Category Archives: Articles about Highlands and Cashiers NC

CWO Gives to Performing Arts

Stevie Hinel from the Cullasaja Women’s Outreach Grant Committee presents Ronnie Spilton, Highlands PAC Youth Theater Artistic Director, with a check for a grant awarded to the PAC Youth Theater Program.  The PAC Board of Directors appreciates the support and commitment the CWO gives to the Highlands Cashiers community.  The PAC Youth Theater Program provides the youth of the area with a comprehensive theater arts education and theater experience.

HUMC’s Red Shirt Brigade

For the past several years, members of the United Methodist Church throughout the world have made a concerted effort to increase the ways that they share their faith. They set out to make a marked difference in their communities through a campaign that is entitled “Change the World-Rethink Church.” Each church has developed unique initiatives designed to have the greatest impact in their local community.

Highlands United Methodist Church members are actively involved throughout the community and in various missions in Bolivia, Bosnia, and Haiti, plus supporting various missionaries, but they wanted to do more. So, on Saturday, November 3rd, they will again don their red shirts and spread into the Highlands Community to say “God loves you and I do too” to all their friends and neighbors here on the Plateau.  Entitled “Impact Day” the project encompasses a multitude of opportunities for church members to interact with their fellow Highlanders.

Local  Chairperson Jayme Christy says, “Each and every day we all help our neighbors, but Impact Day is a single day each year when our Church members join together in a concerted effort to do just a little more.”  “Our first Impact Day was in 2010 and we received such strong positive feedback from the community that we felt super-energized.”

The HUMC Impact Day involves something for members of all ages. Youngsters gather their red wagons filled with homemade cookies to pass out special “Thank You” gifts to Main Street merchants. Teens and young adults may be found bagging groceries and carrying packages to cars for older adults, drying cars when they exit the car wash, picking up litter on Highlands’ streets, and cleaning the yards of shut-ins. The residents of Fidelia Eckerd Living Center and Chestnut Hill Retirement Facility are sure to enjoy a good old-fashioned Hymn Sing courtesy of the members of the HUMC Chancel Choir. Cards and notes of appreciation are always appreciated by our military service members who are serving throughout the globe plus packages of home-baked items really bring a smile when opened by college students who are away at school.

Beth Bowser, HUMC’s Associate Pastor, told me, “Our folks feel so blessed each and every day that we want to share those blessings throughout our community. We hope our efforts will cause others to share their faith in demonstrable ways, making Highlands an even better place than it is today.”

Whether you are a member of Highlands United Methodist Church or not, you can be a part of the HUMC Impact Day.  Call the Church Office at (828) 526-3376 and tell them you want to participate. Then show up on Saturday, November 3rd at 9:00 a.m.  You’ll join a team of members and set out to Impact Highlands.

by Wiley Sloan


Hospice Helping Celebrate 107 Years

Hair soft as dandelion fluff, a sense of humor, contagious laugh, resilience, dedicated sense of service, and 107 years of living:  Put them together and you have Hospice patient Helen King.  Miss Helen, who volunteered at Fidelia Eckerd until age 99, became a resident there in time to celebrate her 100th birthday.  At 105 she entered Hospice, who have helped her celebrate 107 with an equal number of roses and balloons.

Miss Helen does not remember her age when she married George King.  But she does remember living in Pakistan with him where he worked for PanAm.  The couple never had children, but fostered a 9-year-old, brought him to the states, and put him through school.  She nursed “my George” at home for 10 years until he died at 93.  She would even crawl into his hospital bed at night.

Miss Helen always wore a dress and hose and often hats.  “A lady always wears dresses.” She taught Sunday School at Highlands First Baptist for years and attended church well after her 100th birthday.  For many years she did handiwork for school fundraising.  She still receives letters inviting her to high school reunions in her hometown of Trenton, MO.  She laughs and says, “Heavens no!”

Miss Helen attributes her longevity to exercise, oatmeal, chicken tenders, and “eating like a bird.”  Giving hugs has helped her life as well.  “That keeps me going,” she says.  “You’ve just got to do it.”  When asked her age, she responds, “Oh, I guess around 35.”  Steve Mills, Director of Hospice, says, “You look good for 35.” Miss Helen slaps her knee and lets out a long, “Whooooooweee!”

Always spunky, Miss Helen would make it known if she did not like something.  And then laugh some more.  Four Seasons Hospice of WNC is here to make sure things are to her liking.  The Chaplain comes for prayer.  The Medical Director works with her primary care physician. The job of Hospice, says Mills, is “taking care of folks in whatever place they call home.”  Miss Helen looks at him, laughs, and says, “I like you’uns.”

Contributed by Diane McPhail




Scaly Mountain Womens Club

President Karen Muns

The women of the Scaly Mountain Women’s Club met on September 12th at the Kingwood Country Club to install officers for the club’s 25th year. The club had its humble beginnings as an auxiliary of the Franklin Homemaker’s Club. It began with a few members and by the time they broke away from Franklin and began their own Scaly group, in 1987, there were 14 members. The club roster now numbers 90. Three original members are still involved today. They are Jo England, Adele Hopkins and Ruby Shaheen.

The ladies originally got together for fun and fellowship, but soon wanted to do more for the community. Therefore in 1990 they decided to pool their money and offer a scholarship to a local student who wanted to go to college. From that time on the club as well as the number of scholarship recipients has grown exponentially. To fund these scholarships, the club has three major fundraising events annually: An auction in July, a “Chocolate Fantasy” in October, where we sell everything chocolate, and monthly Saturday pancake breakfasts from May until October. We now have 10 scholarship recipients, attending either college or trade school. It is heartwarming to see these students graduate and going on and becoming positive influences in our community and beyond. Since 1990 we have funded $105,000 in scholarships. In addition, we contribute to our own community’s historical society, our Scaly Fire Department, Hospice, Habitat for Humanity, Highlands Food Bank, Fidelia Eckerd Nursing Home, Highlands Literary Council and the Highlands Emergency Fund.

The club’s officers for the year are: President, Karen Muns; Vice Presidents, Sandra Fowler and Susan Bankson; Second Vice President, Lydia Hall; Treasurer, Pat Leaptrot; Secretaries, Kay Fussell and Karla Sidey.

Contributed by Margie Spraggins

Catman 2 Cat Shelter

Hidden in a grassy cove deep in a Blue Ridge valley, lies a secret place any stray cat, or one surrendered by its owner, would be lucky to find.

Known as the “Catman2 Inc., Cats-Only Shelter, Adoption Center and Sanctuary,” this rare facility is the only, animal shelter in Western North Carolina devoted to the sole care of cats.

Its mission statement bars ever sheltering dogs within hearing distance of the cats. It is a place where a cat can relax. During the past 10 years, more than 2,000 cats have enjoyed the security and comfort of this shelter.

The few not lucky enough to be adopted have a safe haven until, through the ravages of age,  no longer enjoy a quality of life worth living then and only then is a cat euthanized with the blessing of our staff and the shelter’s veterinarian.

Today more than 75 cats enjoy the comforts of home as they await that special person that will come to adopt them.

What makes Catman2 unique is that it was not conceived or built by a group of people, but was built by a retired junior college biology professor who didn’t have the wildest idea of having a second career when he left his teaching job after 22 years.

The seed that produced Catman2 had been sown by a chance encounter when this retired teacher volunteered at a local animal shelter.. Most of this time was spent doing odd jobs. But between them he spent time hanging out in the cat adoption area. There he found pleasure in matching cats with people looking to adopt a feline friend and a dream to help cats was born.

After moving to North Carolina, he tried volunteering with local animal shelters only to learn that, at most, they kept only enough cats to satisfy the few cat lovers who donated money on their behalf. Almost all animal shelters had 90 percent dog and 10 percent cat.

When he told people his dream was to build a cat’s only shelter it was suggested he go back to Florida and he was informed that this was dog country and the only cats people wanted here were barn cats. In 2000 he invested a portion of his retirement savings, found a retired building contractor, and two years later opened the 4,000 square-foot building known as The Catman2 Shelter, a shelter without cages, an abode where cats live in a home-like environment with beds to sleep in and spacious indoor covered enclosures.

It is a paradise for cats of all ages and the realization of a dream for Harold Sims, now known as The Catman. For more information about this shelter and its happy cats, visit

Celebrating Hope

Ten years ago, the American Cancer Society launched a mission to have a stronger voice in the fight against cancer.  Ten years ago, the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network was born and now we are the largest, most powerful, most successful movement of volunteers that have moved mountains in our goal to save more lives from the disease that takes so much from so many.

And why are we seen as powerful to our lawmakers across the country?  Because they know Relay For Life events happen in every corner of the country and they know the power of Relayers to fight back is unstoppable.

ACS CAN works to encourage lawmakers and candidates to support laws and policies that will make cancer a top priority. Through ACS CAN, ordinary people can achieve extraordinary results in the fight against cancer. By becoming a member of ACS CAN, volunteers will join a movement with countless other cancer advocates, survivors, and caregivers who are fighting back and demanding that cancer be a national priority for all elected officials.

We have accomplished a lot together over the last 10 years. Together, we passed tobacco taxes to prevent our youth from starting to smoke. Together, we successfully pushed congress to double funding for research in 2003. Together, we are working for a smoke-free nation – community by community and state by state. Together, after a dozen years of hard work, we passed FDA regulation over tobacco products which is already beginning to see an impact. And together, we worked to ensure cancer patients were front and center when legislation was being formed to reform our nation’s health care system.

When you look to the journey of cancer drugs or treatment protocols we learn… without government funding…cancer research just doesn’t happen!

We have come so far… we can’t stop now.  Imagine where we can be in the next 10 years… survivors living longer, cancers detected earlier, and preventing more people from hearing those dreaded words “You Have Cancer.”

By becoming a member of the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) you are joining a movement of people who are ready to fight back against cancer. Government must play a critical role in defeating cancer, ACS CAN will make the voice of the cancer community heard so elected officials will make cancer a top national priority.

Break the silence! Fight Back!  Join ACS CAN today. and visit to learn more about Highlands Relay For Life.

Contributed by Ellen Bauman

Feel Stronger, Live Longer

Ashby Underwood

From the tiny corpuscle to the intricate solar plexus, bodies are an amazing and complex system of interactive working parts. When everything is in balance, we are in the zone, but as we age some of our habits and adaptations start to catch up with us. So what do we do and where do we go when we seek to realign ourselves, our whole selves, with a healthier body, effective eating, improved agility, and focused mind?

With so many self-care choices available, deciding the best match for your special needs is daunting. Luckily, if you live in the Highlands area, your investment in personal wellness just got a whole lot easier.

Ashby Underwood and Chad Garner at Yoga Highlands, 464 Carolina Way, have practiced Yoga and the Rolf Method, Structural Integration, for a decade on the Plateau. You don’t have to travel to Asheville or Atlanta to get top-quality care. In fact, folks from surrounding states are dedicated patrons of Yoga Highlands.

D. Hounsel of Rabun, Georgia, says, “I came to the process of Structural Integration because I wanted to be physically and mentally ready to be the best parent I could be.” Others offer testimonials of improved digestion, reduced inflammation, greater range of motion, improved sleep, and more.

Underwood says, “I recently became a member of The International Association of Yoga Therapists, 3,000 hour level. I have put in that many hours of one-on-one consultations. I am pleased that this hallmark of experience contributes to the wellness of my community in Highlands.”

Underwood is equally proud of their expertise in Rolfing, a holistic system of manipulation of muscle and connective tissue through hands-on work to counter balance the effects of gravity. Among other things, Rolfing helps correct posture, which affects digestion, height, and movement.

The philosophy of Yoga Highlands is that yoga is a solo effort in addition to the class setting. To benefit individual concerns, one-on-one sessions in which your Yoga Therapist helps you manage movements, positions, breathing and even diet, will keep you focused internally. Practitioners of this holistic approach of self-care can’t stop singing its praises.

