The Malpass Brothers at PAC

The Malpass Brothers bring their no-holds-barred  brand of music to Highlands/Cashiers with a  performance March 29 at the Performing Arts Center.

The Malpass Brothers bring their no-holds-barred
brand of music to Highlands/Cashiers with a
performance March 29 at the Performing Arts Center.

“…momentum is growing as fast as their sideburns. They’re as authentic as country ham and red-eye gravy – and things just don’t get much better than that.”
These are just some of the things their fans are saying about the Malpass Brothers.
These North Carolina natives — Chris, 27 and Taylor, 23 — are the real deal in traditional country music. Touring as the opening act for music legend Merle Haggard has broadened their introduction to audiences across America, and their ArtsMarket showcase this fall ripped the barn roof off. They’ve made festival appearances in Northern Ireland and The Shetland Islands, and the title cut video from their album “Memory That Bad” topped the chart at Number Seven in CMT’s Pure Country.
Gifted musicians and songwriters, the brothers have recorded three gospel and three country music projects, and have shared the stage with artists including Ray Price, Willie Nelson, Rhonda Vincent, Marty Stuart, Doc Watson and more.
Chris and Taylor were born to be on stage, promoting the work and music of artists they treasure while creating new music and making their own mark in the lineage of a rich cultural heritage.
“Music is what we love and it’s what we do,” says Chris. “Traditional country music is the heart and soul of what makes us who we are.”
See the Malpass Brothers live at 7:30 P.M. Saturday, March 29, at Highlands Performing Arts Center. Tickets are $20 and are available online at or by calling (828) 526-9047. Highlands PAC is located at 507 Chestnut Street in Highlands.

Contributed by Mary Adair Leslie

Betsy Paul Art Raffle

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

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

Tranny Robinson is delighted to offer her sixth painting, a water color of horses, for the March art raffle to benefit the Cashiers-Glenville
Fire Department.
After a long career as a registered nurse, Tranny became a self-taught artist with God’s help. Her favorite media is water color. Her paintings have been shown in Brevard art shows, Sapphire Valley art and craft shows, and South Carolina State Fairs. She and her husband make their home in Sapphire Valley and Columbia,
South Carolina.
Viewers are invited to see each month’s raffle item on display from 9:00 AM. to 5:00 P.M., Monday through Saturday at Betsy Paul Properties, 870 Highway 64 West, Cashiers, North Carolina. Tickets may be purchased at her office, or donations 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.

The Bascom

Artwork by Cynthia Strain

Artwork by Cynthia Strain

It’s the perfect season for indoor fun, and The Bascom has a sizzling lineup of exhibitions, classes and events to warm you up!
Don’t miss the current exhibition, Regional Art Leagues, on view until March 30. This fascinating exhibit showcases the talents of selected artists juried by the regional art guilds and organizations. Come and vote on the artwork that will win the People’s Choice awards—revealed at the closing reception on Saturday, March 29, from 5:00 to 7:00 P.M.
Also displayed are artworks by The Bascom Instructors and The Bascom Youth Instructors, through April 13. These dedicated artists share their amazing talents with adults and children through The Bascom’s education programs throughout the year. Join them for the reception on Saturday, March 29, from 5:00 to 7:00 P.M.
Mark your calendar for the Making Waves exhibition, March 8 to May 18, in time for the spring and summer seasons, when getting out on mountain lakes for recreation is a favorite activity. The exhibition coincides with Highlands’ Three River Fly Fishing Tournament, and displays handcrafted wooden boats, handmade bamboo rods, paddles, antique outboard motors, reels and flies. Highlands’ location offers pristine watersheds with scenic mountain views, described by the 1989 Land Use Plan as “magnificent beauty and the unusual attraction” of its rich biological diversity. The closing reception for Making Waves will be held on Saturday, May 3, from 5:00 to 7:00 P.M.
One of the most popular events in the Highlands-Cashiers area is The Bascom’s Barn Dance, Saturday, March 22, from 7:00 to 10:00 P.M. For only $5 per person, enjoy country, contra, square dancing and more, live bluegrass music and a world-class caller. Shake off those winter blues!
The Bascom is open year-round, Monday through Saturday, 10:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M., and Sunday, noon to 5:00 P.M. Admission to exhibitions is always free! For more information, to register for workshop offerings, or for more details on all Bascom activities, visit or call (828) 526-4949.

Contributed by Pat Turnbull

Turn it Up


highlands_nc_warren_carpenter_bowlWarren Carpenter, designer, homebuilder, and wood turner, has won just about every award one can attain in the field of construction in his adopted state of South Carolina. He has served as president of the Homebuilders Association. He was selected Builder of the Year three times. Following those recognitions, he was inducted into the South Carolina Housing Hall of Fame. And to top it all off, he was recipient of the Order of the Palmetto, the highest award presented to a resident of South Carolina. If it can be constructed, sculpted, or turned, this Carpenter can do it, and do it in grand style.
After running a successful construction business for 30 years, he returned to his roots as designer and sculptor, taking a turn for the artistic. His intro to wood-turning was pure happenstance . . . or maybe it was fate. When his daughters were teens, he and his wife took a weekend get away. The highlight of the trip was a visit to a wood-turner in North Georgia. Even though Carpenter knew wood inside and out, the woodturning allowed him to experience the beauty of wood in a completely new way. On their way back home he turned to his wife and said, “Now I know what I am going to do with the rest of my life.”
So for the last 15 years, he has defined himself as woodturner doing demonstrations all over the Eastern Seaboard and turning out bowls, vessels, quilts and sculptures that are currently exhibited in nearly a score of Southern galleries.
Did I say quilts? Yes, shapes arranged and pieced together as one would fabric, only these pieces are laminated wood and every bit as stunning as grandma’s double wedding ring.
One of his favorite stories is the reverse roles he and his father played. He says, “My dad wasn’t really into wood. In the mid 1970’s he moved us from New York to the Carolinas. I worked with him to create a cabinet business. Over time, I developed my own home building business. My construction company grew so quickly that we closed the cabinet shop. My dad came onboard to help me. His health began to deteriorate about the time I took up wood turning. After I practiced turning for a few months he asked me to teach him. He immediately fell in love with it. I am convinced it added years to his life. So instead of a father teaching his son a trade, the son taught his dad cabinetry, home building, and woodturning. In addition to giving him a passion to live for, it brought us very close together, and I am deeply grateful for those extended years with him.”
Carpenter belongs to Full Moon Artists who collectively have four studios from Seneca to Walhalla, South Carolina. Twice a year, May and December, they have a studio tour. This year from 10:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M. May 17 and 18, enjoy a day trip to Walhalla and take the tour. Locally you can see Carpenter’s work in Tsartistry Gallery on the Highlands Road, Franklin, (828) 524-5359. Visit his website, Contact him there for a studio appointment. You never know what will turn up!

by Donna Rhodes

Cover Artist Taylor White


Highlands_NC_Great_White_EgretHighlands_NC_Alpha_and _Omega

Highlands_NC_Country_HarmonyMost artists load their brushes with paint, but one could argue Taylor White paints with pure light.
Her work is so exquisitely luminescent, it is no wonder she has taken numerous best-of-show awards. The details of the wildlife she portrays in oils are astoundingly realistic. Judges, collectors, and viewers are mesmerized by her compositions and painting style.
Even though she has painted for three decades, it still delights her that people are drawn to her work. She says, “I am a realist and it is a joy to be able to do what I do and have someone enjoy it enough to give me money for it.”
Composition comes naturally to her. Having grown up in the rural regions of Alabama in a family of naturalists, her choice of subjects was and continues to be indigenous wildlife, particularly waterfowl. She says, “I was raised in the country and I love all things country. I was taught to respect nature even when that wasn’t fashionable. We were told that things were given to us and should be appreciated and respected.”
One of White’s passions is scouting wildlife for photo reference. It might take a dozen photographic elements to inspire one painting, using a tree from one, a particularly elegant feather from another, and a tilt of the head from a third.
Her favorite subjects are herons, geese, egrets, hawks, pelicans, and any wild or domestic animal that came into her field of vision. She and her husband love to travel, so new vistas and wildlife are welcome additions to her photographic reference library. Only photos she has taken are integrated into her pieces.
White is a stickler for accuracy. Sometimes she spends years on a painting, waiting for just the right snapshot to complete a work. It took 10 years to gather all the photos needed to paint a mother fox, her den, and her kits.
Her work, displayed throughout the United States and Canada has won many awards including Best of Shows and Best of Category for competitions sponsored by the Alabama Wildlife Federation. In addition, she has contributed to a variety of publications including Wildlife Art News, Sporting Classic (featuring hunters and their dogs), Alabama Conservation, Alabama Wildlife, Golfer’s Digest, Southeastern Art Showcase, California Sports Magazine, and the cover of Covey Rise Magazine. You can even find her work on tee shirts, greeting cards, and bank checks.
Recently, Artists for Conservation, an international non-profit organization of wildlife artists that spans five continents and 27 countries published three of her paintings in two coffee table books.
A couple of years ago the Wildlife Federation had an art competition. They wanted something absolutely Alabama. It was due December. She says, “By the end of November I still didn’t have any solid ideas. For Thanksgiving I had 30 people at my house for dinner. Out of the blue one of the grandkids yelled, ‘What is that yellow thing out in the tree?’”
I saw a blur. “Is that the old yellow cat?”
someone asked.
“’That’s not a cat!’ I said. ‘That is a hawk!’ I left dinner, raced out the door with my camera in hand, and got the shots I needed for my entry. You never know when Mother Nature will dish up exactly what you want.”
To see more of Taylor White’s dramatic paintings visit her website at or Mountain Mist Gallery in Cashiers. Join the scores of collectors who bask in her magical light.

