms. Dorothy Thomas who organized the Avery/Mitchell/Yancey regional library system and served as the first regional director. The block was made possible by a donation from the members of the Celo community. Follow Seven Mile Ridge Rd. back out to Highway 80 and turn left to continue towards the Blue Ridge Parkway. Just after you pass the Toe River Craft Shop where this block is, be sure to look to the right for a truly in-your-face view of the Black Mountains You will never meet a person who knew Ms. Thomas who won't go on about what a wonderful person she was. She was a significant influence in the literary, academic, and career lives of many, including the current Regional Library Director, Dr. Daniel Barron. However, much of her life remains a mystery. We don't know when this quiet person was born whose favorite season was spring and whose favorite hymn was the Flower Carol which she sang as a member of the Friends congregation in Celo. We know that she was a native of Nova Scotia, educated at Wellesley and Boston University. She was the catalyst to bring Avery, Mitchell, and Yancey Counties together with the Town of Spruce Pine to form the AMY Regional Library in 1961. Her quilt block is a trillium pattern set in four to represent her love of spring and flowers, the three counties she brought together, and the four libraries that serve the people of the Toe River Valley. The world with beauty fills, gold the green enhancing, Flowers make glee among the hills, set the meadows dancing “The Flower Carol” can be found in The Oxford Book of Carols Fishskillet Location: 2266 Chestnut Mt. Rd.. Designed by Martin Webster. Painted by Kathy Rose, Jane Greene, Carole Pearson, Margot Parker and Lana Brennan. Story by Teleia Tollison Inset story told by Jerry Fairchild Sometimes it is easy to see the pattern of one's life. The quilt block of Jerry and Trish Fairchild clearly reflects their pattern from the central theme of fish in a skillet to the trillium in each corner of the square for the Fairchilds' four lovely daughters: Bridgett, Shelly, Somer, and Amber. Jerry and Trish have lived on the family farm off and on since their marriage, and their block celebrates their history and heritage. Jerry remembers: “Murphy Creek is a small stream near where my Grandma and Grandpa lived as far back as I can remember. It has been over 50 years since my grandmother Mary Sant Fairchild took her cane fishing pole in the early morning and walked from the front porch of their old two-room cabin down a winding dirt trail to one of our special fishing holes to catch me a mess of fresh rainbow trout for breakfast. Grandma knew that I liked to have fresh trout, scrambled eggs, and her homemade buttered biscuits during the times I visited her in my spring breaks from grade school down in Burke County in the 1950's and early 1960's. Most of the time she would quietly leave the cabin with pole in hand at the break of dawn, just so she could return to have me waking with the smell of those wonderful aromas coming from the food cooking on the old wood stove. Sometimes, I pause outside our mountain home today, close my eyes, and can still almost hear and smell those fish frying. “The family would all awaken to the sweet smell of breakfast cooking on the old wood stove that my grandma had tended through the night to make sure that the fire didn't go cold. Four trout would just fit into Grandma's iron skillet—one for Grandma, one for Grandpa (Joseph Fairchild), one for my Uncle Raymond Fairchild, and yes, a special one fried crisp, just for me. “Sometimes, when I visited in the winter, I recall actually seeing snow blow through some of the cracks in the old house. Grandpa and Uncle Raymond would cram newspapers in the cracks to keep out the snow and ice. Quilts would be piled so high on the bed at night that it was hard to roll over because they were so heavy. “Back in the 1960's when my grandparents first moved into the home where Trish and I live today, I remember Grandpa grumbling about all the traffic on the gravel lane in front of the house. (It was Seven Mile Ridge Road back then, but now it is Chestnut Mountain Road.) On a busy day, two or three vehicles would pass. In the old house, however, about a mile or so down the river, a car would pass by only on rare occasions. There really were no roads for cars at the old house, only walking trails in and out of the cabin. It still remains that way. “Trish and I have built a small beach in front of our home on the Murphy Creek bank where our grandchildren often come to fish, play, swim, and roast hot dogs and marshmallows over an open campfire. Our grandchildren, who are old enough, love to fish as much as my grandma and I did back in my boyhood days. I sure wish that I had developed her special techniques and skills in catching trout. She could get a fish to bite when no one else could. I would pass the 'wand' to all my grandchildren. Even without my grandmother's magical skills, I often take our grandchildren to the same spots to fish and talk about all the good times I had back then growing up as a boy in these mountains as well as the good times I still have today with my family around. “Currently, the old family house belongs to FUI professor, historian and author Mr. Darden Pyron from south Florida, a neighbor who is not only a gentleman