Be the author of your own excellent health experience. Visit or call the Underwood-Garner team at (828) 526-8880 for their Winter Program. Get ready to sleep better, feel stronger, and live longer.

by Donna Rhodes


The Art of Pat Calderone

Artist Pat Calderone and Highlands Culinary Weekend Chairperson Laura Huerta.

Pat Calderone has been designing the artwork for the Highlands Culinary Weekend since its beginning in 2006. This years’ artwork was upscaled a bit to reflect the growth and caliber of the event after six successful years here in Highlands. This year the artwork was created in oil and painted on canvas. The imagery shows several participants checking each other out in a flirty, party, and chic atmosphere. Pat and the culinary staff thought it would be fun to offer the painting as a silent auction piece at this years’ Opening Night Party. The painting will be displayed during the event at the Highlands Country Club on November 8th beginning at 7:00 p.m. The bid sheet will be displayed with the painting during evening and will be available until 9:30, when bidders will be encouraged to place their final bids with the highest bidder winning.

Pat Calderone is a long time resident of the area. She has a home in Scaly Mountain as well as a lovely gallery and studio near Sky Valley on the Dillard Road, next to Ed West Realty. Calderone Gallery displays her own paintings as well as those of several other local artists including, abstracts by Mase Lucas, beautiful wood turnings by Donald Krebs, landscape paintings by Laurence Holden, whimsical sculptures by Catherine Christie, amazing basketry by Peggie Wilcox, incredible hand built, pit fired sculpture by Malti Turnbull, and beautiful handmade, healing gem stone jewelry by Fran Gatins, and the charming painting of Judith Kaiser to name a few. Pat is a member of the North Georgia Art Guild, and is currently the Vice President of the Highlands Art League. Her gallery is also a working studio with art lessons available in drawing and painting. Custom framing is also available. The address is 3608 Hwy 246, Dillard, Georgia and can be reached by phone at (706) 746-5540. The Gallery is open year round. Usual hours 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., Monday through Saturday. During the winter months, please call first.

If you haven’t purchased tickets for this years’ Opening Night Celebration, don’t hesitate. A chance to embrace a night of food, wine and fun in the beautiful mountains of Highlands. Tickets are $75 and can be purchased at the door or in advance at or by calling (866) 526-5841.

Quail Run Antiques Show

The Second Annual Quail Run Antiques Show will be held October 18th-20th.

The Second Annual Quail Run Antiques Show will be held October 18th-20th, at two Cashiers locations this year — High Hampton Inn and Mitten Lane.

This event will feature more speakers, book signings, and more than 20 carefully-screened vendors. Patrons will find local, national and international dealers offering a wide range of English, American and Continental furniture and decorative arts.

The centerpiece of the event will be antiques expert Mary Helen McCoy, who’ll speak at a luncheon slated for 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Friday, October 19th, at the Chatooga Club.

McCoy has earned a national reputation for fine and unusual, period, 17th-19th century, French furniture and decorative arts with an emphasis on the finest period, 18th century French furniture. Her Mary Helen McCoy Fine Antiques is located in Charleston, South Carolina, where she sells privately.

Mary Helen McCoy Fine Antiques has exhibited in prominent, national and international fine art and antiques fairs including The International Fine Art and Antique Dealers Show and the Connoisseur’s Antiques Fair in New York City, Palm Beach | America’s International Fine Art and Antiques Fair in West Palm Beach, Fla. Currently as a seven year member of the board of The Art and Antique Dealers League of America based in New York she helped launch and actively participates with The Spring Show NYC having also exhibited the past two years.

McCoy established her own business in late 1990. She began amassing an extensive library as part of her unceasing pursuit of knowledge. More importantly she took on high-end, design jobs which included privately procuring fine antiques and art for select clients. She was retained by her clients to work side by side with architects and landscape designers on several projects to furnish an enormous variety of architectural and garden elements. During the period between 1990 and 1997 she bought and sold by appointment or consignment bringing to this country wonderful examples of the finest eighteenth century French furnishings.

The Cashiers Historical Society is one of the top civic organizations in Western North Carolina. The group not only owns and operates the Zachary-Tolbert House Museum, which is special for its rural vernacular Greek Revival architecture and large collection of plain-style furniture, but also actively works to save the historic resources of Cashiers and maintain the village’s sense of place.

Tickets to the show are $12, good for all 3 days. Proceeds from the Quail Run Antiques Show benefit the Cashiers Historical Society. For more information about the show and tickets to the luncheon, contact Cashiers Historical Society at (828) 743-7710.

by Luke Osteen

Cashiers Valley Leaf Festival

The Lovin’ Spoonful will perform at the Sapphire Valley Resort concert on Friday evening, October 5th.

The Greater Cashiers Area Merchant’s Association (GCAMA) is preparing for The Cashiers Valley Leaf Festival, Friday through Sunday, October 5th through 7th in Downtown Cashiers.  The annual art, craft and entertainment festival is expected to bring an estimated 5,000 plus visitors to the Cashiers area.  GCAMA organizers have added a new venue this year, The Lovin’ Spoonful in concert on the Slopes of Sapphire Valley Resort, Friday, October 5th.  GCAMA’s Leaf Festival co-chairs Jodi Moore and Pat Grady believe the show will draw additional visitors for the festival weekend.

Now in its fourth year, The Cashiers Valley Leaf Festival reaches into three area villages – Cashiers, Glenville and Sapphire.  The center of activity is the Cashiers Village Green and Commons located at the Cashiers Crossroads.  A juried fine art and craft show is the backbone of the festival, complemented by local businesses, exhibits, food vendors and two stages of entertainment featuring regional singer/songwriters.  Admission to the festival is free.

Glenville Village will present local crafters, pontoon cruises along Lake Genville’s shoreline and a Saturday morning pancake breakfast and wagon ride farm tour.  Sapphire Valley Resort presents the Festival’s “Big Cup Golf Tournament” on Saturday, October 6th and has expanded their participation by providing the Slopes venue for the Lovin’ Spoonful concert on Friday evening.

The Lovin’ Spoonful burst onto the ‘60’s music scene to become one of the most revered groups in music history.  Combining the best of folk music and rock and roll, with a touch of country thrown in, they gave us such hits as “Do You Believe in Magic,” “Daydream,” “You Didn’t Have to be So Nice,” “Nashville Cats” and “Summer in the City.”  In 2006, the band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The current line-up features founding members, Steve Boone and Joe Butler.  Gates for the concert open at 5:00 p.m. Opening acts include local band the Jackson Taylor Band and Atlanta based sister quartet, von Grey.  Tickets can be purchased in advance at area retailers including Midnight Farms, Victoria’s Closet, Rusticks, Signal Ridge Marina, Cruise Planners/Pro Management NC, Sapphire Valley Resort Community Center, Bear Paw Designs, Bucks, Landmark Realty Group and Cashiers Electrical Supply.  General Admission tickets are $25.  VIP tickets are $50 and include valet parking, and a “Meet and Greet” with the band and complimentary wine and hors d’eouvres prior to the show. Tickets may also be purchased on line at

GCAMA was founded in 2009 to further the commercial interests of Cashiers area merchants and businesses. The Cashiers Valley Leaf Festival is one of their premier events created to enhance the local economy.  Other initiatives include Groovin’ on the Green, Cashiers Designer Showhouse Shoppes and Christmas in Cashiers Valley.  For more information on the Leaf Festival, the Lovin’ Spoonful Concert and GCAMA, please call (828) 743-5858 or (828) 482-2525.

Highlands Arts and Crafts Show

Since 1983, the Highlands Woman’s Club has provided a venue for all of the talented artists and craft persons of our area to offer their products.  Cars line the parking area and the surrounding streets of the Highlands Civic Center and Recreation Park on the Cashiers Highway (Hwy. 64 E.), just a short two blocks from Main Street.

Saturday, October 13th from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., eager shoppers will fill the Rec Park as they peruse the many booths that fill the gymnasium. A wide array of quality arts and crafts are offered for sale.  Choose from freshly baked cakes, pies, breads, jams, jellies and preserves.  Painted furniture, stools and chairs, hand-turned bowls, rustic and refined furniture, hand-made rocking horses and cradles are just some of the many items you’ll find at this year’s show.

You’ll marvel at the beautiful hand-blown glass, the Christmas ornaments, woven items, jewelry, knives, casserole carriers, garment bags, scarves and so much more.   There will be food galore.  There’s no better place to stock up on barbecue sauces and rubs, chocolate of every description, dried flowers and more.  Shop for yourself and for your family and friends.  The number of vendors continues to grow so you know you will find something for everyone.  Be sure to check out the many vendors on the exterior of the building.  You don’t want to miss their featured items, too.

Fresser’s Eatery will offer delicious breakfast and lunch items.  Gather your friends and come on out for a great day of shopping. Today’s Art and Craft Show has definitely matured.  It is so much bigger and includes so many more vendors than those early days. When the Highlands Women’s Club started the show 29 years ago it was just a simple way local people could make a few dollars from the crafts that they had made throughout the year. Now look at the number of vendors that are involved. That’s a real success story. Join your friends and shop for exciting and useful gifts and accessories.

The admission is free as is the parking.

by Wiley Sloan

Cashiers Valley Preschool Annual Fall Fest

This family-friendly event will allow parents, children, and folks in the community to visit Cashiers’ Five-Star preschool, meet the teachers, tour the playground and facility, socialize and get acquainted with each other, and play lots of fun games.

You’ll find hay rides, pony rides, face painting, a great cake walk, Cashiers Valley Preschool’s Bouncy House, a fire truck and firemen, and delicious food and drink for all.

New this year is the Book Fair, which will offer a vast selection of early childhood books perfect for preschoolers and the people who love them.

Cashiers Valley Preschool is a valuable community resource that’s a lifeline to busy young families. It provides early learning in a safe, cheerful environment, led by trained childcare specialists.

Cashiers Valley Preschool is located at 219 Frank Allen Road, right behind Albert Carlton-Cashiers Community Library. For more information, please call the preschool at (828) 743-4320.

by Luke Osteen


Second Annual Pour le Pink

The second annual Pour le Pink, a 3.1 mile Walk/Run to support local breast health and women’s services, will be held on Saturday, October 6th, at Highlands-Cashiers Hospital (HCH).  The funds raised will go toward maintaining the hospital’s spectrum of breast health and women’s services.

“Last year’s Pour le Pink was a great benefit for our local communities. It raised nearly $9,000 and helped build a lasting fund for women’s services enabling us to stay up to date with critical services, equipment and provide our patients the best quality care possible,” said race organizer Callie Calloway, Communications Specialist at HCH. “Those funds helped to provide seven local breast cancer survivors struggling financially with treatment as well as allowed the hospital to sustain its digital mammography services and other health services unique to women.  We are hoping for the same success this year!”

The race will start on the campus of HCH, travel to Buck Creek Road, down Cheney Lane, looping back to the hospital campus for the finish. Event goers are invited to participate as runners, walkers and individuals or teams. Prizes will be awarded to the top three places female/male runners in each age group.

“We encourage everyone to join us in the fun,” said Calloway. “The event will not only benefit HCH, but foster community awareness of women’s health and wellness. This is a great opportunity to support the hospital that helps keep our community healthy.”

Sponsorship opportunities from $100 to $1000 are available. Registration for Pour le Pink is under way. Entry fee is $30 for adults Child rate is $5. The 5k race is open to male/female runners and walkers of all ages and will begin at 9:00 a.m. More information is available online at or contact Callie Calloway at (828) 526-1313.

Contributed by Callie Calloway

A Highlands Halloween

Since 1991 Highlands has been celebrating Halloween in a positive way.  Downtown Trick or Treat sponsored by the Highlands Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Center provides a night to remember. Whether you have children and grandchildren who are hankering for a shopping bag full of treats or you are “of the vintage variety” who just enjoys watching people, the Highlands’ Halloween celebration is the place for you. This is a night where local merchants, civic groups, even some of the local churches, join together for a fun-filled evening.  Some of our friends delay returning to their winter residence just to enjoy Halloween in Highlands.