by Donna Rhodes

Earth Day in Highlands

The Smokey Shrew (Sorex Fumeus ). Photo by Patrick Brannon

The Smokey Shrew (Sorex Fumeus ). Photo by Patrick Brannon

The Highlands Biological Station is hosting activities to celebrate Earth Week in April.
Spend the eve of Earth Week in the Highlands Botanical Garden for the “Earth Day of Service Volunteer Day” on Saturday, April 19 from 10:00 A.M. to 4:00 P.M. All ages are welcome to help maintain the health and beauty of the Botanical Garden, so please bring the family to work with the Garden’s horticulturists for the whole day or a time slot that suits you. Lunch and tools will be provided. Contact our horticulturists at (828) 526-0188 to find out about planned tasks, to R.S.V.P, or with questions.
On April 22 from 7:00 to 8:00 P.M., Nature Center director Patrick Brannon will present a talk on the impact of discarded bottles along our mountain roads on the mortality of small mammals. Learn simple ways to help save the shrews! Each year, many shrews and rodents enter bottles in search of food or water and become entrapped, resulting in the deaths of hundreds of animals over time. Brannon will discuss the research he and his students have conducted to examine the severity of this phenomenon in our region, and how you can help alleviate the problem. This lecture is appropriate for all ages and is free.
Celebrate Arbor Day at the Botanical Garden with a “Living with Trees” tour guided by Horticulturist Ezra Gardiner on Friday, April 25 from 2:00 to 4:00 P.M. Gardiner will discuss noteworthy trees of the Highlands Plateau, as well as their identification, residential use and care. In the spirit of Arbor Day, visitors will leave with a native tree to take home and plant. Contact Gardiner at (828) 526-0188 or to R.S.V.P. or with any questions. Volunteers are welcome any time in the Botanical Garden, Herbarium or propagation program.
All of these activities are free and open to the public. For more information about these and other events, visit Visitors are always welcome to the offices at 265 North Sixth Street, or call the foundation at (828) 526-2221.

Contributed by Michelle S. Ruigrok

Tour de Cashiers

This year’s Tour de Cashiers will be held Saturday, May 3.

This year’s Tour de Cashiers will be held Saturday, May 3.

Sporting a new logo in its 22nd year, the annual Tour de Cashiers Mountain Cycling Experience will be held on Saturday, May 3 across scenic mountain byways of western North Carolina. The popular pedaling event is expected to attract more than 300 participants from the southeast, many returning every year for the traditional spring ride.
Cyclists will follow one of three routes of up to 100 miles across Jackson, Macon and Transylvania Counties riding steep climbs and fast descents over 10,500 feet-plus of elevation changes.
The ride will kick off at 9:00 A.M. from The Village Green Commons. Online registration is open at On-site registration and post-event festivities will be held at the Commons pavilion.
The Century route will start at Cashiers and run through Toxaway, Balsam Grove and Tuckasegee and across Cullowhee Mountain Road, Elijay, Walnut and Pine Creek Roads. It will wind down Yellow Mountain to Norton Roads and cross the finish line back at the Green.
The Metric 62-mile route will run from the crossroads at US Highway 64 north on NC Highway 107 through Glenville, turning onto Pine Creek Road and finally traveling Highlands Road and Highway 64 to the finish.
The Quarter Century 25-mile route will follow the Metric to Pine Creek Road, then diverge onto North Norton and Norton Roads to return to Highway 64.
Returning riders will be welcomed back at the finish line with a hearty meal, drink and even a hot shower at the nearby Cashiers-Glenville Recreation and Community Centers. Participants also receive a commemorative tee shirt.
Proceeds from the Tour support local community and economic development through the Cashiers Area Chamber according to executive director Stephanie Edwards. For more information, visit, call (828) 743-5191 or email

Highlands Youth Theater

Thanks to an innovative program between the Martin-Lipscomb Performing Arts Center Youth Theater and Highlands High School,  local students will explore the magic of drama, culminating with a public performance April 24-27.

Thanks to an innovative program between the Martin-Lipscomb Performing Arts Center Youth Theater and Highlands High School,
local students will explore the magic of drama, culminating with a public performance April 24-27.

As an outgrowth of the PAC Youth Theater program, Highlands High School will offer a Theater Class to students beginning this semester. The students will receive credit on their transcripts.
The PAC Youth Theater program was initiated because there is no theater arts class taught in our area schools. The program began over six years ago under the direction of
Dr. Ronnie Spilton.
Highlands High School principal Brian Jetter and Spilton collaborated to be able to offer this course. The state curriculum for theater classes was researched; a grant was applied for (and granted from the Community Foundation of Western North Carlolinas and a “teacher of record” was found. The students will be bused from the school to PAC three days a week and Kelly Pla will teach the class at the school the other two days. Ms. Pla is an English teacher at Highlands School.
The PAC Youth Theater program begins its seventh year this month. This after-school program is open to all local students in grades 8 through 12 at no charge. It offers instruction in all aspects of theater, technical and performance, backstage and front of house. The culminating performances will be at PAC, April 24-27. Tickets will be available online at or by calling (828) 526-9047.
PAC is grateful for everyone who has supported the PAC Youth Theater program over the years — the Rotary Club of Highlands, Mountain Findings, the Macon County Community Fund, the “H” Foundation, the Cullasaja Women’s Outreach, the Eckerd Family Foundation, and the Killian Foundation, plus the numerous individuals who have helped make this program a success by donation and volunteering.
We are so pleased that the program has grown and developed to enter its seven year and going strong. Highlands PAC is located at 507 Chestnut Street in Highlands.

Contributed by Mary Adair Leslie

Annual Rotary Golf Tournament

Last year’s winners:  J.M. Shannon, Terry Potts,  Mike Shannon and Tim O’Connor.

Last year’s winners: J.M. Shannon, Terry Potts,
Mike Shannon and Tim O’Connor.

There’s no better way to welcome spring than to join your fellow golfers in the Rotary Club’s 25th Annual Golf Tournament, set for Monday, May 5, at Highlands Country Club. Registration is at 10:00 A.M. with a shotgun start at 11:00 A.M. Plan to get in a few practice swings at the driving range or try your putting on the practice green before the competition begins.
Foursome teams will play a four man scramble or captain’s choice. The Donald Ross-designed course was once the home of famed amateur golfer Bobby Jones. This is a great opportunity to play the oldest and most prestigious course in our area. Show your golf prowess on this course, which has challenged many fine golfers throughout the years. Mulligans can be purchased for $5 each. In addition to a number of raffle prizes, you will be awarded a prize if you are closest to the pin or have the longest drive. Enjoy a delicious lunch at the turn.
Proceeds from this event allow the Rotary Club to support their many charitable projects. Throughout the years, the Tournament has raised more than $100,000 to support community projects like the Student Foreign Exchange Program, the Literacy Council, local Boy Scout Troop, the Peggy Crosby Center, Hudson Library, plus many other community groups.
Registration for each player is $150. Make your reservations now by contacting Rotarian Joyce Baillargeon at (828) 526-2181 or (828) 421-3551 or If you’re not able to play but would like to support the Rotary Club with a hole or corporate sponsorship, contact Joyce. There’s no better way to promote your business and support our community than a fun game of golf at the Rotary Tournament.

By Wiley Sloan

Highlands NC Chili Cook-Off

Highlands Chili Cook offLet’s face it – by the time March rolls around, we’re all a little desperate for a bit of spice. Winter’s gone on forever and the blush of color that was Valentine’s Day seems like a million years in the past.
That’s why the Highlands Chamber of Commerce’s Annual Chili Cook-off, slated for 6:30 P.M. to 9:30 P.M. Saturday, March 15, at the Community Building (Conference Center) is always such a welcome part of the
social calendar.
The Cook-off brings more than a small measure of heat to this grayest month. It’s a night of piquant experiences, music and dancing, and refreshments to match
the excitement.
You’ll be treated to a full spectrum of culinary delights, ranging from the comfortable embrace of a down home corn bread recipe to a beguiling salsa to a spoonful of chili that calls to mind a firestorm of biblical proportions. Add in music that demands a trip to the dance floor and you have the formula for an evening as irresistible as a neon “Good Food” sign blinking on a frigid winter’s night.
As for the lineup of the chilies themselves – it’s a palate-pleasing spectrum that ranges from the sublimely spiced to the tongue searing. It’s a recipe for the hottest night of the winter. To cool everything off, soft drinks, beer and wine will be served.
There’ll be prizes awarded for Most Unique Chili, Most Traditional, and Hottest; Best Salsa, and Best Cornbread; and Best All-Round Table Decorations.
Tickets are $20 and will be sold at the door the evening of the event. Children 12 and under get in for free.
“If you’re interested in being a competitor, call me at (828) 526-2112,” says Jennifer Cunningham of the Highlands Chamber of Commerce.