but also a scholar. Trish and I enjoy mountain life in my grandparents' new home, where the quilt square hangs to celebrate at least five generations of Fairchilds.” Jerry has been employed by Fluor Daniels for over 35 years and has had an opportunity to work in more than 20 states. He was recently on assignment in Trinidad, West Indies, for over three years and is currently working in Texas. His next site will be Carabobo, Venezuela. Trish has quite literally been a homemaker, following Jerry around and raising their daughters in numerous countries, including the three glorious years in Trinidad. For 20 of their married years, they “left the lights on” in the home place but talked about selling; then one day, it dawned on them just how much they loved their Murphy Creek home. Now, they wouldn't part with it. Not only do they want to save the homestead for the next generation of Fairchilds (seven grandchildren to date), but Trish also affirms that their land provides a safe haven from an uncertain world with the cleanest air of any place they have ever lived. The spring, which supplies the water for two homes on the property, has never run dry and contains the sweetest tasting water she has ever drunk. Neither Trish nor Jerry ever got over their love of the Blue Ridge Mountains and now consider it their duty to preserve their heritage through the story of their quilt block and the nurturing of the land. The Drunkard’s Trail Block Location: 1280 Chestnut Mountain Rd. Drafted, painted and installed by Linda Sharpless. This amazingly colorful block called Drunkard’s Trail, has to be seen to be fully appreciated. It is installed on a purple barn making it all the more fun to find. Linda Sharpless chose this block for her studio barn because she says that, well..., on weekends everyone drives around her curve and throws out their beer cans and she has to spend every Monday cleaning up. Linda started throwing pots at age 13. Her father, a woodworking teacher, taught industrial arts at a private Quaker boarding and day school and Linda was exposed to gifted teachers. You’re going to have to do some hunting to find this block. One way to find it is off highway 19e. Turn onto Crabtree Rd. and follow it to Chestnut Mtn. Rd. where you will turn right and follow a very curvy road until you see the block. A second way to find it is to take Seven Mile Ridge Rd. up and over the mountain, turning right to stay on Seven Mile Ridge Rd. at the top of the mountain. You will go through at least 2 hairpin curves. At some point it becomes Chestnut Mtn. Rd. At the age of 23, Linda moved here and built her own house on 12 acres in Mitchell County. She has been making her living with her pots since the age of 20. Eighty percent of her sales are wholesale to stores and galleries like Grovewood Gallery in Asheville and the Home of the Perfect Christmas Tree shop in Spruce Pine. You can also find her work at Toe River Crafts, Blue Water in Spruce Pine and Little Switzerland Cafe. Linda is on the TRAC Studio Tour twice a year which will give everyone a chance to see her fabulous quilt block...and of course buy some sensational pots. Fireman’s Blanket Location: Little Switzerland Fire Station, Chestnut Grove Church Rd., Little Switzerland. Designed by Betty Altman, Painted by Caitley Symons, installed by Jeff Phillips and Wade Whitson. In 2002 the greater Little Switzerland community recognized the need for a fire/rescue facility within the community itself. As well, there was a strong desire to contribute something for the benefit of future generations as was the case with those of the past who gave the Church of The Resurrection and Geneva Hall. This fire house was built through the efforts of residents and friends of the Little Switzerland area and was opened in June, 2008, at which time ownership was transferred to Parkway Fire and Rescue, Inc. The ladies of this community wanted to honor their volunteer firemen and their unselfish service, they so generously provide for the protection of the Little Switzerland area. This quilt block represents the gratitude all feel for these men and women. This quilt block will serve as a visible connection between the community and the history and tradition of the mountains. Painted Trillium Designed by Barbara Webster, (based on The Ozark Star, 1935 also known as True America, 1956, both originally published in the Kansas Star.) Drafted by Barbara Webster. Painted by Susan Bolick, Susan Crutchfield, Dot Dantzler, Dot Gibbs, Katherine Hancock, Cheryl Hughes and Zach Skokos. The Trillium Gallery began in June of 1985 with a few pieces of handcrafted pottery and glass on display inside the Switzerland Inn. One of the owners at the time, Joanne Jensen wanted to bring attention to the wealth of talented crafts people in our area. At this time many artists did not have an outlet to display their work or did not have studios that were open to the public very often. Eventually Joanne decided to sell the pieces on display, moved into one of the shops on the property and made it official. The Trillium Gallery was one of the first galleries to open in our area. Look for this block on the back of the building. For many years the gallery carried only works of local artists. With the increase in galleries carrying only local work, Joanne decided to incorporate