Wednesday night, October 31st, from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., the downtown shopping district of Highlands will be transformed into a scene from a Hollywood movie. You’ll be amazed at the supremely-creative costumes that some of your Highlands neighbors will don.  Shop owners enjoy this special time of year when all of us in the Highlands community gather together to provide a worry-free environment for all of the children to celebrate “Trick or Treat.”  Watching the parade of costumes on Main and Fourth Streets is just as mesmerizing as watching the stars of Hollywood walk the Red Carpet. Children of all sizes are transformed to their favorite character. Lions and tigers, ballerinas and princesses, knights, heroes from recent movies, join age old favorites like Spider-Man, heroes from Star Wars – you name it and you may see it during a Highland’s Halloween. Some of your neighbors get a five star rating for their costumes, too. Witches galore dot the landscape along with political figures, ghouls and goblins. Elvis may return for the evening along with the Great Pumpkin. Our furry companions get into the action too.  You’ll be amazed at the costumes you see.

Stop by the Chamber’s food booth manned by the Highlands Mountain Top Rotary Club to enjoy a hot dog and your favorite beverage. Travel back up the street toward the newly-renovated Town Square to enjoy the music of Mike Murphy. Along the way you’ll have the opportunity to gather a tummy-aching trove of chocolate, caramel and other tooth-decaying goodies.

Growing up in a small town in Tennessee, I fondly remember the Halloween carnival at my grade school.  Various classes worked for days and weeks to see who could create the best Halloween-related environment. The fifth grade’s “House of Horrors” was home to ghosts and goblins replete with creaking doors, witches and goblins. We shrieked as Dracula rose from his coffin in the eerie green light of the swamp.  There was apple bobbing, a sponge toss, popcorn and candy apples and so much more. The whole community came together to create a fun evening for the area youngsters, much like Highlands does today.

by Wiley Sloan




A Successful Relay for Life

We would like to thank the residents of Highlands for their generosity and support. Over 500 people attended the night of Relay which helped us “Turn up the Heat on Cancer.” Our grand total so far is over $105,000! Our goal was $100,000.

This outstanding show of support proves that the people of Highlands stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the American Cancer Society to achieve its mission of saving lives by helping people stay well, by helping people get well, by finding cures, and fighting back.

We were honored to be joined by 75 survivors who walked the opening Survivors Lap, officially kicking off this year’s event. These survivors are the reason we continue the fight. Their participation inspires hope in those currently battling cancer.

A special thanks to the many Relay For Life volunteers who worked to make this event a success – celebrating the lives of those who have battled cancer, remembering loved ones lost, and pledging to fight back against the disease. Many thanks to our planning committee headed up by Mike Murphy and Debbie Grossman and our 22 teams and their hard working captains who did an outstanding job of putting the event together.

We had over 30 people join ACS Cancer Action Network. ACS CAN is the nations leading cancer advocacy organization that is working everyday to make cancer issues a national priority. Please visit for more information.

We also appreciate the generosity of this year’s corporate sponsors. Relay For Life would not be possible without them. Our corporate sponsors donated over $30,000 in funds and in kind donations.

We look forward to another great Relay season in Highlands in 2013 and are excited about working with the community on this truly grassroots effort to help end cancer. You may get involved with Relay For Life at any time of year by going to our web site  for more information.

Contributed by Ellen Bauman

The Food Pantry’s Empty Bowls

As part of the of the Empty Bowls event, guests are invited to come and share a bowl of soup and bread at the Highlands Presbyterian Church on Sunday, October 21st, from 11:30 a.m. until 1:45 p.m. or as long as the bowls last.

The Empty Bowls Project is an international effort to fight hunger. Guests are asked to keep a hand-crafted bowl as a reminder of all the empty bowls in the world. All proceeds from this event will benefit the Food Pantry of Highlands, a collaborative project between The International Friendship Center and the Highlands United Methodist Church and Fish and Loaves Food Pantry in Cashiers.

Local and regional artists hand crafted five hundred bowls at The Bascom-A Center for the Visual Arts especially for the event.

Cost is $20 per bowl. Children eat free, but will not be provided a keepsake bowl unless purchased.

Bowl tickets may be purchased in advance or at the door. Please contact the International Friendship Center for more information, (828) 526-0890 x 252.

Contributed by Faviola Olvera

Fishes and Loaves Empty Bowls

Above are some of the bowls at last year’s Empy Bowls fundraiser for the Fishes and Loaves Food Pantry in Cashiers. Photo by Irv Welling

On Sunday, Oct. 21st, the Fishes and Loaves Food Pantry in Cashiers will hold its second annual Empty Bowls fundraiser from 11:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at the Zachary-Tolbert House in Cashiers.

The Empty Bowls Project is an international movement built upon a single idea: Potters and other craftspeople, educators and others work with the community to create handcrafted bowls. Guests are invited to a simple meal of soup and bread. In exchange for a cash donation, guests are asked to keep a bowl as a reminder of all the empty bowls in the world. The money raised is donated to an organization working to end hunger and food insecurity.

The Bascom will be hosting potters to throw 1,000 bowls for the event this year. The bowls will be filled with soup and bread donated by local restaurants.

The cost for the bowl is $20 and diners will be able to keep the bowl as a memento.  While at the Zachary-Tolbert House, patrons can enjoy tours of the historic structure as well.

All proceeds will go to the Fishes and Loaves Food Pantry in Cashiers. A similar event will be held at the First Presbyterian Church in Highlands to benefit the The Food Pantry in Highlands. For anyone who cannot attend, tickets and bowls can be purchased prior to the event at the Cashiers Historical Society. For more information, call Carole Stork at (828) 743-3222 or e-mail her at

Contributed by Kelly Donaldson

Music Stirs the Soul


eople who have followed the music of the Highlands First Presbyterian Church over the past several years realize that the church enjoys a wide variety of musical styles.

In addition to the regular performances of the Chancel Choir and organist/pianist Angie Jenkins, the church hosts a variety of guest musicians. Sure, you hear the old time favorite gospel songs, but you also hear music of many different genres.

Throughout the summer the Church hosts Musical Interludes for all of us in the community. They feature musicians from throughout the area including musicians from Western Carolina University in Cullowhee.

On Saturday, September 1st and Sunday, September 2nd, the sanctuary of the Church was filled with the music of nationally-renowned musical Renaissance man Randall Atcheson. A child prodigy on both piano and organ, Atcheson has performed numerous times at Carnegie Hall and throughout the world. Atcheson thrilled the audience with music that included Scriabin, Bach, Chopin, Liszt plus old-time gospel and patriotic music. His Steinway piano reverberated as Atcheson wowed the audience with his expertise.

On October 7th, First Presbyterian will host nationally-known Curtis Blackwell & The Dixie Bluegrass Boys. Curtis is a former member of the legendary Bill Monroe’s Bluegrass Boys who made the Orange Blossom Special known to households throughout the south. He has been honored at the International Bluegrass Museum in Owensboro, Kentucky. Bluegrass music has filled the hills of North Carolina as amateurs and professionals have played banjos, guitars, fiddles and mandolins.

Blackwell and his band are just one of several Bluegrass bands who have been a part of Highlands First Presbyterian Church’s worship services over the past several months. Members of the church started talking a year or more ago about incorporating various types of music into their worship services. Some specifically requested Bluegrass music. To fulfill this request, the Music Department invited Bluegrass bands such as Chatham County Line and the Mountain Faith Bluegrass Group to perform. People couldn’t sit still as they enjoyed the music of the Foxfire Boys of Dillard, Georgia.

Come join the worship service of First Presbyterian Church on Sunday, October 7th, for Bluegrass Sunday. The Church is located at 471 Main Street. For more information, call (828) 526-3175.

by Wiley Sloan

A Chocolate Fantasy


he Scaly Mountain Women’s club has the answer to your craving for chocolate.  Find the Chocolate Fantasy booth at the Highlands Craft Show, held every fall at the Highlands Recreation Center.  This year the Craft Show will be held on October 13th from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.  The women from Scaly Mountain are known for their cooking and are able to use their cooking skills to raise money for their scholarships and other local charities.  The Chocolate Fantasy booth has been a huge success since it started in 2001.  The first year it was discovered that each member had  to do lots more baking in order to have enough to last the entire day.

Upon arriving at the Craft Show, you can easily identify the Scaly Mountain Women’s Club Chocolate Fantasy booth.  It attracts a lot of attention because the goodies are so beautifully displayed and because of the divine smell of the chocolate.

All the members look sharp wearing identical aprons.  The booth looks like something out of a magazine with the chocolate wrapped in cellophane and tied with ribbons

If the delicious chocolate  does not give you enough reason to come to the free Craft Show, you will want to hear about the amazing financial help that is being provided by the money being raised.  Every penny of the proceeds goes to help the community.

The Scaly Mountain Women’s Club has contributed $200,000 to the community with over $100,000 helping one hundred students during the last 22 years. During these tough times, the help with school expenses is very much appreciated.

The members have also created another cookbook, Second Helping – a sequel to the popular It Just Tastes Better in the Mountains which sold out after two printings.  The new cookbook, aprons and dishtowels will also be sold in the Chocolate Fantasy booth.

Come to the Chocolate Fantasy booth at the Highlands Craft Fair on October 13th and buy lots of chocolate. You will be glad you did, and the members will be so grateful for your help.

Contact Chairman Nancy Aldridge,  with any questions you may have.  Also check out the website:

Contributed by Betty Bandy

Second Annual Apple Festival

High Hampton Inn’s Apple Festival celebrates the sweetest part of the Blue Ridge Mountains’ heritage, Sunday, October 7th.

Add some extra-delicious shades of red to a visit for fall leaf season in the North Carolina Mountains.  Celebrate the Fuji, Gala, Pink Lady, Honey Crisp, McIntosh – and even more varieties of apples – at High Hampton Inn’s Second Annual Apple Festival on October 7th. This free, day-long event, which is open to the public, is a salute to fall’s favorite fruit with a bounty of apple delicacies, live music, and artistic crafts. The fun will take place from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

“Last year’s festival was such a success, that we are making it a yearly event, in keeping with our commitment to tradition and nature-driven activities,” said Clifford Meads, General Manager of High Hampton Inn.  “Fall is also the ideal time to visit High Hampton because the property is graced with stunning foliage, and the cool temperatures are perfect for enjoying all the outdoor amenities we offer.”

The High Hampton Apple Festival will celebrate the apple with a variety of tasty products provided by Creasman Farms and Beehive Orchards, growers from the Hendersonville, NC area.  Each will have a booth to showcase their apples and apple products, and guests will be able to sample the different varieties each grower produces.  The festival will feature homemade apple cider, apple ice cream, apple cakes and muffing, and other treats prepared by High Hampton Inn Chef Sean Ruddy, as well as the growers.

While festival-goers are enjoying the blazing reds, oranges and golds of the fall foliage and the apples, they will also be able to peruse colorful artworks.  Quilt-maker Ashley Jones will be displaying not only quilts, but tote bags, aprons, table runners, and more items for sale at her booth.  Steve Hunter of Aria Woodturnings, a seventh-generation native of Transylvania County, North Carolina, will be featuring hand-carved bowls, candlesticks and boxes made of domestically grown wood.  To add to the festival atmosphere, North Carolina bluegrass music will be playing toe-tapping tunes throughout the day.

Visitors who plan to stay for the weekend can also enjoy all of the amazing amenities of the High Hampton Inn.  They can take in the fresh mountain air during a hike along more than 15 miles of on-property trails, including Chimney Top Mountain and Rock Mountain; play a round of golf or tennis, or spend a peaceful afternoon fishing or boating on Hampton Lake.  For those seeking a day of pampering, the Hampton Health Club & Spa features a variety of total body relaxation and de-stressing treatments.

For additional information about the Apple Festival or to reserve a room for the weekend, please contact High Hampton Inn at (800) 334-2551 or visit  Rates start at $130 per person, double occupancy.