By Luke Osteen

Three River Fly Fishing Tournment

Highlands’ Annual Three River Fly Fishing Tournament is set for May 1-3,

Highlands’ Annual Three River Fly Fishing Tournament is set for May 1-3,

Just as you’d guess, the bold streams that have shaped Highlands and drawn generations of visitors are home to wily schools of rainbow and brown trout.
That’s what makes Highlands’ Annual Three River Fly Fishing Tournament, set for May 1-3, such a natural fit on the town’s Event Calendar. The tourney is open to all anglers of all skill levels, and there are guided and
non-guided competitions.
Funds raised benefit the Town of Highlands Scholarship Fund, which provides scholarships for Highlands High School graduates.
The $500 entry fee for two-person teams includes an invitation to the opening night reception, lunches, a closing night dinner with prizes, and a fishing goody bag. Among the prizes offered by sponsors are weekend getaways, golf outings, dinners, fly rods and reels, waders, wading boots and
fishing gear.
Participants will range among 2,000 miles of public stream. Teams will fish one native, one hatchery supported, and one
delayed-harvest stream.
Space is limited. Only the first 50 teams to register will be able to participate. Deadline for registration is April 1.
To register or receive more information, visit or call the Highlands Visitor Center at (866) 526-5841.

By Luke Osteen

Wedding Expo in Cashiers

The Blue Ridge Bride Annual Wedding Expo and Fashion Show, slated for Saturday, March 8, at the Sawyer Family Farmstead in Glenville is designed to make a bride’s most cherished dreams a reality.

The Blue Ridge Bride Annual Wedding Expo and Fashion Show, slated for Saturday, March 8, at the Sawyer Family Farmstead in Glenville is designed to make a bride’s most cherished dreams a reality.

If “I Do” is in your future, don’t miss The Blue Ridge Bride Annual Wedding Expo and Fashion Show at the Sawyer Family Farmstead in Glenville from 11:00 A.M. to 4:00 P.M. March 8.
The Sawyer Farmstead features a beautiful pavilion, the perfect setting for the Annual Bridal Expo and Runway
Fashion Show. is an online wedding planning library of artistic experts in the area who provide exceptional services to couples preparing for their perfect wedding day. Visit its qualified vendors and get the answers to all your questions. They delight in making your wedding dreams come true.
Blue Ridge Bride Board President Jacqueline Weiks, who has over nineteen years’ experience in destination wedding events, says, “The Expo allows couples to come and meet with all the experts at one time in one place. This is all that you will need for your exceptional wedding and all the celebrations surrounding it.”
Don’t forget to pick up your free bridal swag bag, courtesy of The Knot. Visit each vendor and register to win his/her booth’s prize. Among the day’s festivities are a courtesy make-up session, hair-styling, tastings, and advice on the latest trends. At 2:00 P.M., grab a front-row seat for the Bridal Fashion Show Extravaganza featuring designer gowns.
Whatever you desire, you will find it and more at The Blue Ridge Bride Wedding Expo. Let the pros be your bride-guide in planning all the details that make your wedding a treasured memory. Plan your personal theme, your bridal luncheon, reception, guest accommodations, flowers, favors, golf excursions for the guys, bridal party couture, and much more.
So skip the stress and trust the best to make your wedding a memorable experience. Take advantage of this opportunity to compare styles, options, and pricing all in a one-stop destination. Spend the day. Lunch will be available at a great price.
Visit Click on the event tab to learn more about the Expo. Or call Jacqui Weiks at (828) 508-1911 for more details.

by Donna Rhodes

Justin Burdett, a Rising Star

Executive Chef Justin Burdett

Executive Chef Justin Burdett


An All-black course with Brasstown New York strip.

An All-black course with Brasstown New York strip.

Ruka’s Table in Highlands has earned a regional reputation for the sheer variety of its inventive dishes, showcasing sophisticated Southern flavors.
The restaurant proudly partners with local farms to source fresh proteins and produce in support of the local slow food movement. Every dish is made from scratch, including the cheese, with seasonal and local ingredients, to invoke a homemade feel along with its authentic and rustic menu.
Behind all this is Executive Chef Justin Burdett.
His talents in the kitchen have earned him a berth on the cooking team at the Charleston Wine + Food Festival’s New and Notables Dinner in March, an honor extended to three rising national chefs. Burdett will team up with chefs Brett Cooper from Outerlands in San Francisco, Michael Toscano from Perla in New York City, pastry chef Jenna Hodges from Colt & Gray in Denver and and Charleston chef Jason Stanhope from FIG.
This selection comes on the heels of Burdett’s receiving a Carolina Rising Star Award from, the online magazine for culinary insiders that honors the up-and-coming American chefs.
“Putting together tasting menus is one of my favorite things to do in the kitchen as it keeps everything fresh, artful and vibrant,” said Chef Burdett about creating his four-course tasting dinner for the StarChefs team. “My menu took months of preparation and I really challenged myself by doing dishes like the all-black dish and my nose-to-tail pork dish. The idea was to surprise the taster with a flavor profile that they’re not expecting based upon the color of the dish.”
Burdett’s first course was his silky, butternut squash soup with peppered apples, crème fraiche and local peppers. The second course consisted of North Carolina sheepshead, buttermilk fried fish cheeks, brain ravioli, red-eye gravy consommé and gremolata. The third all-black course featured Brasstown New York strip sous vide in squid ink, Yukon potatoes in squid ink, fermented onion pureed with squid ink, lardo, bone marrow and anchovy vinaigrette, Maldon salt and chives. The finale highlighted a cabbage and okra kimchi stuffed pork trotter, sorghum-glazed pork ribs, and braised tongue-and-ear salad in blackberry vinegar.
Following his bravura performance in Charleston, Chef Burdett will prepare a five-course dinner at the James Beard House in New York City on April 4 to support the foundation whose mission is to celebrate, nurture and honor America’s diverse culinary heritage through programs that inspire and educate. Menu highlights include Passed Hors D’oeuvres of Cured North Carolina Lamb Heart, mint gelee, English pea crackers, and radish; North Carolina Trout Terrine with turnip greens, pickled turnips, fermented and puffed rye, sumac mustard; South Carolina Oysters, frozen buttermilk, and vegetable ash; the First Course — North Carolina Flounder, carrot and Meyer lemon broth, and country ham; the Second Course — Nose-to-tail Rabbit, ramp textures, celery and beets; Third Course — Cheerwine Glazed Pork Belly, boiled peanut puree, stewed mustard greens, and rhubarb mustard; Fourth Course – Venison, fermented onion, smoked lardo, and foraged mushrooms; and Fifth Course — Kumquat Cake, lemon gel, pine sorbet, and strawberry.

By Luke Osteen

Champagne Dinner at The Farm

Cozy up with your favorite dinner companion for an enchanted winter’s eve at The Farm at Old Edwards on Saturday, January 25, for this Laurent-Perrier Champagne Dinner. This magical Saturday evening begins with a cocktail arrival followed by a five-course dinner at 7:00 P.M. Sip Laurent-Perrier champagne throughout the evening paired with fresh and innovative dishes by Old Edwards’ Executive Chef Johannes Klapdohr and his team from Madison’s Restaurant.  The dinner menu features a trio of veal, black truffle savoy cabbage, a T-bone steak of Alaskan Halibut, and citrus coriander poached Maine lobster. The dinner will finish with warm flaugnarde of white Valrhona chocolate, preserved mission figs, and dried cranberries. And every delicious course will be paired with elegant Laurent-Perrier champagnes by Madison’s Sommelier Curt Christiansen.  Call (828) 787-2625 to reserve your spots. The cost of the evening is $125 per person including live music, cocktail arrival, and five-course dinner with paired champagnes. For more information about the Laurent-Perrier Champagne Dinner, including the full menu, visit

The Farm at Old Edwards will host a Laurent-Perrier Champagne Dinner on Saturday, January 25.

Cozy up with your favorite dinner companion for an enchanted winter’s eve at The Farm at Old Edwards on Saturday, January 25, for this Laurent-Perrier Champagne Dinner. This magical Saturday evening begins with a cocktail arrival followed by a five-course dinner at 7:00 P.M. Sip Laurent-Perrier champagne throughout the evening paired with fresh and innovative dishes by Old Edwards’ Executive Chef Johannes Klapdohr and his team from Madison’s Restaurant.
The dinner menu features a trio of veal, black truffle savoy cabbage, a T-bone steak of Alaskan Halibut, and citrus coriander poached Maine lobster. The dinner will finish with warm flaugnarde of white Valrhona chocolate, preserved mission figs, and dried cranberries. And every delicious course will be paired with elegant Laurent-Perrier champagnes by Madison’s Sommelier Curt Christiansen.
Call (828) 787-2625 to reserve your spots. The cost of the evening is $125 per person including live music, cocktail arrival, and five-course dinner with paired champagnes. For more information about the Laurent-Perrier Champagne Dinner, including the full menu, visit

Creamy Parsnip Soup


Contributed by Dr. Anastasia Halldin, Nutrition Coach

Contributed by Dr. Anastasia Halldin, Nutrition Coach;

Parsnip soup is a wonderful, healthy, creamy winter soup, which is easily made. Its lightly sweet flavor, its earthiness and the fact that kids love it make it a success every time. Parsnip is a sweet root vegetable, rich in fiber, folate, vitamins C and K. If you like sweet potato dishes, chances are you’d love the sweet parsnip soup, too. The measurement for chopped parsnips is given in cups, because the size of the actual roots differs a lot.
4 cups Parsnips peeled and chopped
1 1/2 cup Almond milk
1 1/2 teaspoons Sea salt
1 teaspoon Black Pepper
3 Garlic cloves
2 tablespoons Coconut oil or virgin olive oil
1/4 White onion chopped
Place the parsnips into a large pot and cover them with about 5 cups of water (just so that they are barely covered.) Bring to a boil, then simmer for about 15 minutes or until soft.
Place the contents of a pot in the blender with all other ingredients. Taste and adjust seasonings, if needed.
Transfer the mixture back to the pot, bring to a boil. Let stand for five minutes, then serve.