the works of national artists as well, all handcrafted and made in the USA. What a success this has been! Our customers love to see the work of artists from other regions mixed with local artists work, the best of both worlds. I fell in love with the gallery as a young girl. I began working at the Inn as a waitress and always loved to go over and look at the work of my favorite artist, Rodney Shaw. I actually saved enough money to purchase a piece of his that I still own and enjoy today. After several years away, I began working in the gallery part-time, as I was a full time flight attendant at the time. A few years later Mrs. Jensen decided to retire from the gallery, and opportunity arose. After a crazy life of traveling, settling down here sounded pretty good. Timing is everything and I was fortunate enough to be able to invest in something I have always Since, I became owner the Trillium has a bit more of a contemporary feel but still incorporates the traditional favorites. I love to have a piece that gets a real reaction either positive or negative. That's what makes the gallery so interesting! We invite you to come to Little Switzerland to see our unique collection, have lunch at the Chalet Restaurant and enjoy the view! admired. North Carolina Bear Paw Location: Little Switzerland Post Office Designed by Betty Altman, Drafted and Painted by Betty Altman. Installed by Bill Altman. Story by Jean Law, Little Switzerland Postmistress To visit the quaint village of Little Switzerland you can take highway 226A from 226 at the Parkway Bridge or take the Blue Ridge Parkway. The drive is very scenic either route you take. In a short while you will reach the unique village that has remained the same since it began. The village is made up of the Little Switzerland Inn, a general store, café, book store and the Post Office which originally opened in 1912. Little Switzerland is made up of approximately 1,000 acres. The homes built here are still mainly summer homes for a great variety of people. Much of the land is still wild and undeveloped with a large population of wildlife. People have found a lot of them are bears and have to protect bird feeders, trash cans, small pets and themselves. They see plenty of bear paws around and know the critters are back. About 25 years ago the Postmaster and his assistant, Jean Law, began collecting Teddy Bears. The collection grew and soon the Post Office became a local tourist attraction with the bears being used to display new stamps. Jean came up with new and unique displays to amuse the public. They were featured with an article and pictures in a national Teddy Bear magazine as well as in several local newspapers. The road that turns up in front of the Post Office is called Bear Wallow Road. Because of this history with bears, the Bear Paw Quilt Block was designed from Jean's suggestions and knowledge of the bears, and thus, the Bear Paw Quilt Block now helps people find the Little Switzerland Post Office...the hub of the community. Books and Coffee Cups Dream Ship Books and Coffee Cups designed by Martin Webster, painted by Carolyn Bareford, installed by Rick Gougeon. Dream Ship, a traditional quilt block, painted by Carole Pearson and Karen King, installed by Rick Gougeon. The Little Switzerland Book Store has the current distinction of being the only site on the trails with two quilt blocks. Little Switzerland Book Store was originally opened in 1987 by Dr. Curtis Johnson and was called the Grassy Mountain Bookstore. The café next door was already open and being run by Jake Messner at that time. In 2006 Dr. Johnson sold the bookstore to Thomas Wright who then sold it to Rick Gougeon in June 2010. Books and Coffee Cups Dream Ship When it started it was just two rooms. Now it is about 5000 sq. ft. and occupies three floors. They carry primarily used books, and will happily take YOUR used books and give you a store credit which you can use to buy more books. There is an art gallery in the third floor space which contains all local arts and crafts for sale. There are 17 artists represented in the gallery. All local artists are welcome to participate as long as their art isn't duplicating something already in the gallery. The gallery doesn't charge the artists to be in the space, but does take a 20% commission on all sales. In addition to the art for sale, the bookstore also carries puppets, Christmas ornaments, bookends, book stands and lots of other specialty items. Additionally, there is a coffee shop inside the bookstore, complete with an Espresso machine and regular coffee, pastries, candy, and deli-sandwiches. You can get a cup of coffee and sit in the reading room in big antique leather chairs or on a black velvet couch in front of a cozy fireplace and read as long as you like. It's a wonderful cozy environment perfect for the book lover, or aspiring writer. It is this combination of books and coffee that inspired the Books and Coffee Cups quilt block which adorns the front of the bookstore. But there is ANOTHER quilt block on the side of the building called Dream Ship. And that quilt block speaks to Rick Gougeons' real passion which is making boats. Couture Boatworks can be found in one of the back rooms of the building where Rick builds model boats, wood canoes, kayaks and small wooden sailboats. Rick is from northern