Cub Scout Bingo at Community Building

There’s always room at the table for bingo fanatics.

Bingo enthusiasts are cleaning their green eye shades and dusting off their hearing aids. Their “lucky cards” are waiting for Cub Scout Bingo on Thursday, October 4th. Games start at 6:30 p.m. at the Highlands Community Building next door to the ballpark on the Cashiers Highway.

Even if you say, “I never win anything,” don’t despair. They always include at least one game of “The Biggest Loser” for folks like you. The last person to have a space on their card covered wins a prize. So even you can win. Plus for a mere $15 for the whole night (one card, 15 games), you’ll have an entertaining evening while supporting the Cub Scouts of the area. The Highlands Cub Scout Troop helps young men learn all types of skills that benefit them throughout their lifetime. Should your luck change and you win a prize, you can donate your winning back to the Scouts.

If you want to do even more, you can be a Table Sponsor. Open to business owners and individuals, you can show your support of the Scouts by making a donation and sponsoring a table. A one-page ad is only $50; half-page ads $25. Make your checks payable to Highlands Rotary Club. Call Jodie Cook at (828) 526-2742 to buy an ad.

You’ll have a second chance to hone your bingo skills with the Highlands School’s Fall Fling PTO Bingo on October 20th. Bring all your friends and come to Highlands School on Saturday, October 20th, at 6:30 p.m. All funds raised will go to underwrite the many programs that the Parents Teachers Organization sponsors throughout the year. Yes, they will accept sponsorships too.

Half of the bingo money goes to the non-profit agency of the evening and the other half will go to lucky winners. Game number 15 gives you the chance to win some serious money. Laugh a lot, share with friends and support the Scouts and the PTO at Highlands School. Two nights — numerous chances to win. It’s always a great way to have fun. See you there.

by Wiley Sloan

Vintage Marketplace Benefits Gilliam’s Promise

Highlands’ Vintage Marketplace will showcase a rich assortment of treasures from days gone by, Saturday, October 27th, at the Community Building.

On October 27th, come explore the Vintage Marketplace – a treasure trove of vintage furniture, books, eclectic collectibles, linens, toys, garden art, repurposed items and unique finds.

You’ll find eye-catching items perfect for updating your homes plus great Christmas and birthday gifts.

While you’re enjoying shopping, you’re helping the young people who are a part of Gilliam’s Promise — a drug and alcohol prevention program for local teens. Twenty percent of all sales  will go to the programs of Gilliam’s Promise.

Perhaps you’ve seen “Storage Wars” or similar programs on HGTV. The folks on these shows are amateurs when compared to our own Amanda Crowe and Tamara Bronaugh. These two women have that special eye for seeing the potential in items that others would discard.

The Vintage Marketplace will be staged at the Highlands Community Building, located on the Cashiers Highway (US Hwy 64) next to the Town Ballfield from 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Saturday October 27th. Call (828) 482-2029 for more info.

by Wiley Sloan

Buckeye Donkey Basketball

Highlands School Class of 2015 will host a fundraiser featuring Buckeye Donkey Basketball on Saturday, October 27th, at the Highlands Recreation Center.

Never heard of Donkey Basketball? It has been a popular fundraising event in small town America since the depression. Team members ride real, live donkeys and play basketball while raising money for their organization.

Buckeye Donkey Ball is a family-owned company that has been up and running since 1934. Every year they provide hundreds of schools and organizations with family friendly entertainment and fundraisers. Humane treatment of the animals is always their first consideration.

A dinner will start at 5:00 p.m. with concessions available throughout the night. Game time is 6:30 p.m. with two preliminary games, followed by a final championship game.

The featured teams are Highlands School Alumni captained by Jeremy Dooley, Highlands School Staff captained by Brett Lamb, Highlands Rotary Club captained by Paul Christy, and the Highlands Volunteer Fire Department team captained by John Crowe.

Class sponsors are also sponsoring a “Donkey Doo Competition.” Whoever collects the most donations in their bucket gets a golden shovel and the title of donkey pooper scooper for the night. Sponsors are Brett Lamb, Chris Green, Ryan Potts and Gina Billingsley.

There will also be $1.00 Donkey rides during halftime of each game, as well as a 50/50 Raffle. Come out and enjoy all the excitement.

For more information, contact Marjorie Crowe at (828) 342-9475.

Cover Artist Tom Roddy

Maybe the reason Tom Roddy treats each day like opening night is that he has come to appreciate life’s fragility. He lost his father, his wife and a son to cancer. Now, he savors every minute he is granted, and that is reflected in the volume, content, spirit, and brilliant color of his art.

Having dealt with such great loss, he finds comfort in angels and they have become a theme in his work. His spirituality spreads even further to his floral designs, which frequently adorn altars of local sanctuaries.

“I’ve always enjoyed working with flowers. When I retired in Atlanta I moved to Highlands where I worked for a local florist for three years. That refined my arranging skills. I now grow my own flowers. This is the first time I have had a personal garden from which to pick.”

Roddy used to worry that he was spread too thin… working in too many mediums. But as he grows older, he accepts, and even celebrates, his once-perceived flaw as now an asset.

He dabbled in photography a while and was told by his teacher that he had an abstract eye; that is, the ability to bypass detail for the sake of color, form, shape, and crisp composition. This was after a phase of doing tiny, detailed realism in oils. That epiphany combined with all that life had thrown at him shifted him into a new, looser, bolder style, which remains his trademark today.

Roddy also enjoys working with repurposed materials, particularly rusty metals and distressed, textural surfaces. “I like putting things together and creating art out of it all. I spend a lot of time at flea markets and thrift stores collecting objects for my stockpile. Now people just bring stuff to me and deposit it on my doorstep.”

For someone who readily admits he likes immediate gratification in his work, it is not surprising that he enjoys having several ideas going at once so he can glide from one to another. He says, “I keep moving through these things that pop into my mind.” For example, working on an angel commission, scouting out a perfect cabbage for a floral focal point, and photographing an idea for a 3-D composition might be all in a day’s work.

Having lost so much, including a substantial part of his hearing, doesn’t seem to dampen Roddy’s enthusiasm.  He says, “God compensated a hearing loss with wonderful eyesight. Looking at the trees, the moss, the lichens, the wildflowers, and the beauty of God’s creation is the fuel that stokes my fires every day. I have a feast for my eyes and I am loving it.” He reminds us that all we have is right now, so turn up the lights and bring on the roses, baby. Every day is the real performance.

You can see some of Roddy’s work at Chivaree Southern Art and Design in Cashiers, or you can contact him at:

by Donna Rhodes

Highlands Through the Seasons

Most people buy a beautiful book to show off their coffee table. Now that Highlands photographer Cynthia Strain has published Highlands Through the Seasons, people are buying coffee tables to show off her book.

Strain says, “I have been thinking about publishing a book of Highlands area photos for years.” And no wonder. In the three decades Strain has lived in Highlands she has taken tens of thousands of photographs. Suffice it to say, the girl is prolific. And she is deeply passionate about her work, though she might call it play. To top it off, her photographs aren’t just good, they are eye-popping beautiful, drenched in color, swathed in atmosphere, and sizzling with wow-factor.

People have been bugging Strain to compile a book for a long time.  She thought about it, but that’s as far as it went. Then two years ago she got a dynamite new camera and that is what really sealed the deal. The quality of image was so stunning, she felt like her book was finally a reality. Sunsets, sunrises, wildlife, wildflowers, mountain vistas, Whiteside in profile, in rain and snow and seasonal shifts, churches, waterfalls, Chattooga’s Iron Bridge, and all the things that personify Highlands vibrate on every page of this seasonal journey.

And one book inspires another. Strain has ideas for more publications. She says, “It’s exciting. I have a feeling this will open doors and change my life. I am on a new adventure. This is a profoundly significant milestone for me.”

But there is one more supremely satisfying thing about her book. She says, “I am so happy to share this creation with the community of Highlands. It is a celebration of the town that I love. I did this because I love this place.”

And, in typical Strain style, not only is she capturing Highlands’ heart in digital imagery, she is giving a portion of the book’s proceeds to organizations that support the local conservation and environmental effort.

Stay tuned for information about book signings, public appearances, and local availability. Call or visit Strain at Mill Creek Gallery and Framing, (828) 787-2021 or check out You will see why a favorite quote from Horace stokes her artistic fire: A picture is a poem without words.

Now go out and buy a new coffee table. Highlands Through the Seasons is waiting!

by Donna Rhodes

The Bascom News

The season is winding down in tick-tock-tober, as we gain an hour and roll back our clocks. Why not dedicate that reclaimed hour to a worthwhile project at The Bascom: a class, a gallery tour, or a contribution to the Empty Bowls project?

If a workshop intrigues you, consider The Essence of the Figure with Donna Polseno, Monday through Friday, October 8th through 12th from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. The human figure, especially the female form defines the aesthetic of western art. Learn simple hand building sculptural methods using coils, slabs, and press molds to create contours that reflect your own unique perspective of the feminine. Intermediate and advanced student tuition: $520 member/$555 non-member.

Spooky Raku, an annual Bascom event, is hosted by Frank Vickery Saturdays, October 13th, 20th, 27th from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Raku firing is Wednesday, October 31st. Tuition for beginning and intermediate levels is $245 member/$280 non-member.

Color Theory with Rosemary Stiefel offered Thursday and Friday, October 11th and 12th, 10:00 A.M. to 4:00 P.M. is designed to make color your ally. If choosing and mixing colors has been a muddy proposition, let Rosemary show you simple steps to making primary, secondary and intermediate colors your new best friends. Tuition is beginning, intermediate, and advanced students is $150 for members/$185 for non-members.

There are four exhibits currently on display, two of which close mid-October, so catch them before they are shipped to new destinations! American Craft Today remains on exhibit now through December 29th. Nearly 50 craftspeople participated in a wide range of mediums including fiber, furniture, glass, jewelry, leather, metal, mixed media, paper and woodcraft objects. Visit it in the Buntzl Gallery.

The Bascom Members Challenge: Couples closes October 14th. The theme is pairings of things, salt and pepper, Jekyll and Hyde. The Members Challenge will also serve as a platform for selecting works to be included in the Healing Arts Project, in partnership with the Highlands-Cashiers Hospital.

Art Rosenbaum’s Voices and Margo Rosenbaum’s Visions now through November 10th in the Loft Gallery depicts rural Southern life with combinations of  both real and imagined people, places and events. These works are on display in the permanent collection space in the Balcony at The Bascom.

Alex Matisse’s Ometto now through October 21st adorn the Campus. Ometto is Italian for “Little Man.” Matisse’s ceramic pots have a figurative quality, unimposing and delightful additions to garden and landscape and may even serve as memorial markers.

Don’t miss delightful exhibitions by up-and-coming artists in the Eckerd Children’s Gallery.

On October 21st attend the Empty Bowls Project. The Highlands event will take place at the Presbyterian Church and the Cashiers event will take place at the Zachary Tolbert House. The Bascom’s Outreach program had an Empty Bowl-a-thon, in August. All bowls made during the workshop will be donated to local food pantries as part of the Empty Bowls Project, a grassroots movement to fight world hunger. Professional potters Pat Taylor, Ned Turnbull, Rob Withrow, Mike Lalone and Harry Souchon participated in this event.

For more information about classes, exhibitions and other Bascom events, call (828) 526-4949 or visit

The Art of Annell Metsker

The Betsy Paul art raffle for the Cashiers Glenville Volunteer Fire Department, will be held on October 31st in the afternoon. For more information, call (828) 743-0880.

This is the third time that Annell Metsker has graciously donated a painting to benefit the Cashiers-Glenville Fire Department through the monthly art raffle held at Betsy Paul Properties. Annell’s creation, given for the October Art Raffle, is a delightful painting of a dog.