Not a Better Mousetrap

Curt Christiansen,  Wine Navigator Madison’s Restaurant

Curt Christiansen, Wine Navigator; Madison’s Restaurant;

There seems recently to be a new, desperate rush to drink young wines before they are ready. Retail shelves are littered with products designed to chemically or mechanically aerate or “open up” otherwise unapproachable wines.
This leads me to the obvious question. Why are so many people in such a hurry to drink wines that will benefit from a short stay in the cellar? “I want to drink this 2010 Napa Valley Cabernet now, but I have to go to dinner in an hour, or I want to get to the next bottle, or I have to get surgery. I wish they made a device that would prematurely age my wine so I can drink it now. I could just dump the wine into a decanter, but that is so low tech and doesn’t make cool sucking noises.”
Well your prayers have been answered, so it seems, by an egg-shaped device with three channels that brutally aerates your wine. I have found that most of these gadgets, rather than improve an already good wine, neuter or destroy the body and structure of the wine. On a positive note, these devices are actually good at turning an undrinkable, poorly made, gritty tannic wine into a somewhat drinkable poorly-made wine.
Many wine lovers like myself enjoy drinking full-bodied red wines in their youth. To aerate, I turn the bottle upside down into a decanter. When a decanter is not available, I have resorted to a flower vase. The wine gets plenty of air but maintains enough body and character to offend most sensible
wine drinkers.
All joking aside, conduct a test yourself. Decant half of a bottle, then pour the rest of the bottle though the egg. Taste and compare.
Happy holidays and drink well. – Curt

Highlands History

In 1999, The Highlands Historical Society purchased the oldest house in town,  The Prince House.

In 1999, The Highlands Historical Society purchased the oldest house in town, The Prince House.

The Highlands Historical Society is Highlands’ history channel, figuratively speaking, and it is getting cooler all the time, thanks to a dedicated few who have supported its mission over the past decade and a half. Their objective: To preserve and promote the rich heritage of Highlands for present and future generations.
If Dennis DeWolf was the head of the historical society’s creation, for it was his idea to formalize an organization to preserve all the antiquities that tell the Highlands story, then Ran Shaffner was its heart. For years Shaffner had been researching Highlands history for his book, “Heart of the Blue Ridge.” He had interviewed scores of residents and officials who shared documents, photographs, letters, and mementos preserved in trunks, cupboards, and shoeboxes scattered attic to basement.
Thus, in March of 1999, DeWolfe and Shaffner, over a cup of coffee, picked up where the old Highlands Historical Preservation Society had left off some 20 years prior. It was time to get serious about housing the bits and chunks of Highlands’ history in one central location for all to see and enjoy.
The duo called a meeting April 7, 1999. Several enthusiasts attended. Over the next few weeks the idea took flight. Isabel Chambers was elected president. Her first challenge was to lead the group in securing a place to store and display the documents. It boiled down to the oldest house in town, The Prince House, or the old jail. The town gave the society a dollar-a-year lease on the jail, so members set about collecting artifacts and began the storage process.
But the membership could not let go of the Prince House possibility. With the help of 10 anonymous guarantors, a mortgage was secured and the house was purchased.
It was a busy initial year… first the jail, then the Prince House, then fund-raisers. A two-fold fundraising process, which set the standard for all future money collection, was established not only to preserve but also to promote Highlands’ history.
Over the years dedicated leaders of the group have overseen a huge transformation of the Highlands Historical Society grounds and Historic Village including the acquisition and moving of the old Hudson Library building donated by the Episcopal Church. In 2008 a tent cottage from the grounds of the Highlands Tuberculosis Sanitarium was donated by the Davis family and moved to the Village.
On their 10 anniversary, under the presidency of Elaine Whitehurst and thanks to a challenge grant from Ned and Linda New, the Society’s mortgage was paid in full, freeing the group to focus on the Kelsey Kids program, to educate youngsters about the ways of early life on
the plateau.
Today the Society’s collection of 3,500 documents, photographs, and objects are housed in the museum and archives of the old library building. An entire gallery has been dedicated to the exhibition of Beverly Cook Quin’s donation of George Masa’s landscape photography.
Historians, scholars, writers, genealogists, residents, and tourists frequent the Society’s archives or email for information online.
Perhaps the finest resource the Society possesses, however, apart from a dedicated Board of Directors, is Ran Shaffner, whose diligence, patience, research, and expertise continue to beat at the heart of
the organization.
This March and April mark the 15th anniversary of this esteemed organization. Visit, support, enjoy the efforts of the many who have volunteered their time and money to the preservation of Highlands’ history.
For more information about this organization visit the Highlands Historical Society during weekends from June through October or go online to or email

by Donna Rhodes

Cashiers NC History

Diligent research solves a nearly 100-year-old mystery – Fay Zachary, who embraced life with  an unquenchable zeal, was felled by the bite of a mosquito.

Diligent research solves a nearly 100-year-old mystery – Fay Zachary, who embraced life with an unquenchable zeal, was felled by the bite of a mosquito.

This is a follow-up to my December 2013 Laurel Magazine’s article, the “Dynasty of Dentists.”
One of the youngest sisters of Dr. Daisy Zachary McGuire was Fay Zachary, born in 1894 in Hamburg (Norton), Jackson County. Dying in 1917 at age 22 years, 6 months and 18 days, Fay’s life was short so her family’s memories of her are not numerous but quite affectionate. At the time of her death, she had been employed as a teacher in either Georgia or South Carolina and had likely earned a teacher’s degree at the school in Cullowhee which is now Western Carolina University. Like the rest of her sisters, she was well educated, independent with a zest for life.
Although she had neither married nor ever became a mother, the descendants of her sister’s carried on her story through the generations. Not surprisingly slightly different versions of Fay’s story, as time went by, developed in the various family lines. This became apparent as I was locating and interviewing some of Fay’s present day nieces and nephews. Some thought she had died of Typhoid Fever and some thought she had died from a ruptured appendix. She had fallen ill while teaching away from her Norton home. While being cared for back at home, she perspired so much that her hair had to be cut short. She had beautiful, long, thick, fire-engine red hair and after the hair was cut, family members tied it with a blue bow and placed it in a box. Granddaughters of Fay’s sisters, Pearl and Tela, remember seeing Fay’s hair in a box in their respective grandmother’s attics but the present day location of that box is not known. That mystery is not solved here but the cause of her death is
another story.
Recently, still curious as to what had killed Fay, I suddenly realized that since the State of North Carolina began requiring death certificates in 1913 and since Fay died in 1917, there should be a death certificate on file for Fay at the Registrar of Deeds Office in Sylva. One of the blanks to be filled out on a death certificate is, “The Cause of Death was as follows:” And when I received Fay’s death certificate, I read the words “Effects of MALARIA.” Malaria is caused by being bitten by a malaria-carrying mosquito but Fay died near the end of March when there’s unlikely any mosquitoes of any kind around. The profuse sweating certainly fits a symptom of malaria and “effects of Malaria” could have indicated her death occurred after a lengthy period of suffering from that disease.

Home of Distinction

home-for-sale-highlands-nc-onehome-for-sale-highlands-nc-threehome-for-sale-highlands-nc-twohome-for-sale-highlands-ncChristmas is over. The kids head to college in the fall and Mom is coming to live with you. You yearn to reduce your stress and enjoy a slower pace before actually retiring.
To accomplish that you need a house for your multi-generational family. Look no further than this month’s featured home, located in the Apple Mountain subdivision on US 64 East outside of Highlands. With more than four acres, nature surrounds you but you’re minutes from both Highlands and Cashiers.
Designed by well-known Highlands’s architect Dennis DeWolf and built by Ronnie Beale, the open floor plan provides maximum flexibility. A stacked stone fireplace reaches skyward to the Great Room’s cathedral ceiling. Built-in cabinetry conceals your electronics and provides the perfect space to exhibit your treasured family mementoes. Immediately adjoining the Great Room is a spacious Dining Area and the Kitchen with its top-of-the-line Kitchenaid stainless steel appliances. Whether preparing your next meal, helping grandchildren with homework or cheering on your favorite sports team, you are never far from the action. Spring, summer and fall will find you relaxing on the glass-enclosed Porch adjacent to the Kitchen. Let the warm sun embrace you as you stroll from porch to deck as nature soothes your soul.
This custom-built home is perfect for folks with limited mobility. Special features include “easy-roll” thresholds which facilitate movement by those on walkers or in wheelchairs plus many features recommended by the ADA. The elevator provides access to the Terrace Level without having to traverse the stairs.
Beyond the kitchen at the north end of the house is a spacious guest bedroom with private bath. A large laundry room features walls of cabinets leading to the two-car garage. This well-thought out floor plan ensures every square foot of space is optimized.
The expansive Owner’s Suite can hold a king-size bed with room to spare. His and her closets plus separate Baths beckon you to relax in style. Finish that favorite novel on your private Deck or contact clients from the spacious Office Area, which features his and her desks.
The light-filled Terrace Level includes two large Bedrooms and a Bath with double vanities. Large rhododendron and mountain laurel dot the lawn along the creek. A stone wood-burning fireplace wards off winter’s chill in the Media/Great Room. With room for a pool table and a piano, plus a small kitchenette and a large private deck, your family may never leave this enclave. Throw in a half bath and another room perfect for crafts or sewing, an office or a nursery you see why this would be a pleasing In-law suite.
This quality-built, spacious 4 bedroom, 4½-bath house includes central heat and air and storage galore. There’s even an extra lot that you can give to family or sell to a friend. To learn more about this or many other stellar homes go to or call Pat Allen at Pat Allen Realty Group at (828) 526-8784 or (828) 200-9179.