Michigan. He moved to Charlotte to manage Coble Dairy. Soon he gravitated into real estate in Charlotte. He got interested in the contracting end of real estate so he took a contracting course to get his license. He then opened a home building business called Craftsman Homes and Realty. He started building vacation homes and second homes in Mitchell, Avery and Yancey Counties, but predominately in Little Switzerland and Spruce Pine. But when he isn't building homes, you will find him at Couture Boatworks building boats. Rick's daughter, Moira Hutchings runs the bookstore. She went to UNCA where she obtained a Bachelors Degree in Biology. Her husband teaches Special Education at Bowman Middle School in Bakersville. The bookstore is open 8-5 7 days a week from April to mid December. Closed January-end of March. (828)765-9070 www.lsbooksandbeans.webs.com The Apple Tree Block Location: The Orchard at Altapass on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Drafted by Barbara Webster, painted by Anita Langan, installed by Rolf Holmquist. Story by Bill Carson The Orchard lies along the crest of the Blue Ridge, the Eastern Continental Divide. The gap on the east side, McKinney Gap, is the lowest passage through the Blue Ridge for a hundred miles. Two rivers, the North Toe to the north and the North Fork of the Catawba to the south lie close beneath McKinney Gap on either side of the Divide. Geography has determined the history of the Orchard. This one is easy to find. Get on the Blue Ridge Parkway heading North and you will eventually come to the Orchard at Altapass. The block is on the gift shop building and you can see it from the Parkway. This is a fun place to stop. Something to delight the whole family. Its early history is speculative. Buffalo and elk established a trail along the Blue Ridge Crest here, followed by pre-history peoples (a recent arrowhead find dates back 9000 yrs), Cherokee Indians and later, European settlers. Bright's Trace followed the game trail through the low gap in the ridge and was the early path for settlement of the land west of the Blue Ridge: the river valleys of the Watauga, Nolachucky, Holstein. The Blue Ridge itself became the Indian Territory boundary, at least for the British authorities. Crossing the Divide was illegal from 1762 onward. Indians were encouraged to attack settlers there, and were paid for scalps. Just as settlers ignored the British line, so did the Indians. Scalps sold to the British could not reveal where they had been taken. Raids across the line were common. The last one occurred in nearby Turkey Cove in 1776. On September 29, 1780, the location that is now the orchard saw the passage of the Overmountain Men, coming from settlements in Indian Territory, across Bright's Trace and the Blue Ridge to defeat the British at King's Mountain and change the course of the Revolutionary War. There is delicious irony in the defeat of the British by militia they had forced into existence for self-defense against the British instigated Indians. Each year reenactors honor the original soldiers by marching along the route. The Orchard has a living history day to mark the passage every September 29. The first person to settle here was Charlie McKinney. In the 1790's he made his home here. He left his mark indelibly: in the course of his 85 years, he collected 4 wives and had 48 children. The wives lived in four separate houses along the trail, and attended church as a family group of five, plus children. He died in 1856 and his unmarked cemetery lies on a beautiful and peaceful spur off the Blue Ridge at the orchard. Thanks to this remarkable patriarch, McKinney is a common name hereabouts. Legends and stories about his circumstances are an important part of the Orchard history. During the rail-building era of the late 1800's, the geography dictated this site would be perfect for a railroad. Although several bankruptcies delayed it, 1908 saw the completion of the Clinchfield Railroad. The last piece was the Clinchfield loops, consisting of 18 tunnels in 13 miles of track and built beside and below the orchard. It was the 'engineering wonder of the 20th When the Blue Ridge Parkway chose its path, it too followed the ancient buffalo track and came through the middle of the Orchard, dividing it in half. That required a condemnation process, a court fight that eventually reached the NC Supreme Court. The momentum for the Orchard was lost, and it began to decline. Neighbors despaired the loss and braced for the expected development of this beautiful place. The wild growth of the trees became sadness for Parkway travelers who had seen it in better times. When it was offered for sale in 1994, Kit Trubey bought the land and her brother Bill Carson with his wife Judy started the preservation of the place, including its apples and its memories. The preservation project is underway today, with hayrides, music, story telling, butterfly tagging, free mountain music on weekends, and a store to sell ice cream, fudge, country products and local crafts. The half of the Orchard that lies above the Blue Ridge Parkway has been sold to the Parkway, to assure its perpetual preservation. The remaining land will be protected by conservation easement. The history of the Orchard continues.
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