Annell L. Metsker, known professionally as Annell, combines photography and painting to create images that evoke the soul of her subjects and portray mood and emotion visually. Whether she is creating a portrait, landscape or figurative work of art she is able to use the beauty and mystery of light and shadow, and the rhythm of motion to captivate the viewer’s attention. She works intuitively with her subjects to reveal beauty and authenticity in her art. Whether you are looking for a photographic portrait, or a painting of your children, family, pets, or a favorite travel image, Annell will create a work of art that captures their true essence.

Annell finds her creative muse in her home on Lake Glenville where the peacefulness and energy of the mountains inspire her paintings. Her portrait studio in Charlotte, specializing in heirloom portraits of children and families, has been named Best of Charlotte Photographers for several years.  Her art is exhibited at Blue Valley Gallery in Cashiers,,  and has pride of place in many private collections across the US.  Contact her at, (828) 743-5784 or (877) 847-8281 for more information.

Viewers are invited to see each month’s raffle item on display from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Saturday at Betsy Paul Properties, 870 Highway 64 West, Cashiers, North Carolina. Checks can also be mailed directly to the Cashiers-Glenville Fire Department, P.O. Box 713, Cashiers, North Carolina, 28717. For more information contact Betsy Paul Properties, (828) 743-0880.

Hal Phillips Entertains at Skyline Lodge

Hal Phillips’ magnificent musicianship, on display at Altitudes Restaurant at Skyline Lodge, is the product of a lifetime of study and passion.

Hal Phillips enjoyed emulating everything that his father did. He would sit on the piano bench as his Dad practiced his scales before his next piano lesson.

Soon the music bug had bitten Hal too, and he began lessons. He had a gift for music. Hal practiced steadily and continued his musical training throughout high school. His classical training evolved until in high school he formed a dance band combo.

Hal always enjoyed the music of Johnny Mercer and Duke Ellington. During the 1950’s and 1960’s he expanded his repertoire to include Erroll Garner, Chico Hamilton, and Art Tatum. He fell hard for jazz singer-composer Mel Torme and the astonishing vocal talents of Ella Fitzgerald. He loved the way that they improvised. Hal learned to do that too. After high school, he continued his education at Western Michigan University where he earned his degree.

Hal soon headed to the West Coast with high ambitions to break into show business. Despite hard work and knocking on hundreds of doors, those dreams never quite materialized. Hal went into the service. While enjoying liberty at some of the big beer halls of Germany, he listened to the oompah bands and discovered that he could pick out the tunes as he listened to the bands.

Upon returning home, Hal began teaching music in high school and giving private piano and voice lessons. His repertoire of songs continued to expand adding hymns and popular songs to his jazz. As he played the VFW Clubs of the area, they clamored for swing and ragtime tunes. Some of the pianos he played were so worn that the ivory was totally gone, only wood remained. Hal had to wear gloves to play.

He traveled the world playing in supper clubs from Florida to the Gold Coast, Michigan and North Carolina. Like so many artists, Hal was captured by the allure of the Western North Carolina mountains. There was not a high demand for piano players at that time. The few restaurants that had pianos had older upright models. Sometimes he would cook in the morning and then play piano to entertain the guests in the evening. He remembers fondly of playing at the Rib Room Tavern at Sapphire Valley and the Tavern at High Hampton.

Here in the mountains, the best pianos were in the churches so it is no surprise that Hal soon found himself working as a Minister of Music for a church or two. He found great solace in taking his music ministry into the Atlanta Penitentiary to minister to the refugees of the Cuban Mariel Boatlift. Hal also worked with the Asheville Prison, which built a separate building for ministries including music. He found this work very rewarding.

Hal has lived in Glenville for more than 25 years. This is his eighth season playing piano at Altitudes Restaurant at Skyline Lodge here in Highlands. Enjoy beautiful ballads, your favorite show tunes and hymns as you dine at Altitudes Restaurant. Hal will thrill you with his musical talents.

by Wiley Sloan

Nashville Bluegrass at PAC

The Highlands Performing Arts Center presents the nationally-acclaimed Nashville Bluegrass Band on Saturday, October 20th, at 8:00 p.m.

With two Grammy Award-winning albums and two Entertainer of the Year honors from the International Bluegrass Music Association, four time IBMA Vocal Group of the Year, the Nashville Bluegrass Band is no stranger to acclaim from critics and fans alike. The band’s personnel are sought-after, first-call studio musicians, known for a superior level of creativity and a commitment to traditional music styles. Collectively and singularly, the members of NBB have virtually defined the modern bluegrass sound.

NBB was initially formed to accompany Minnie Pearl and Vernon Oxford on a 1984 Grand Ole Opry package tour. NBB celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2004 with the release of its sixth Grammy-nominated album, “Twenty Year Blues.” As if on cue, in 2006 the Nashville Bluegrass Band was invited to the White House by President George W. Bush to entertain in honor of the visiting president of China, Hu Jintao. It was a very special honor for NBB as well – 20 years earlier, NBB had been the first bluegrass band ever to be permitted play in the People’s Republic of China. NBB concerts have since spanned the globe.

Throughout the years, NBB has toured and performed with both traditional and contemporary artists such as Earl Scruggs, Doc Watson, Alison Krauss and Union Station, Lyle Lovett and Mary Chapin Carpenter, including a sold-out concert with the Fairfield Four at famed Carnegie Hall in New York City. The Band has recorded with Peter Rowan, Maura O’Connell, Jerry Douglas, Bernadette Peters and Clint Black, appeared on the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band’s “Will The Circle Be Unbroken Vol. III” and collaborated with Johnny Cash on the film soundtrack  of “Dead Man Walking.”

The biggest break of all came in 2002, when NBB lead singer Pat Enright became one of the voices of the Soggy Bottom Boys, the fictional old-time trio led onscreen by George Clooney in the movie “O Brother, Where Art Thou?”

The Nashville Bluegrass Band is presented by Ray McPhail. Tickets may be purchased online at or by calling (828) 526-9047. Highlands Performing Arts Center is located at 507 Chestnut Street in Highlands.

Contributed by Mary Adair Leslie

The Fall Colors Art Show

Everyone gets into the spirit of the Fall Colors Show.

The Southeast is blessed with many talented artists.  Perhaps it is because of the magnificent scenery or the weather, but the sub-region of Western North Carolina, the Upstate of South Carolina and northeast Georgia produces more than its share of very good art.  Area residents and visitors alike have a good selection of remarkable work close at hand.

Twice a year the Art League of Highlands assembles more than fifty of the best artists from this area and beyond to display and offer for sale their inspired pieces. This year the Fall Colors Show will be a two-day event, held indoors at the Recreation Park from noon to 6:00 p.m.,  Friday, October 19th, and from 10:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m., Saturday, October 20th.

Admission is free, and whether you are a collector, someone who enjoys admiring art, or if you are simply looking for a pleasant way to spend part of your weekend, this show is for you.  Some lucky attendees will randomly receive gift certificates toward the purchase of artwork.  On Saturday, there will also be a children’s workshop where young aspiring artists can create pieces to take home, and perhaps also take home a free painting from one of the exhibiting artists.

Paintings of oil, acrylic and watercolor will be on display, as well as mixed media pieces, photographs, sculpture, hand-fashioned jewelry and wood turnings.  All of the art at the show is original.  It is an excellent opportunity to view the work of some truly talented artists.  So, while you are enjoying the colors of fall in the mountains, also make plans to treat yourself to the Art League’s Fall Colors Fine Art Show.

Contributed by Zach Claxton

An Evening with Frank Sinatra

Highlands Playhouse closes out its exciting 2012 season with a surprise performance in October that’s not a trick but most definitely a treat –  legendary crooner Gabe Russo will capture the sublime magic of Hoboken’s favorite son with “An Intimate Evening with Frank Sinatra.” Russo will be appearing October 5th through 14th.

by Luke Osteen

Born in the 1950s in Philadelphia, Gabe comes from a showbiz family. His aunt, Helen O’Connell, sang with the Dorseys and his father was a saloon crooner of renown from Baltimore to New York. As a boy, he received vocal instruction from Stoddard Smith and made soloist in the St. Johns Cathedral Mens Choir.

Gabe began singing, tuxedo and all, with his father and pianist Junie Price at the age of eight. They continued to occasionally perform together, into the 1980s, in night clubs all over the Northeast. Gabe’s background of “youthful crooning,” along with his years of acting and solo performing make him uniquely able to capture the ease and comfort on stage that typify the best of the crooners of bygone days.

For information, tickets or to reserve the Playhouse, stop by the Box Office at 326 Oak Street or call (828) 526-2695.

“Red October”

Three award-winning artists, Pat Calderone, Mase Lucas, and Julie Hilliard salute autumn in an exhibition entitled Red October. The opening reception is October 20th, 5:00 to 9:00 p.m. Work will be on display at Calderone’s Gallery, 3608 Highway 246 in Sky Valley, Georgia, next to Ed West Realty through Thanksgiving weekend.

Red, the color of passion, joy, and life’s essence, provides the emotional palette that bonds the work of these exceptional women. Calderone says, “This year many bold accomplishments have been achieved by each of us – as artists, as women, as friends.

Pat Calderone’s images invite rich interpretation, each telling a story as entertaining and deep as the viewer’s imagination. Frequently mystical, at times poignant, occasionally whimsical, always stirring, her artistic vocabulary spans a vast universe of internal experience, which she expresses masterfully on canvas.

Mase Lucas delights in representational forms: figures, landscapes, animals, particularly bears and equines for which she is best known. While that remains at her core, she also is exploring the abstract. She says, “I’ve always wanted to explore an inner vision that I felt could only be expressed in an abstract format. Difficult!  By using the techniques of color-into-color and layer-on-layer, I hope to evoke the hoped-for response. For me, the engaging process of abstract painting is itself a somewhat transcendental experience… totally absorbing… at once exhilarating and peaceful.”

Julie Hilliard finds something soul-satisfying about molding ordinary hunks of clay into something extraordinary, as evidenced in her sleek contemporary sculptural designs. Her style is strongly influenced by Nature and by iconic Asian vessels, ancient and modern. She says, “I strive to create beautiful objects that are gifts from the earth. I prefer forms with simple clean lines that include negative space and eye-catching glazes. Success is measured when my works have movement, and the fire ignites them with vitality.”

Three exceptional women, three unique visions, three powerful directions woven together with a red autumn thread. Join Calderone, Lucas, and Hilliard October 20th for a visual feast guaranteed to satisfy.

by Donna Rhodes


Sip and Stroll

Last year Sip & Stroll was a huge success. We recommended tickets to be purchased in advance.

Experience the wares of of Highlands’ fine shops, while tasting and enjoying a selection of wine & delightful edibles. Each stroller will start at the Highlands Chamber of Commerce and Visitor’s Center to receive a detailed map and their own souvenir wine glass with special carry bag. There will be a limit of twelve merchants this year which will encourage everyone to linger awhile longer and enjoy the homemade hors d’oeuvres, cheeses, and of course the wonderful selections of wines. There’s also an added bonus to visiting each merchant on the map. Strollers having completed the tour will be eligible for wonderful prizes including fine dining certificates, pottery and specialty wines. Sip, Stroll and Shop till you drop while enjoying everything fabulous in our beautiful downtown of Highlands.

Price: $35 per person. Can be purchased online at or by calling 1 (866) 526-5841.

Participating merchants include :4th Street Boutique, Acorn’s and Acorn on Church, Alyxandra’s Boutique, CK Swan

The Christmas Tree on Main, Drake’s Diamond Gallery, The Hen House, Highlands Fine Art and Estate Jewelry, Highland Hiker Shoes, Mountain Fresh Grocery, Oakleaf Flower and Garden, Spa Boutique at Old Edwards Inn, TJ Baileys, To the Nines, Vivace and Xtreme Threads.

Sixth Annual Culinary Weekend

Fall in Highlands has never looked better as we celebrate the Sixth Annual Highlands Culinary Weekend. This 4-day destination event, created by the Highlands Chamber of Commerce & Visitor Center, promises to be one of the highlights of the season. Join us as we embrace Highlands’ majestic mountain location, boundless activities, appealing accommodations, unique retail shops & extraordinary cuisine.