By Wiley Sloan

Snow in the Appalachians

The making of snow angels is a favorite pastime during an Appalachian snowfall.

The making of snow angels is a favorite pastime during an Appalachian snowfall.

Snowfall in the Southern Appalachians is never a sure thing, but there are a couple of folk weather predictors that can be useful. The first is a halo encircling the Moon. These bright rings result from moonlight passing through ice crystals in the high cirrus clouds that often precede a storm front. The second is chimney and campfire smoke that descends toward the ground and swirls rather than rising skyward in a column. This indicates falling air pressure, another indicator of an approaching moist air mass.
Some seasons go by with only a couple of dustings, while the 1993 blizzard dropped over a foot of snow in mid-March. But most winters are somewhere in between. So don’t let the opportunity to have some fun in the white stuff pass you by if you happen to be on the Highlands-Cashiers Plateau when a winter storm does arrive.
Sledding is one obvious way to pass part of your snow day. Hiking is also fun so long as the roads are safe enough for you to make it to the trailhead and the snow is not more than a few inches deep. (Pro tip: Purchase a pair of gaiters beforehand so your pants cuffs and socks don’t end up soaked, heavy, and cold.) New fallen snow is also perfect for a couple of more specialized activities. Hunters love the quiet it provides for their footsteps and the fresh tracks it shows. Anyone with a pair of Nordic or AT skis can also put in a few miles on unplowed Forest Service roads and on hiking trails. Combining Panthertown Valley with the road leading to it is one possibility.
And what if you want a snow fix and nature is not cooperating? There are two options with man-made snow within easy driving distance. Scaly Mountain Outdoor Center offers snow tubing 20 miles and a thirty minute drive from Cashiers, 10 miles and a 15-minute drive from Highlands. Sapphire Valley Ski Area offers a beginner and intermediate ski run as well as snow tubing 15 miles and a 25-minute drive from Highlands, five miles and a 10-minute drive from Cashiers.

Contributed by Matthew T. Bradley |

Weddings at The Village Green

weddings-at-the-village-greenThe Village Green offers a unique event venue on the Highlands-Cashiers Plateau. The twelve and a half-acre park in the heart of Cashiers hosts nearly one hundred functions each year. The natural beauty of The Village Green makes it an ideal setting for a wedding ceremony, reception, or rehearsal dinner.
Nestled amid the majesty of Whiteside Mountain, Terrapin Mountain and Big Sheep Cliff, the sprawling meadow lawns of The Village Green provides a bucolic setting with an enchanting rustic elegance. During blooming season, the park features native azaleas, rhododendron and lupine as well as roses, hydrangeas and award winning dahlias. The Village Green can accommodate an intimate wedding of less than twenty-five guests or a larger party of five hundred or more.
The Village Green has three venues that may be reserved. The Gazebo and Event Lawn are at the crossroads entrance of The Village Green on US 64. The Pavilion is a large structure with picnic tables and a charcoal grill. The Village Green Commons is the large multi-use venue located on Frank Allen Road. “The Village Green is a place where memories are made,” said Executive Director Ann Self, “Whether it is celebrating a birthday, listening to great music, dining and dancing under the stars or saying “I do,” The Village Green is honored to be part of the treasured moments of people’s lives.”
The Village Green is a park for public enjoyment, however it is owned and operated by a nonprofit organization. “Many people do not realize that The Village Green receives no government support,” said Jochen Lucke, Chairperson of The Village Green Board of Directors. “Day to day operations and improvements to the park are funded by special events and individual contributions.”
If you would like to know more about The Village Green hosting a wedding or special event, email or call (828) 743-3434. For more information about The Village Green, including a calendar of events, visit

Cavender Publishes Novel

Mike Cavendar

Mike Cavendar


revenge-on-the-flyFormer Highlands-Cashiers Land Trust executive director Mike Cavender has drawn on his Highlands conservation experience in writing his first novel, “Revenge on the Fly,” just published by
Cavender’s novel has drawn praise from Ron Rash, the best selling author of “Serena” and “The Cove.” Rash says, “‘Revenge on the Fly’ is a beautiful meditation on the ties that bind us to family and place. Michael Cavender is a gifted writer, an exciting new voice in North Carolina literature.”
Cavender started “Revenge on the Fly” when he lived in Highlands and finished it this year in Washington, NC, where he and his wife, Paulette Webb, moved in 2006 to go sailing. They now live in Fearrington Village, near Chapel Hill.
The novel’s setting is a mountain resort town called Kelsey, which is similar to Highlands in many ways, and is nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains.
“I drew on many aspects of Highlands, but I wanted the freedom to create a place that suited the story’s action,” Cavender says. “After all, it’s fiction.” The novel also draws on his background as a newspaper reporter and fly-fishing guide.
The novel tells the story of dissolute outdoor writer Ben Phelps, who grasps the chance to avenge a life-ruining lie despite the human costs to a friend who holds the means for revenge, and to the woman whose love may reward
his boldness.
For 18 years, Cavender and Webb ran The Mill Creek Store in Highlands. They sold men’s and women’s sportswear, and had an Orvis dealership. Cavender taught fly fishing and was a fishing guide for many years. He was also a Highlands Town Board Commissioner.
“Revenge on the Fly” is available at and Barnes &

The Twinkie Run

In the mountains when a snowstorm is on the way, everyone panics. “I’ve got to run to the grocery and get bread and milk!” they all cry.
It could be a three-flake snow dusting and still, “Bread and milk! Quick, before they run out!”
Of all the things to buy, why buy bread and milk? Okay, bread I can understand. If there is a power failure, you can live off PB & J sandwiches for the rest of the century. Even staunch carb-resistors will buy bread. But milk? If the whole point of buying staples is to stock the cupboard for fear of a power outage, then it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out milk is just going to turn into a giant curd bobbing around in a half-gallon of dribble.
“NO!” a milk-buyer argues. “Just put the container outside and the cold air will act as a refrigerator.”
Great. Now we have a 64-ounce milkcicle. Or worse yet, we have an overturned carton and raccoon tracks trailing off into the snow.
I have a solution: the ultimate survival pack everyone should buy, and it’s so simple: Hostess products and Spam. Combined, they have a shelf life of 120 years. And who says you need bread? Just spread PB&J on Ho-Ho’s. Voila! Appetizer and dessert.
For the entree, build a bonfire and serve Spam-on-a-stick. Don’t stop there. Roast a Twinkie-on-a-stick. You’ve got your beige, brown, red, and yellow food groups covered on a single maple sapling. Yeppur. Twinkies and Spam is substantial sustenance that will get you through any natural disaster.
Bonus: the preservatives alone will keep you alive long after you’re dead.
So next time the weatherman predicts snow, crash into Bryson’s, break a window if you have to, and rake those Twinkie boxes and Spam cans right off the shelf and into your shopping cart. You don’t need a cumbersome gallon of milk weighing you down. You have all you need right there in cellophane and tin.
Happy munching. Oh, yeah, better add PB&J to your list. Yumbo! See you at the weight-loss clinic next spring! I’ll be the one flossing Spam out of my teeth and vibrating Twinkies off my tush. TTFN.

by Donna Rhodes

A Better Brain

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

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

Do you wobble if you stand on one foot? How about with your eyes closed? If you walk in a straight heel-to-toe line do you stumble? How about with your eyes closed? If you stand with your feet together and close your eyes do you sway to one side? Do you walk with a wide gait, or feel like you’re going to fall if you don’t hold the handrail going down the stairs? If you answered yes to any of these questions you have balance issues that could be a sign of compromised brain health and increased risk of dementia later in life.
Balance is governed largely by the cerebellum, the area at the base of the brain that also helps with precision, coordination, and timing of motor movements. The cerebellum is one of the most continually active areas of the brain because not only does it keep you from falling over, it also processes information from gravity.
A healthy cerebellum is important because it constantly feeds a steady stream of information to the entire brain, which is necessary for overall good brain health
and function.
This is where problems can occur. When cerebellum function begins to break down, causing such symptoms as worsening balance, this impacts the stream of information going to the rest of the brain. For instance, a healthy cerebellum regulates this stream of information so as not to flood the brain. When the cerebellum degenerates, it can overwhelm the brain with excess input.
This can cause problems in other areas of the brain with symptoms that may seem totally unrelated to balance, including restless leg syndrome, tinnitus, being hyper sensitive to stress, depression, fatigue, anxiety, and many more. These are signs the brain is functioning poorly and degenerating too quickly, increasing the risk of dementia or Parkinson’s.
You’re never too young or too fit to work on improving your balance, as it’s a great way to help protect and preserve brain health. Yoga, tai chi, and wobble boards are just some of the ways I encourage our patients
to exercise.
Diet and food sensitivities (ex. gluten) can play a major role in brain health. Read more on our blog at

The Perfect Day Trip

biltmore-facade-lightsWe live in a wonderful part of the world and rarely have a need to go off the mountain. But at times we need a change of scenery and what better place to go than Asheville for the day? Asheville has been recognized as one of the top 12 travel destinations in the world by Frommer’s – one of the country’s top
travel publications.
Asheville has wonderful restaurants and now has become the craft-brewing center of the Southeast. Asheville beer has garnered so much enthusiasm that it was named the winner of the’s “Beer City, USA” poll four years running. One of the biggest draws to Asheville is The Biltmore House, America’s largest home. The statistics about the estate are staggering – two hundred and fifty rooms, sixty-five fireplaces, Renoir paintings, seventy-foot ceilings in the banquet hall, tapestries from Henry VIII, Napoleon’s chess set, indoor pool, and bowling alley, but the outstanding feature of the estate is the setting of the house, designed as a large chateau, which cannot be seen until you come up on it after a three-mile drive.
The Biltmore offers more than just touring the house. The grounds encompass 8,000 acres and include a winery, Inn, River Bend Farm and Conservatory which supplies all the flowers and greenery for the estate. Well-tended walking trails lead to the ponds, gardens and buildings throughout and roads are clearly marked between the major sites of the estate.
Spring is one of my favorite times to visit The Biltmore House and this spring The Festival of Flowers will be March 20-May 23. Gorgeous gardens will be in full glory as 75,000 tulips and many other blossoms welcome springtime during the Biltmore Blooms festival of flowers. For the little ones, Easter is the perfect time to visit. The Easter Rabbit makes his annual appearance on Biltmore House’s Front Lawn on Easter Sunday, along with special children’s entertainment including magic shows, music, storytelling, crafts and photos with the Easter Rabbit.