The weekend gains momentum with the not to be missed Opening Night Celebration, Thursday, November 8th, held at the esteemed Highlands Country Clubhouse. Beginning at 7:00 p.m., enjoy great music, a variety of wine tasting tables, and the delectable cuisine of Highlands’ local chefs. Throughout the weekend, fill you itineraries with an array of activities, cooking demonstrations, tastings and dinners hosted by area restaurants, merchants and accommodations. Plan to attend the annual Sip & Stroll, Saturday, November 10th from 11:00 a.m. –  5:00 p.m. in our beautiful downtown area. It’s impressive to see the creativity that goes into Highlands Culinary Weekend. This event has evolved and continues to grow with each new season. It’s truly a wonderful experience to see a community come together for this celebration of Highlands. We invite you to be a part of this grand affair.

The Opening Night Gala Celebration will once again be held at the esteemed Clubhouse of Highlands Country on Thursday, November 8th. Beginning at 7:00 p.m. sip, swirl and savor fine wines and craft beers while enjoying the delectable cuisines of Highlands’ local chefs. Enjoy live music and visual arts from local artists Virginia Parrot & Patty Calderone. This entire experience will be a chance to embrace culinary delight under one roof in the beautiful mountains of Highlands, North Carolina. Taste a must have wine? Mountain Fresh Grocery will be on hand at Opening Night to take your orders and arrange for delivery. Shuttle service will be provided from Highlands Recreation Park and Highlands Plaza to the Clubhouse at Highlands Country Club. Please utilize shuttle service for this event, as parking on site will be limited. 7:00 p.m. Tickets can be purchased at the door or in advance at or by calling 1 (866) 526-5841.

Friday, November 9th Events:

Event Name: “Eating and Drinking Tuscany” Cooking Class

Event Description: We will prepare iconic Tuscan food such as Crema Paradiso,  White truffle omelet, Pinzinmonio and Crispelle alla Fiorentina and drink Chianti Classico and modern Sangiovese blends.

Venue: Cyprus Open Kitchen
(828) 526-4429

Time: 12:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.

Price: $100 per person

Event Name: Farm Harvest Celebration and Barn Dance

Event Description: Fling open the barn doors and step back in time for a kicked-up version of an old mountain barn dance—Old Edwards Style. It’s a full-on evening of authentic mountain culture with farm-fresh bounty prepared live and served harvest style.  Sip craft beer and selected wines to whet your whistle for the lively band “Back Porch Orchestra.”

Venue: The Farm at Old Edwards Inn (828) 787-2625

Time: 6:30 p.m.

Price: $125 per person

Event Name: Schug Soiree at Lakeside Restaurant

Event Description: Join Lakeside Restaurant and California’s most celebrated winemakers, Schug Carneros Estate Winery with special guest, Axel Schug. Join us as we pair five courses of fabulous cuisine with the fine wines of Schug.

Venue: Lakeside Restaurant

(828) 526-9419

Time: 6:30 p.m.

Price: $125 plus tax and gratuity

Event Name: Craft 2 Table

Event Description: Bringing you the absolute best and hard to find in American Craft beers with Food Native to that Region. Great Food, Great Beer, Unforgettable Experience!

Venue: Ruka’s Table

(828) 526-3636

Time: 6:30pm

Price: $60 per person

Event Name: Lambert Bridge, Flavor Spectrum with Andy Wilcox

Event Description: Lambert Bridge wine and food tasting brought to the “nth” degree…

Venue: Wolfgang’s Restaurant
& Wine Bistro
(828) 526-3807

Time: 7:00 p.m.

Price: $95 plus tax and gratuity

Event Name: CADE/Plumjack Wine Dinner

Event Description: Join …on the Verandah as they host a wine dinner featuring the extraordinary, award winning wines of Napa Valleys, CADE and Plumjack.

Venue: …on the Verandah

(828) 526-2338

Time: Call for details

Price: Call for details

Event Name: Viva la France Dinner

Event Description: The Inn at Half Mile Farm is pleased to be partnering with Rosewood Market and Steve Pignatiello from Pignatiello Wine Importers. Extraordinary chefs from Rosewood Market will be preparing a fabulous multi-course French dinner; each course paired with one of the fine French wines, personally selected by sommelier, Steve Pignatiello.

Venue: Inn at Half Mile Farm
1 (800) 946-6822

Time: Wine & Hors d’oeuvres at 6:30 p.m., with Vive la France dinner at 7:00 p.m.

Price: $100 per person, plus tax & gratuity

Event Name: The Ugly Dog Pub Late Night Hang Out

Event Description: Join your friends at The Ugly Dog Pub for live music, seasonal cocktails & local beers.

Venue: The Ugly Dog Pub
(828) 526-8364

Saturday, November 10th Events: 

Event Name: MollyDooker Shake Up Part Two!

Event Description: Lakeside Restaurant is thrilled to once again feature the Australian wines of Sarah & Sparky Marquis, Mollydooker! Join Chef Marty Rosenfield and the Lakeside staff as they present, “The Mollydooker Shake.” Enjoy a remarkable five-course dinner paired with Mollydooker wines that promise to “Wow!”

Venue: Lakeside Restaurant

(828) 526-9419

Time: 6:30 p.m.

Price: $150 plus tax and gratuity

Event Name: Silver Oak Cellars & Twomey Wine Dinner “Life is a Cabernet!”

Event Description: We will be featuring Silver Oak and Twomey Cellars. Join us for a night of culinary memories and divine libations. It will be night to remember!

Venue: Wolfgang’s Restaurant & Wine Bistro

(828) 526-3807

Time: 7:00 p.m. Champagne & Appetizers, 7:30 p.m. Dinner

Price: $160 plus tax and gratuity

Event Name: Chefs Limited Menu: “Chillin with Nonya”;  A fivecourse menu of Sino-Malay rustic cooking from the straights of Malaca.

Event Description: This is a fun and easy-going exploration of coastal

Singapore and Malysian food which has been heavily influenced over the centuries by mixing with Chinese traders.

“Lots of Chilis, Shallots, Lemongrass, and Coconut”

Venue: Cyprus Open Kitchen

(828) 526-4429

Time: Reservations from 5:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.

Price: $69 per person

Event Name: Whitehall Lane Wine Dinner

Event Description: Join Chef Andrew Figel for a special evening featuring the wines of Whitehall Lane Winery.

Venue: …on the Verandah

(828) 526-2338

Time: Call for details

Price: Call for details

Event Name: The Ugly Dog Pub Late Night Hang Out

Event Description: Join your friends at The Ugly Dog Pub for live music, seasonal cocktails & local beers.

Venue: The Ugly Dog Pub

(828) 526-8364


Ristorante Paoletti

Discerning clients have counted on Paoletti’s on Main Street, Highlands since 1984 for consistently high-quality foods in a convivial atmosphere.  Add old-world charm and an unequalled level of service and you have a dining experience you will long remember.

Paoletti’s has become a destination restaurant, both for its food, and its exceptionally wide array of fine wines.  With one of the largest wine cellars in the Southeast, their offerings include fine, aged Barolo, Barbaresco, Brunello, Bordeaux & Burgundy, plus numerous delicious wines from America’s Napa and Willamette Valleys. Wine Spectator magazine has consistently awarded Paoletti’s 1,500+ selections their “Best of Award of Excellence” for the past 24 years.

Customers rave about the Maine Lobster Martini which hits the special card with frequency or the Seared Foie Gras.  A ‘Primi’ selection may include Duck Confit with Baby Greens, Dried Figs and House Vinaigrette or the Garden Arugula with Granny Smith apples, Oranges and Walnuts in a Citrus Vinaigrette.  Another appetizer option or a ‘Piatto Secondo’ if you choose, could be their daily, homemade Lobster Ravioli with a Brandied Nantua Sauce.  Yum!

The menu always includes a variety of super-fresh seafood either prepared as an appetizer or a main course.  Check out the daily specials to see how the chef has prepared the catch of the day.  No matter whether you choose the North Carolina Grouper, the Red Snapper, Local Rainbow Trout or one of the many other varieties they offer, you know you’ll be enjoying deliciously satisfying preparations.

Not to leave the carnivore in your party without sumptuous options, try one of Paoletti’s Lamb, Veal or the Beef entrees.  The ‘Charleston’ Lamb Loin, Braised Veal Short-Rib or Filet Mignon are offered nearly every night. Known to be the ‘Best in the Area’ is the Elk Rib Chop-flavorful, tender and succulent with a Port-Cassis Reduction. Highlanders in the know say, “Paoletti’s is the place’ to enjoy the finest, quality foods in a comfortably-elegant atmosphere.”  When you fail to make reservations, don’t despair.  Catch a stool at the cozy, 10-seat bar.  Yes, you can savor any of the items from their full menu while seated at the bar.

Top off your evening with a delectable dessert and an after-dinner coffee or liqueur. Some of my favorites are the Tiramisu or Seasonal Berries with Zabaglione-coated with Marsala Custard Cream. Chocolate lovers clamor for the Flourless Chocolate Torte or the Double Chocolate Chunk Gelato.  Find your favorite and indulge yourself!

Serving dinner nightly from 5:30 p.m.; for reservations call (828) 526-4906 or go online to Find their website for more photos and info at

Don’t take their word for it.  Check out for 300+ testimonials from past  and present patrons who wrote their own personal reviews. Highly recommended by local business owners and homeowners alike, be sure to call ahead as the popular dinner hour gets booked up early.  However busy you find it, you’ll certainly find it worth the wait if you walk in without a reservation.

by Wiley Sloan

Scaly Mountain Pancake Breakfast

The talented members of the Scaly Mountain Women’s Club are saving a stack for you at their Pancake Breakfast, slated for Saturday, October 27th.

Plan to bring your family and friends to Scaly Mountain for a scrumptious breakfast in the mountains at the historic old Scaly School House. The building is located on the corner of North Carolina Highway 106 and Buck Knob Road in “downtown Scaly.”

This is the eighth year that the women in Scaly Mountain Women’s Club have sponsored these breakfasts. They will feature a full meal of piping hot homemade pancakes (with or without blueberries), patty sausage, coffee and juice. Guests will be treated to a seated meal either in the old school house or on the deck overlooking the mountains when the weather is nice. Cost is $5.50 for adults and $3.50 for children. The breakfast will be cooked by members’ husbands and served by club members – or you may order takeout, if you choose.

Proceeds from the event provide scholarships for local students of all ages who wish to continue their post-secondary education. They also benefit area non-profit human service agencies that serve the Scaly Mountain community. Come to all six of the breakfasts and join the best cooks in Western North Carolina for a morning of fun – enjoying the friendly folks in Scaly Mountain and an unforgettable breakfast.

Come between 7:30 and 10:30 a.m. on  October 27th. Mark your calendar and don’t miss coming with your family and friends. For additional information, contact Susan Bankston at (828) 526-9952 or visit

A Spell Will be Cast Upon On the Verandah

Don’t be afraid, it’s On the Verandah’s Halloween Celebration.

On Wednesday October 31st, under the cover of darkness, join On the Verandah in taking a delicious bite out of the spookiest night of the year. Verandah’s regular menu will be available for the faint of heart, and those with a taste for the decadent can indulge in the specialties of the occasion.

Sink your fangs into one of Executive Chef Andrew Figel’s delectable entrees and appetizers prepared exclusively for the bewitching hour. Head Mixologist Trae Ellison will be brewing ghostly cocktails and serving seasonal beers straight from his cauldron.

A modern day monster mash will be starting at 7:00 p.m. to the tunes of the Mike Watson Band and going until the twilight hours.

There will be pumpkin decorating and special spooky fare for all little ghosts and goblins.

To add to the excitement there will be prizes for best couples costume and best individual costume. There will also be a special prize for the best-dressed little ghoul and goblin.

On the Verandah has something for everyone. From fresh caught seafood to dry-aged steaks prepared fresh nightly, accompanied by a signature wine from the over 200 available selections. Join them nightly for dinner from 6:00 p.m. Stop by before dinner to enjoy delicious small plates paired with signature cocktails nightly in the bar from 4:00 p.m. Finish your evening with a homemade dessert complimented by an after dinner cordial. Champagne Brunch on Sundays from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. featuring their signature Bloody Mary Bar.

For reservations call (828) 526-2338 or www., or visit Join us if you dare.

Dominick’s Restaurant

Dominick’s Restaurant is a quiet oasis with a kaleidoscopic menu in Wright’s Square on Highlands’ Main Street.

Taste-tempting food at reasonable prices in a casual, family-friendly atmosphere – that is Dominick’s Restaurant. A great place for lunch with friends or a casual dinner. Looking for something different in a hamburger?  Try their Blue Stuffed Burger- one-half pound of Angus Beef stuffed with blue cheese and bacon, then topped with lettuce, tomato, onion and pickle. That’s just one of several delicious burgers and a wide-array of sandwiches to feed your hunger pangs.

In addition to the delicious burgers, they offer a wide variety of great appetizers, salads and sandwiches.  Why not try their delicious Monte Cristo-scrumptious black forest ham and turkey on sourdough bread, dipped and battered, then cooked to perfection. Share that with your friend and add one of their delicious salads. Choose from the Chef Salad made with fresh Romaine, Iceberg combo topped with cheddar cheese, bacon, egg, ham, onions, olives, and tomato or the Caesar or House Salads.  Rumor has it that their Wild Mushroom Soup should get a 5-star rating.

Dinner at Dominick’s is a real treat for the whole family.  Carnivores love their 12-ounces hand cut Ribeye – a quality cut of meat at a wallet-saving price. There’s nothing better than their Pan-fried Trout or their Orange Marmalade Roasted Chicken. These are just a few of the items from their dinner menu. Don’t tell your children, but Dominick’s offers them nutritious foods that they will enjoy.

People in the know say that Dominick’s is Highlands’ hidden gem.  Jeannie Chambers tells me that she and husband Tucker really enjoy Dominick’s for a quiet, relaxing dinner after a hectic week.  Dr. Richard Carter says, “There’s no better place to find excellent food, at reasonable prices.  I’ve tried their burgers, steaks, tacos and various sandwiches. They are all good.”   It is always interesting to see the delicious Lunch Specials that Dominick’s offers.  A great meal for an all-inclusive price.

Open daily Tuesday through Saturday from 11:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m., Dominick’s is located at 137 Main Street in Wright’s Square, Highlands.  Call them at (828) 526-0527.

by Wiley Sloan

10-10-10 at Bella’s Cafe

To celebrate October, the 10th month of the year, Bella’s Junction Cafe is having a 10-10-10 feast at Sunday brunch.

Here’s how it works:

First, bring your church bulletin and receive 10 percent off your meal.

Second, 10 percent of Sunday sales for the month of October will go to the Sharing and Caring Center in Clayton, Georgia.

Third, Bella’s is only 10 minutes away from Highlands or Clayton, and you know their food is well-worth a 10-minute drive. Heck, chances are they are on the way home from church or recreation anyway. So spend October Sundays at Bella’s, save money, and feed the hungry –hungry you, and those less fortunate. It’s a ten-ten-ten win!

And if you are really, really hungry, take the Beast Challenge: six cheeseburgers with a bacon, egg, and cheese sandwich squeezed in the middle. Add a pound of fries. Pile on the condiments: lettuce, tomato, sautéed onions, and all the obligatory toppings and you are nose to bun with… drum roll, please… the Beast. Several have tackled it. But the Chosen One, the belly-busting master, has yet to surface. Spread the word. The 45-minute devour limit has been raised to a full hour. If you can eat it all in 60 minutes it’s free with a Bella’s tee shirt. Plus you get your name and photo on the wall of fame. Take the challenge. Conquer the Beast. Be the legend.

And during leaf season you can sit out on the patio and groove on the beautiful mountain scenery. Mother Nature has promised an exceptional year. Bring the kids. They’ll be fascinated with the cows that graze near the restaurant. There’s 10 of them… another reason to celebrate October’s tens. Did I mention on a scale of one to ten, Bella’s is practically eleven?

So check out Sundays at Bella’s. Brunch, with its mouthwatering waffles and scrumptious eggs Benedict, is served 8:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Bella’s Junction Cafe is located at 20 Old Mud Creek Road off the Dillard Road, near the old Sinclair sign in Scaly Mountain (828) 526-0803. It’s 10 minutes away from practically everything. Make it part of your Sunday routine. And visit during the week for a full menu of fabulous food, breakfast starting at 8:00 a.m., lunch at 11:00 a.m.

Great inTENtions change the world!

by Donna Rhodes

When Mother Nature Springs a Leak

The Great Flood of 1898.

Ten centuries ago, long before Europeans set foot in the region, the Cherokee inhabited Macon County. The Nikwasi Mound in downtown Franklin on the Little Tennessee River (then called the Tanase) is all that remains of their local presence.

The mound served as a village center on which a townhouse containing an eternal flame was built. It was the ceremonial heart of the village. The townhouse and mound sat atop a mystical underground land inhabited by the Nunnehi people.

The Nunnehi were benevolent to the Cherokee. They could shift their appearance to look like anyone. Cherokee folklore tells of a time when the Creek Tribe invaded their land. The Nikwasi Mound opened up, the Nunnehi leapt out and defeated the Creek. Another tale claims that during the Civil War the Nunnehi poured out of the mound to drive away Union Soldiers. It is doubtful they were siding with the Confederates… more likely, they were again driving away invaders. Both accounts make for a great yarn about a future routing of Franklin residents some dark and stormy night when they least expect it.

The Cherokee camped along the Little Tennessee for access to water, but every so often the river overflowed. There is little record of floods during the Cherokee occupation of Macon County, but the great flood of 1898, spawned by torrential rains, cut a swath down from the Highlands Plateau, overflowing all the area creeks and rivers. It nearly submerged the Nikwasi Mound. Only its tip remained visible.

Other floods have left their watermark on the region. Downpours in 1876 washed out mills and bridges on the Sugar Fork. Eight inches of rain fell in one day in mid-August in 1928, creating all kinds of havoc. In 1940 over nine inches fell on August 13th and two weeks later nearly 12 inches fell. Bridges and culverts washed out completely. Trees were falling like matchsticks and felling telephone and telegraph wires as they crashed. Dams burst, highways washed out. It caught people totally off guard. As resident Henry Baty said prior to the disaster, “Who ever heard of a flood in the highest incorporated town east of the Rockies? No sweat.” Famous last words.

Then, again… perhaps the Nunnehi were up to mischief. More likely, Mother Nature was having one of her infamous moments. Every so often, she springs a leak. But it’s worth the occasional torrent to live in such a beautiful region. As historian Ran Shaffner says, “It’s the price we pay for our beautiful green.”

To learn more about the region’s climate and folklore, read Heart of the Blue Ridge by Randolph Shaffner or visit the Highlands Historical Society’s website:

by Donna Rhodes

House Demolition Stopped in the Nick of Time

History on the move in Cashiers.

Off and on during the past decade, the Cashiers Historical Society has kept a close eye on the old Cashiers Valley house which sat on a small hill on the east side of Highway 107 South at the intersection of Whiteside Cove Road. The house, nicknamed “Crooked Corners” at some point, had been owned since about 1925 by Asheville’s Waddell family who used it primarily as a summer dwelling. The Historical Society’s interest was to discover and document the history of the house. When was it built? Who were the various owners of the house? The CHS, on many occasions, was allowed to go inside the house with interested historians who examined the inside and outside of the house and reported on the type of construction and dated the dwelling as c1850s. Just imagine, for parts of three different centuries, that building had sat there, a witness to the changes in the Valley.

By 2011, the Waddells made a decision to sell the old house and the six acres it sat on. The cost was too high for the Historical Society’s budget, although the need to preserve this piece of history was great. A search of deed records revealed the identity of every owner of “Crooked Corners.” They were, as follows:

First owner: Col. John A. Zachary’s 640 acre North Carolina Land Grant.

Second owners: Mordecai, Jonathan, and Woodford Zachary, the three youngest sons of Col. John A. Zachary acquired the 640 acres from their father in 1848.

Third owners: J. L. McGee and R. E. Ligon of Anderson, SC acquired the small house located on the six acres from Mordecai Zachary in 1892.

Fourth owners: In 1923, J. L. McGee and R. E. Ligon sold Crooked Corners to local Cashiers residents Warren S. Alexander and his wife, Lena.

Fifth owners:  In 1925,  Warren and Lena Alexander sold the house and six acres to Miss  Georgie (sic) Belknap, 4/5 undivided interest, and Mr. Charles Waddell, Jr., 1/5 undivided interest.

This spring, after negotiations with a large development company failed, Mr. John Rivers, owner of the Chattooga Club and sensitive to preservation, purchased the old house and property and gifted the house to the Cashiers Historical Society. In return, the society paid the cost of moving the structure to the grounds of the Zachary-Tolbert House. In two dramatic days a house moving company plus workers from the DOT, Duke Energy and others moved Crooked Corners a short distance down Highway 107 South. They turned right onto the Zachary-Tolbert House grounds, circled around the back of the big house and placed the smaller house on a new foundation among ancient mountain laurels and towering rhododendrons. It looks like it has been right there for the past 150 years. Stay tuned to learn what decisions will be made for the future interpretation of Crooked Corners.

Contributed by Jane Gibson Nardy, Historian, Cashiers Historical Society

The Crown Jewel

Located at the top of Old Edwards Club, surrounded by the National Forest, the home was the 2011 Showcase Home for the Highlands Playhouse and enjoys panoramic views of Shortoff Mountain, Yellow Mountain, Pinchot, Mountain Top and more.  A massive front door with curvy glass reminiscent of elegant European Manor houses welcomes you.  Wide-plank walnut flooring melds with the textured wall finishes.  Touches of Tudor style combine with the grandeur of a Lodge to create warmth and comfort whether you are entertaining the entire family or just your best friend.

Enjoy the warmth of the Great Room’s stacked stone fireplace as you follow the setting sun through the wall of floor-to-ceiling glass doors.  Slide the doors back to allow friends and family to enjoy the spacious “infinity” deck (the railing is lower to optimize the views).  Relax for hours listening to the birds or warm your feet at the deck’s stone fireplace.

The well-stocked bar and wine cellar are located near the great room and kitchen areas.  Exquisitely-designed cabinetry surrounds the cook center to provide ample storage for all of your family treasures.  A six-burner gas Viking stove makes meal prep a breeze. Meal time is always special when friends and family gather in the dining room with its own gas fireplace.

Adjacent to the kitchen is a sumptuously-appointed guest suite which is the perfect spot to re-energize before heading off for another adventure.  The home’s laundry area includes walls of cabinetry, a workspace for all your quilting and sewing projects plus a place to arrange flowers and the lady’s home office.  For the man of the house, there’s another spacious office with custom woodwork and 50-mile views that make it hard to concentrate on daily tasks.

The main floor Master Suite is your paradise. Double French doors open to a private section of the home’s large deck.  The see-through fireplace provides glimpses into the spacious master bath with his and her water closets and double vanities. No amenity has been overlooked here.  Custom cabinetry provides eye-candy while hiding all your personal toiletry items.  Walk-in closets provide out-of-season storage and a place for everything.  You even have your own washer, dryer and refrigerator discretely tucked away.

You enjoy opulence and style and your guests to do. The home’s upper level is magnificent. Three guest suites, each with their own private bath, pamper them. They enjoy  their own Pub area where they can gather for their favorite beverage or a quick snack.  The guest gathering room is the perfect spot where friends can visit and cheer for their favorite sports teams.

Although the homeowners provided their own design expertise, assisting them are some of the area’s premiere talent including architect Rand Soellner; Koenig Builders; interior designer -Darren Whatley; and Blackrock Granite.