Contributed by Elizabeth Fletcher |

To Heal or Not to Heal

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

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

The fear and prevalence of brain degeneration or dementia is fierce in our society. More and more people are suffering from this condition earlier in the life span. Dementia is not a normal age-related disease but a manifestation of various forms of physiological damage. Alzheimer’s disease is in the top five leading causes of death in adults over age sixty-five in the US. Dementia is not a disease but a set of symptoms associated with particular degenerative neurological conditions including; AD, vascular dementia, Parkinson’s disease, and alcohol-related dementia. Memory impairment is a step in the loss of independence which puts additional burden on the individual, his or her family, and our healthcare system. Dementia is a condition of progressive cognitive decline, typically characterized by impaired thinking, memory, decision-making and linguistic ability, all of which create a situation
of dependence.
Deficiencies of vitamin B12 and Folate have been linked to high concentrations of Homocysteine, an amino acid associated with poor vascular health and cognitive decline. Homocysteine is high on the list of molecules that cause oxidative stress and inflammation in the body, especially neural tissue and the brain. In order to prevent the buildup of homocysteine, vitamin B12 and Folate are needed to convert it to methionine, another amino acid. Methionine contributes to the synthesis of S-adenosyl-methionine (SAM-e), necessary in the central nervous system for production of myelin and
cell replication.
One problem with aging is that B12 is not absorbed well from food and supplements due to atrophic gastritis and achlorhydria, both of which compromise the body’s ability to release B12 molecules from their protein carriers. Stomach acid is essential to efficient assimilation of B12 and is hugely compromised with antacid use and protonics such as Prevacid and Nexium. Administration of B12 with sublingual and injection doses bypass the need of the digestive process for adequate absorption. Daily doses of B12 will lower Homocysteine levels and preserve brain tissue as aging takes place. Use your brain and do it now, not later!

Highlands Community Fund

Highlands Community Fund has awarded $93,190 in grants to local nonprofit organizations providing important services in the community.
The grants were made in partnership with The Community Foundation of Western North Carolina (CFWNC) and include:
Highlands United Methodist Church — $20,000 to support enrichment programs and supervision for children enrolled in the early child care program and the after school program through the newly-formed Gordon Center for Children.
The Literacy Council of Highlands — $20,000 to continue its literacy programs currently being offered including: GED and ESL classes, Adult Literacy, ESL Study Hall, After School Enrichment, the Mobilizing Literacy program, summer day camp and the Dolly Parton Imagination Library and computer lab with Rosetta Stone language software.
The Bascom — $15,000 to support Community Arts Education activities for students in collaboration with other organizations in the Highlands community.
Highlands Community Child Development Center — $11,000 toward facility improvements and program enhancements required for the 2014 Four Star Center
license inspection.
Peggy Crosby Community Service Center — $10,000 toward renovation projects to improve the community meeting areas and offices to better serve the community.
Highlands-Cashiers Land Trust — $7,000 to support staff work in the Land Stewardship and community education programs related to the conservation and protection of the natural heritage of the Highlands Plateau.
Hudson Library — $5,200 to enhance learning opportunities and library facilities for the children of Highlands.
The Highlands Chapter of Big Brothers/Big Sisters of WNC — $4,990 to continue and expand “323 Little Organics,” a positive activity for the child-adult matches to grow herbs and vegetables that are marketed at the local farmers market. This project utilizes real life experiences to provide business and life skills and to bolster the children’s sense of competency and self-esteem.
These grants were awarded as part of The Community Foundation’s People in Need focus area and other grant cycles, and were funded in part by the Janirve Legacy Fund, CFWNC Fundholders, the Hertwig Fund and the Highlands Community Fund.
“We are pleased to join with CFWNC and other partners to fund these grants that will make such a difference for the nonprofit organizations and the people they serve in our community,” said Highlands Community Fund Advisory Board Chair Sid Nurkin. “With these grants, approximately $150,000 has been contributed to the support of worthy organizations in Highlands over the last
two years.”
Highlands Community Fund, an affiliate of The Community Foundation, was established in 1999 by a group of local residents as a permanent endowment and resource for charitable efforts that benefit the entire community.
To make a tax-deductible contribution to the Highlands Community Fund, donate online at or by mail to Highlands Community Fund, P.O. Box 1150, Highlands, NC 28741-1150. Contributions of any size are welcome and will enable the fund to support more programs with local dollars.
The local, volunteer Advisory Board works to raise awareness of the Highlands Community Fund and to build assets for the future. These board members are: Tricia Allen, Kathy Bowman (Secretary), Laney Capron, Caroline Cook, Gayle Cummings, Amanda Gregory, John Hopkins, Jean Manz, Sid Nurkin (Chair), Nancy Parker, Stan Sharp and Allen L. “Buck” Trott.
The Community Foundation is a nonprofit serving eighteen counties in Western North Carolina. The Foundation is a permanent regional resource that facilitates more than $11 million in charitable giving annually. CFWNC inspires philanthropy and mobilizes resources to enrich lives and communities in Western North Carolina.
CFWNC supports the growth of its affiliate funds to extend the benefits of philanthropy across the region. To learn more about The Community Foundation, call (828) 254-4960 or visit
For more information about the Highlands Community Fund, contact Chair Sid Nurkin at (404) 261-8634.

By Luke Osteen

Cashiers Highlands Humane Society Adopting Angels

Cashiers-Highlands_humane-societyThere is a reason why we call the incredible people who give forever homes to our shelter pets the “CHHS Adopting Angels.” Because that is exactly what they
are – angels.
In August 2012 we rescued a frightened little four-month-old American Blue Heeler pup named Bo. We were aware of his background before Bo arrived at the shelter, and we knew there was no history of abuse or neglect. This poor little guy just seemed to be afraid of just about everything, including his own shadow. Of course we showered this handsome young lad with lots of TLC, made sure he got plenty of exercise, stimulation and interaction, nutritious meals, and the best of veterinary care. We even tried to take him on a few of our famous Stop-N-Adopts last fall, but it became painfully clear the experience just made Bo more uncomfortable and afraid.
We tried everything for Bo. We brought in dog trainers to work with him one-on-one. Our volunteer dog walkers heaped daily doses of affection and praise with each visit. Bo was the “poster dog” for our Thundershirt donation drive with Woof Gang Bakery. We tried herbal supplements, and ultimately, an anti-anxiety prescription medication recommended by Animal Wellness Hospital of Highlands. (The prescription actually helped… a little.)
Yet there was little more we could do for Bo than just continue to give him the highest level of compassionate care, and promise him every morning that someday, his Adopting Angel would come. Someone who would love Bo unconditionally, be patient and understanding, and believe that Bo’s true colors just were not going to be seen in a shelter environment.
And after 15 months–a total of 466 days in our care as our longest-term resident – Bo’s Adopting Angel arrived.
Mary initially saw Bo on our website and was drawn by his handsome good looks. She learned about Bo’s story in our care, and had actually had timid dogs in the past so she knew just what to do. Mary started visiting Bo regularly at the shelter for more than a month, taking him for walks and spending quiet time with Bo in our meet-and-greet gazebo. Mary would bring treats and toys for Bo, and even brought him a special stuffed toy for him to sleep with. With Mary’s scent on that toy, Bo never allowed it to be away from his side at nighttime. This past Thanksgiving, Mary’s instincts told her the time was finally right, and she took Bo home for an overnight visit. The phone call we received the next day brought tears to the eyes of everyone at CHHS. Because Bo met the rest of Mary’s family, fell in love with each one of them, and in Mary’s words, “Bo acted as if he had lived at our home his entire life.”
That’s why we call them Adopting Angels. And Mary and Bo are just two more reasons why we will never give up on an animal entrusted to our care at our no-kill shelter.
Cashiers-Highlands Humane Society is located on Highway 64, two miles east of the Cashiers Crossroads. Visit CHHS online at to see pictures and descriptions of all the adorable, adoptable dogs and cats looking for forever homes. For more information,
call (828) 743-5752.