This magnificent five bedroom, five and one-half bath home is a joy to behold.  Call Tom Goldacker of Meadows Mountain Realty at (828) 526-1717 to schedule your own private showing.

by Wiley Sloan

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Contributed by Jim Johnson, DC, DACBN & Resa Johnson, DC, DACBN, Mountain Air Wellness (828) 743-9070

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome may manifest with many varied symptoms. Numbness, pain, or tingling in the thumb or palm of the hand, deterioration of the muscle under the thumb, weakness in grip, pain extending to the elbow and weakness in one or both hands can all be signs of carpal tunnel syndrome.  The tingling or pain can affect the thumb, first and second fingers.  Many of these symptoms are worse at night. The carpal tunnel is a narrow canal, formed by the small bones of the wrist, and inflammation and swelling can cause pressure on the nerve and result in these symptoms.  Frequently the wrist and hand discomfort is from the muscles of the forearm getting tight and pinching the nerve before it gets to the wrist.  Incidences of carpal tunnel syndrome increase with more people performing repetitive movements such as assembly work, word processing, writing, working with tools that vibrate, playing certain musical instruments, tennis, golf, and even driving.  Avoiding and reducing repetitive wrist movements combined with the use of tools and equipment during repetitive activities and utilizing frequent breaks, do help avoid the onset of carpal tunnel syndrome.

But what can be done when carpal tunnel syndrome has already presented symptoms?  Surgery should be a last resort. Cashiers Chiropractic and Acupuncture can implement natural remedies for relief of anguishing symptoms. Chiropractic care may include manipulation of the soft tissues and body joints of the arms and spine with special attention to the small bones of the wrist, ultrasound over the carpal tunnel, Graston Technique, Active Release, and possibly nighttime wrist supports. After an exam and proper diagnosis, acupuncture and acupressure therapy may be prescribed.  Working in partnership with your chiropractic physician will result in optimal health and relief of pain!  If you think you have carpal tunnel syndrome, call and schedule an appointment.

Contributed by  Jim Johnson, DC, DACBN & Resa Johnson, DC, DACBN, Mountain Air Wellness (828) 743-9070


Ladies and Ladybugs

It’s not often that you can escape into a fantasy world, but for those of you lucky enough to know Diane McPhail, you know it’s not luck but her ability to take the mundane and create a backdrop of fantasy.

Every year we try to come up with a theme for a woman’s slumber party. This year Diane thought our theme should be Ladybugs. So we joined forces and came up with a night full of friendship, food, creativity and just good old-fashioned fun.

We all brought a dish and of course it was all centered on Ladybugs. Bread with butter shaped into a half-dome and detailed with spots like a ladybug’s. Deviled eggs with the filling tinted red and dotted with olives. Ladybugs on crackers, which was plum tomatoes sliced in half lengthwise and facing down, spread apart like two wings, and lying on a bed of pesto.

Our entree was Ladybugs’ favorite food — vegetables! Linda Clark took the challenge of preparing our entree, a dish that ladybugs would salivate over, and that we did.

LuLu’s Bakery of Atlanta supplied the dessert which was a cake in the form of a playground for ladybugs. The food was paired with a ladybug libation of Prosecco for bubbles, pomegranate juice for color, and floating blackberries for the ladybug spots garnish.

The challenge was our attire for the evening. Of course, the color of the night was black and red and our goal was to look like ladybugs.

Dian Winingder arrived from New Orleans to escape Hurricane Isaac, with red boas for all. We were definitely well-dressed ladybugs ready for a night out on the town.

McPhail being the artist and teacher supplied each of us with a white mug and a black and red magic marker to create a memento of our evening together. Drawing was never one of my strong points and watching the ladies I knew I was out of my league. So I commissioned, or pleaded with the ladies to share their artistic skills on my mug.

The night was far from over. After dinner we settled down to a table of beads, of course ladybug beads. Necklaces, earrings and bracelets were designed. That night we all settled down to our beds with a ladybug on our pillow. Mind you, not a real ladybug but just one to send us sweet dreams.

If you would like to see the “Highlands Ladybugs” in action we plan on reenacting our parties this Halloween in Highlands, better still let me know if you would like to join in our festivities. We are already in the initial planning stages for our 2013 slumber party.

Why Adjustments?

Contributed by Dr. Sue Aery, Aery Chiropractic & Acupuncture (828) 526-1022

Do you get adjusted? Have you been to a chiropractor?

Many times per week I see new patients who have never been adjusted. This is a common scenario in my office and I am often asked, “Why get adjusted? What does it do?”

This is a great question and one that I am happy to answer with my own story. My first experience with chiropractic care came when I was in my early 20s, working as a tennis professional. One day I woke up and could not lift my racquet, much less swing a forehand. I had no strength and plenty of pain in my shoulder but without any obvious cause of injury.

A friend said, “You need to go see my chiropractor and he will fix you in no time.”

I did just that. The chiropractor asked me lots of questions, did an exam on me and then explained why I had pain and weakness — ultimately a pinched nerve in my neck. He then explained how an adjustment would help my problem and get me back out on the court quickly. Since there had been no major trauma and this had appeared one morning after getting out of bed, he adjusted my spine and the next day I was on the court again, swinging my forehand with ease. So I became an instant believer in what a spinal adjustment could do.

A chiropractic adjustment is really one way of many to communicate with the very powerful nervous system that controls everything in our body. Nerves are like electrical wires that travel throughout the body controlling various functions. Some of these functions include movement, balance, strength, fine motor skills, sensory to hot and cold and finally recognition of pain. When there is interference in this system, just like in your house or your car, problems ensue. Problems can be minor or major aches and pains, loss of balance, sensory function and even coordination. When signals are interrupted in the body, the problem can get worse without intervention of some kind. A chiropractic adjustment, barring serious disc injury or joint instability, can correct this interruption of signals and allow the body over a period of time to continue making its own corrections back to normal.

Contributed by Dr. Sue Aery, Aery Chiropractic & Acupuncture (828) 526-1022

Steamboating is Back

Contributed by Jodi L. Moore, Travel Specialist Cruise Planners (828) 743-3936

It’s been far too long since you’ve had the opportunity to explore America’s rivers on a genuine steamboat. With the formation of the American Queen Steamboat Company, steamboating is back and better than ever.

In April of 2012, the grand American Queen resumed her proud role of taking guests on Steamboating adventures through the heartland of America. Once again, we are able to enjoy these unforgettable river voyages with our family and friends.

We offer all the adventures and amenities that have made steamboating such a cherished American tradition—the history and heritage, the warm ambiance of a floating antebellum mansion, the thrill of exploring Mark Twain’s America, the succulent dining, the showboat-style entertainment and dancing the night away to the sounds of swing, big band, New Orleans Jazz and Delta Blues music, and live storytelling by regional authors, historians and performers that create our own “edutainment” experiences. Combine this with gracious service from our all-American staff, and you have an experience that can only be found aboard the American Queen.

We’ve also added a host of new features to make steamboating vacations more of a value than ever before. For example, a deluxe hotel night ashore, select shore excursions and an alternate dining venue onboard are all now included in the price of your voyage. We’re also offering complimentary soft drinks, bottled water, and wines and beers at dinner. And you’ll be delighted to know that the American Queen features the acclaimed cuisine of famed American chef Regina Charboneau.  On February 14th, 2013 please join us for an eight-day adventure from Memphis to New Orleans. The theme will be Big Bands, featuring Harry James, Artie Shaw and The Platters. This is a fund raiser for The Highlands Playhouse who will be celebrating their 75th anniversary in 2013.  A donation will be made to the Playhouse for every cabin that is booked.

Contributed by Jodi L. Moore, Travel Specialist Cruise Planners (828) 743-3936

Body Mind Connect

Ashby Underwood-Garner is a Rolf Practitoner and Certified Yoga Teacher at Yoga Highlands. To contact her by email,

A healthy body, a healthy mind:  I heard a good friend say just yesterday that being healthy is a moment of equilibrium that we find, when it “all comes together,” before we begin moving back into imbalance.  When we are infants, we begin developing our relationship to gravity, by rolling, lifting our heads, sitting, crawling, pulling up to stand.  Balancing upright and moving with grace requires the perfect combination of effort and release.  If we are all born with this capacity, then what happens to the coordination along the way?

31 million Americans experience back pain at any given time, says the American Chiropractic Association, and most of those are for mechanical or non-organic reasons, rather than inflammatory arthritis, infection, fracture, or cancer.  Why are we holding ourselves “back”?  Stiffness and reduced range of motion can be attributed to learned inhibitions, fears, unhappiness, and feelings of being stuck in a situation. It is an individual process of discovery, and no one person can tell another exactly what is going on just by looking from the outside.  One way to find your answer is by learning to breathe, feel, and tune out the outer noise through meditation or relaxation.

In our culture, we use the expression “Going with the Flow.” Primarily, fluid movement is the relationship of structure, function, and buoyancy within the earth’s gravitational field.  In the human body, there is one major organ that brings it all together: connective tissue.  Connective tissue or fascia is the organ of shape.  It is the fabric of fibers which holds all of our muscles, bones, nerves, organs in a cohesive, flexible bond.  All parts relate to the whole through this supportive fabric.  It is literally a web which balances the right relationship postural support and healthy expression of our ideas and movement.  Any restriction in this connective web can affect the threads throughout the rest of the body, due to injury, emotional trauma, surgery, and even mindset.  The Body-Mind connection starts with balancing this fabric to restore comfortable uprightness, feet down and head up, and moving the breath consciously in between.

Ashby Underwood-Garner is a Rolf Practitoner and  Certified Yoga Teacher at Yoga Highlands. To contact her by email,


Try a Luxury Line

Contributed by Bryan & Tricia Cox - CruiseOne Independent Vacation Specialists (828) 356-7920

Every cruise line proudly states how it pampers its passengers in luxury regardless of budget or expense.  However, when you experience true luxury cruising, you are entering the world of nearly telepathic service where crew and staff are highly trained to anticipate your every need and respond quickly and courteously to every request.


The staff to passenger ratio is exceptionally high on luxury cruise ships. Regent’s ship, the Seven Seas Voyager, carries only 700 passengers but has 445 staff onboard.  With this type of ratio, service becomes intuitive.  Did you order decaf cappuccino on your first night out? It will be there without asking at your next meal. Would you like six pillows instead of three? No problem. Do you want to be met by limo in port? Done.

When it comes to the luxury ships themselves, you will find rare woods, fine fabrics and leathers, expensive art, Limoges, Villeroy or Boch china, Christofle silverware, Frette linens, expansive wine cellars, down pillows and comforters, personalized stationery, well-appointed public areas and larger than average accommodations or suites.

Ultra-deluxe ships come in all sizes and their destinations span the world.  From ocean going vessels such as the 208- passenger Seabourn Legend or Cunard’s Queen Mary 2 which holds 2,620 passengers to river cruising vessels such as AMAWaterways 148-passenger AmaCello.  With extensive itineraries to almost every corner of the globe, many of these luxury vessels travel to ports that are rarely visited by other cruise ships and often they have extended stays in several ports, giving you the opportunity to immerse yourself in a destination.

Another area where luxury vessels set themselves apart from the mass market is in their truly gourmet dining experiences.  Oceania has paired with Master Chef Jaques Pepin. Silversea lays claim to an affiliation with the prestigious Relais and Chateaux L’Ecole des Chefs.  Uniworld has teamed up with Master Chef Bernard Zorn, and has been recognized by ZAGAT for top dining in the cruise industry.  Needless to say, with the culinary programs available onboard these deluxe ships, you will be hard pressed to go hungry.

Whether you are seeking a more traditional ocean going luxury liner, a vessel that takes you down some of the world’s most beautiful rivers, a masted ship experience with her billowing sails, or a private yacht to any number of exotic destinations, the world of luxury cruising awaits you.

Contributed by Bryan & Tricia Cox – CruiseOne Independent Vacation Specialists (828) 356-7920