Celebrating 100 Years

Sunset Rock-Black Rock-Sagee_Mountain-Highlands-NCEvery town has at least one special place: a destination locals are proud of, a spot you should not miss when visiting. Highlands and Cashiers are blessed with an abundance of exceptional places but for many, that “must see” destination in Highlands is Sunset Rock. Sunset Rock and the lesser known Sunrise Rock make up Ravenel Park which, since 1914, has been owned and cared for by the organization now known as Highlands-Cashiers Land Trust.
In the late 1800s and early 1900s many families from around the South made Highlands their summer retreat. Ran Shaffner reminds us in “Heart of the Blue Ridge” that, “One family that had a profound influence on the town and its inhabitants from the earliest days of their arrival as summer pioneers in 1879 were the Ravenels.” The Ravenels were dedicated to ensuring that the newly founded town of Highlands was a success and were instrumental in building and improving many roads that gave access to Highlands and even helped in providing telephone service to the town. Clearly, the Ravenels knew this place was special and wanted it to remain for generations to come. One hundred years ago the Ravenel Family had the vision to preserve their family land and on August 16, 1914, the Ravenel children donated Sunrise and Sunset Rocks in loving memory of their parents.
Thanks to the Ravenels and the many visionaries in our community since who have helped to keep their dream alive by supporting the Land Trust mission, Sunrise and Sunset Rocks have provided a place to connect with nature, with self and with each other for the past century. HCLT conserves over 80 properties and maintains public trails at Satulah, Kelsey Trail and Rhododendron Park.
Celebrate with us!
In 2014, Highlands-Cashiers Land Trust invites the community to celebrate this extraordinary place. Photography Contests, Fun Runs and a “Sunsetennial Dinner… on the Rocks” are among the plans for the centennial celebration. To learn more visit and sign up to receive our e-news.
Join us as we celebrate the past and look forward to the next 100 years of Sunsets and Sunrises together.

Contributed by Highlands-Cashiers Land Trust

The Zen of Mucking Stalls

carpe-diem-farms-highlands-ncThe start of a new year brings the joy of anticipation, planning, preparation and fulfillment. At CDF there’s always a lot to be done!
The Buddhists say, “Before enrichment, chop wood, carry water, after enrichment, chop wood, carry water.” Many tasks around the farm are repeated daily, sometimes twice a day. Mucking stalls is such a task. There is something very Zen to mucking stalls and caring for the nine horses at Carpe Diem Farms. As our staff and colleagues, the horses’ well-being is tantamount to our programs’ success. Basic care and nutrition, safe and well-maintained stables, arena and pastures make for happy healthy horses. The act of cleaning stalls provides an opportunity to clear the clutter in your mind, quiet the chatter and makes room for creative ideas to flow.
The first lesson for new students is preparing the horses’ stalls. It is a practice in mindfulness in our work. When we open our awareness, are fully present to the task before us, the work become lighter. When we know that the safe, clean environment we provide for the horse to eat, drink and rest makes a happier, more willing partner to work in tandem with us, our herd is very happy.
It matters not the weather– rain, sleet, hail, snow or sunshine the horses’ care comes first. Cleanliness creates a healthier environment and that, together with our state of the art technology: thermography, pulsed electro magnetic field therapy (PEMF), radiographs, TTouch, massage and acupressure, and now Easy’s Slipper our newly patented glue on built in rocker horse slipper, our herd is healthy and content. The independent scientific research team proved beyond a doubt the results of our two years of Beta Testing on the herd.
On January 27, 2014, we launch Easy’s Slipper at the International Hoof Summit in Cincinnati, Ohio, to farriers, veterinarians, trainers and interested horse owners. We are on the cutting edge of changing the lives of horses around the globe! All from the Zen of mucking stalls!

Contributed by Sue Blair, Carpe Diem Farms Executive Director


Friends for Life

forever-farm-cashiers-ncVolunteers are very important to Friends for Life. If you made a New Years resolution to “give back” by spending some of your time volunteering for a charitable organization, and you are an animal lover, we would like to hear from you. The Forever Farm, our sanctuary for senior and special needs animals, would be a very rewarding venue for your gift of time. Our loving and hard working staff finds it hard to give all the animals the attention they crave. Imagine having 170 beings vying for your time. Brushing cats, walking dogs, or just sitting with an animal would be a great way for you to bring great joy to those who do not have a family of their own.
Helping us at events is another way that you can support our organization. Whether setting up a booth at a craft fair, or preparing for a fundraiser, physical help is needed. Assisting with our adoptable animals at such events can be very rewarding, and perhaps help find them a new home. If you are a crafter, donating some of your wares to be sold at events can help bring in funds for the Forever Farm. We also need volunteers to help with fundraising, a never-ending need for a nonprofit
charitable organization.
Our resale store in Brevard, the Second Chance Treasure Shop, depends on our supporters as well. Volunteers help run the shop, and donations of household goods, art, decorative items, tools, pet equipment, etc., are needed to stock the store. And, of course, the funds spent shopping in the store help to support our special animals.
Perhaps you have an idea on how you might help Friends for Life and the Forever Farm. Give us a call, or send us an email, and let us know how you would like to help. Call our voicemail at (828) 508-2460, we will return your call within 24 hours. Our e-mail is We want you! Happy New Year!

Contributed by Kathy Bub, President, Forever Farms

Kelsey-Hutchinson Park Improvement

Kelsey-Hutchinson-Park-Master-PlanA group of Highlanders and local organizations are joining forces to establish a park that honors the town’s heritage and forms the cornerstone of a
green future.
Kelsey-Hutchinson Park, the third-of-an-acre tract at the corner of Fifth and Pine Streets, has been in development limbo since a coalition of citizens and groups bought the property in 2007. The land was deeded to the town in 2008, yet since then it’s languished with minor improvements and a sparse lineup of events.
In 2009, the town installed a major storm water runoff project under the park property. That project, funded by federal stimulus money, was designed to clean up surface waters on that end of town and reduce flooding. It was considered the best green project in the state at that time. As part of the planning process, students in the art class at Highlands School suggested developing an historical theme, leading the town to change the name from Pine Street Park to Kelsey-Hutchinson Park. While a design was finalized several years ago, little has been done to implement the plan. The park has been used in recent years for various events, including craft fairs, historic gatherings and the like, but there are currently no facilities for day use by individuals and families.
In the fall of 2013, several community organizations came together to begin exploring the possibility of implementing the most recent design for the park through a combined public/private effort. This initial group is composed of representatives of the Highlands Rotary Club, the Mountaintop Rotary Club, the Laurel Garden Club, the Mountain Garden Club, the Highlands-Cashiers Land Trust, the Highlands Plateau Greenway, and the Highlands Plateau Audubon Society.
However, the Founders Park Coalition hopes other community organizations will join in the effort. The group formally began working with town officials late last year. If you’d like to offer your support for the future of Kelsey-Hutchinson Park, email the Highlands-Cashiers Land Trust at or call (828) 526-1111.

By Luke Osteen

Laurel Garden Club

laurel-garden-club-new-officers-highlands-ncAt their regular meeting in December, Laurel Garden Club members congratulated their new officers: (left to right) Jane Webb La Cagnina, 1st VP/Program Co-Chair; Minnie Bob Campbell, Recording Secretary; Lila Howland, President; Margo Franklin, Treasurer; Brenda Manning, 2nd VP/Membership; Jane Tracy, Corresponding Secretary; and Mary Guy Gunn, 1st VP/Program Co-Chair. The purpose of Laurel Garden Club is to aid in the protection and conservation of our natural resources, encourage civic beauty and roadside beautification, stimulate the fine art of gardening and enable cooperation with other organizations furthering the interest of horticulture and conservation. Photo by Helen Moore

Rotary Club of Highlands

What is Rotary?
We are 1.2 million neighbors, friends, and community leaders who come together to create positive, lasting change in our communities and around the world.
Our differing occupations, cultures, and countries give us a unique perspective. Our shared passion for service helps us accomplish the remarkable.
What makes us different? Our distinct point of view and approach gives us unique advantages: We see differently: Our multidisciplinary perspective helps us see challenges in unique ways. We think differently: We apply leadership and expertise to social issues—and find unique solutions. We act responsibly: Our passion and perseverance create lasting change. We make a difference at home and around the world: Our members can be found in your community and across the globe.
How do we work? Our impact starts with our members—people who work tirelessly with their clubs to solve some of our communities’ toughest challenges. Our efforts are supported by Rotary International, our member association, and The Rotary Foundation, which turns generous donations into grants that fund the work of our members and partners around the world. Rotary is led by our members: responsible leaders who help to carry forward our organization’s mission and values in their elected roles.
Where does Rotary of Highlands fit in? The Rotary Club of Highlands was established in 1945. Our focus continues to be on service through support of such things as scholarships, Community Care Clinic, scouting, Interact, literacy, academic banquets, athletic banquets, dental health program, exchange students, Polio Plus, sending care packages to our local soldiers and several others.
Rotary has a new theme in 2013-14: Engage Rotary, Change Lives. Rotary of Highlands members know that Rotary has incredible potential to do good work. We are all working on ways to turn that potential into reality. We always need new members that get involved and help change lives.

Contributed by Robin Phillips, Rotary Club of Highlands

National Mentoring Month

The beginning of a new year. Resolutions are made with new hopes and dreams for the coming year. A fresh start.
January is a good month to start something new and positive in your life. Make a difference — contribute to society, to another person, to yourself.
This year, why not commit to making a difference in the life of a child? Big Brothers/Big Sisters has mentor opportunities available in Highlands and Cashiers now.
The BBBS one-on-one school mentoring program involves an adult from the community spending one hour a week with a child.
Yes, just one hour per week.
What happens during that hour? Great conversations, games that encourage strategic thinking, arts and crafts that spark creative interests, reading to increase new horizons. Time spent learning and exploring. Time for the mentor to share his or her experiences and talents while having fun with a child.
Each mentor is supported by the staff BBBS Program Coordinator who provides activity supplies and constant contact and assistance. The Program Coordinator is “on call” any day to answer questions and offer advice. The program is a complete support group involving other mentors, BBBS staff and community and school members.
Fun group events are even periodically planned, such as fishing at Harris Lake, pizza parties, and classes at
The Bascom.
Coming soon is a Mentors Appreciation Event to recognize all the mentors in both Highlands and Cashiers; to give them an opportunity for camaraderie and for BBBS to express thank you for their dedication. Also this spring more Meet & Greets will be scheduled. These are casual occasions to drop in and talk to BBBS members and learn more about the program.
There are kids on the waiting list now. Kids that are hoping for a special community person to spend a little time with them. Offer them the opportunity to explore new ideas, new horizons, to help them find their “sparks” in life. Maybe that person is you. As you make your plans for the coming year, please consider giving an hour of your time to help a child grow. BBBS promises it will be one of the best experiences of your life.
To learn more about BBBS, contact Debbie Lassiter at (828) 526-4044 or,

Contributed by Debbie Lassiter, Big Brothers Big Sisters

Highlands Chili Cook Off

Wake up your slumbering palate at the Highlands Chamber of  Commerce’s Chili Cook-off, Saturday, March 15, at the Highlands  Community Building.

Wake up your slumbering palate at the Highlands Chamber of Commerce’s Chili Cook-off, Saturday, March 15, at the Highlands Community Building.

Let’s face it – by the time March rolls around, we’re all a little desperate for a bit of spice. Winter’s gone on forever and the blush of color that was Valentine’s Day seems like a million years in the past.
That’s why the Highlands Chamber of Commerce’s Annual Chili Cook-off, slated for 6:30 to 9:30 P.M. Saturday, March 15, at the Community Building (Conference Center) is always such a welcome part of the social calendar.
The Cook-off brings more than a small measure of heat to this grayest month. It’s a night of piquant experiences, music and dancing, and refreshments to match
the excitement.
You’ll be treated to a full spectrum of culinary delights, ranging from the comfortable embrace of a down home cornbread recipe to a spoonful of chili that calls to mind a fire storm of biblical proportions. Add in music that demands a trip to the dance floor and you have the formula for an evening as irresistible as a neon “Good Food” sign blinking on a frigid winter’s night.
As for the lineup of the chilies themselves – it’s a palate-pleasing spectrum that ranges from the sublimely spiced to the tongue searing. It’s a recipe for the hottest night of the winter. To cool everything off, soft drinks, beer and wine will be served.
There’ll be prizes awarded for Most Unique Chili, Most Traditional, and Hottest; Best Salsa, and Best Cornbread; and Best All-Round Table Decorations.
Tickets are $20 and will be sold at the door the evening of the event. Children 12 and under get in for free.
“If you’re interested in being a competitor, call me at (828) 526-2112,” says Jennifer Smathers of the Highlands Chamber of Commerce. “This year we’re offering all competitors that make chili $25 to help offset the cost. Prizes will be $100 or more in value.”

By Luke Osteen

Highlands-Cashiers Players Weekend Comedy

Highlands-Cashiers Players’ production of “Weekend Comedy” will be staged at the Performing Arts Center, February 20 through March 2. It’s the funny and insightful tale of a couple in their late 40s or early 50s and a couple in their mid- to late-20s who have accidentally rented the same cottage for a three-day weekend. They decide to share it.
Peggy Jackson, a 50-ish matron, has dragged her reluctant husband Frank, an office-supplies dealer, off for a long weekend in a remote cabin — with no phone, no newspapers, no television and no kids. Peggy has romance on her mind, while stick-in-the-mud Frank is dully wondering what they’re going to do all weekend. She finally gets him in the mood for romance, only to be interrupted by the arrival of Jill and Tony, a pair of twenty-somethings who’ve also rented the same cottage to celebrate their fourth anniversary of cohabitating.
To his wife’s chagrin, Frank insists that the younger couple stay for dinner. Ultimately, the two couples agree to share the one-bedroom, one-bathroom cabin for the weekend.
They start out having a good time together, but the close quarters and the differences between the two couples lead to inevitable frictions. The men, especially, have trouble reconciling each other’s point of view.
The talented ensemble cast includes Robin Phillips as Peggy, Rick Siegel as Frank, Taylor Crawford as Jill and Kevin Murphy as Tony. The resulting generational clash is rich in comedic possibilities and the play effortlessly riffs on the
tag-team premise.
The play was created in the mid ‘80’s by Sam and Jeanne Bobrick. The couples writing credits include “Captain Kangaroo,” “The Andy Griffith Show,” and “Get Smart.” In addition to “Weekend Comedy,” this writing team has penned well-known plays such as “Norman, Is That You?”, “Murder at the Howard Johnsons,” and “Wally’s Café.”
Evening performances will be at 7:30 P.M. on Thursday – Sunday, February 20 – 23; and Friday – Sunday, February 28 and March 1 – 2. Sunday Matinee performances will be at 3:00 P.M. February 23 and March 2. There will be a dress rehearsal on Wednesday evening February 19 that is free and open to the public. Call the HCP Players box office at (828) 526-8084 to buy your tickets. For more info on the Players’ productions, go to

By Wiley Sloan


Cashiers Chocolate Cook Off

chocolatecakeThe Friends of the Albert Carlton-Cashiers Community Library are serving up their Third Chocolate Cook-off Saturday, February 8, in the library’s Meeting Room. Cost is $6, with children under five free.
“This will help us get rid of the winter blahs – and what better way than to gorge ourselves on chocolate – celebrate Valentine’s Day, and support the Friends of the Library,” says organizer Bonnie Zacher. “It’s an opportunity for some friendly competition to make the best chocolate dish in town. All proceeds go to the Friends of the Library to advocate for and enhance library services for local residents.”
There are two categories: one for the professionals (chefs, banquet coordinators, and caterers) and one for the public.
Anyone interested in entering the cook-off should pick up an entry form at the library or call Bonnie Zacher at (828) 743-0489, or Kathie Blozan at (828) 743-1765. All entry forms should be returned by February 4.
“Chocolate confections can be anything made with chocolate, from candies to cakes to brownies and other desserts,” said Mrs. Zacher. “Each entrant will make one dessert that will be judged and later sold and there’ll be additional small bites for the public to taste. Judging will be based on taste, texture, aroma, creativity and eye appeal.”
Membership in the Friends of the Library is open to all who believe in the importance of public libraries to individuals and the community. Membership forms are available at the front desk at the Albert Carlton-Cashiers Community Library.

Movies in Highlands!

Delaina Drysdale-Webb and Ann Marie Osteen offer up tasty snacks to theatre goers.

Delaina Drysdale-Webb and Ann Marie Osteen offer up tasty snacks to theatre goers.

The Highlands Playhouse Movie Theatre brings the best of Hollywood entertainment to the residents of Highlands and Cashiers. The newly-installed equipment ensures that local audiences enjoy all the excitement of big screen blockbusters and
intimate dramas.
Playhouse Board Member Wanda Drake says that a key benefit of the Highlands theatre is that it gives our young people a place for entertainment without having to drive down the mountain.
“Keeping our youngsters safe is paramount for all of us,” Wanda says, “and we all get to enjoy the many great movies too.
“The support of the community has been fabulous. Our ticket sales for movies like ‘Captain Phillips,’ ‘Last Vegas’ and The Hunger Games: Catching Fire’ have been tremendous. It really pleased the movie studios. We outperformed major megaplexes in Greenville and Asheville!”
The Playhouse is still paying for the equipment, so patrons are asked to enjoy the concessions — popcorn, candy, soft drinks, water or even a glass of wine. The profit from concessions helps defray the overhead costs of the Theatre. If you want to do even more, send your tax- deductible check to the Playhouse.
“The movie studios rigidly control which movies are released and how long they are shown,” says Playhouse Board President Scott Allbee. “We plan to offer first-run, classic and children’s movies throughout the year.”
Movie listings are available in multiple venues including the Playhouse website at or recorded message at (828) 526-2695.
Movies are shown Thursday through Sunday. Matinees begin at 4:00 P.M. and evening movies begin at 7:00 or 7:30 P.M., depending on the length of the movie. Tickets are $8, plus tax. Call the Box Office and charge your ticket. Think about a movie gift certificate for friends or your customers. Groups are always welcome.

Cover Artist Tony Raffa

tony-raffa-cover-artist-winter-fivetony-raffa-cover-artist-winter-fourtony-raffa-cover-artist-winter-onetony-raffa-cover-artist-winter-sixtony-raffa-cover-artist-winter-twoWinterCoverShotSuccessful artists are those who not only love what they do, but find an audience who loves it, too. Tony Raffa is a designer who, by his own admission, is not a natural marketer, yet he has established a loyal following spanning the south from Houston, Texas to Highlands, North Carolina. Why? Because his work is so engaging. Some might say the real reason is that his creations are just plain fun!
Raffa descends from a long line of talented artists. He says, “My mom was a painter. Her brother and sister were also artists.” Outstanding among his aunt’s accomplishments were her window treatments of the Four Seasons Restaurant in New York City.
“I have always been a creative person,” says Tony. “I had done a lot of interior design work and decided I wanted to stretch and explore painting. Two years ago I began spending more time in the mountains. My friend, and local artist, Shari Erickson agreed to coach me in painting. Our first lesson was still life. Not my cup of tea. So she told me to relax and just go with whatever felt right. The heart icon is a powerful image to me, so I started painting hearts. At out next session, she looked at my paintings and said, ‘Congratulations! You have graduated!’ That launched my painting career and now I am thrilled to be showing at Smitten Gallery in Highlands.”
Raffa has added another simple, yet powerful iconic image to his painting repertoire: the house. He usually paints his houses facing the same direction with three windows and one door. He did one painting of a house with a screaming man’s head popping out of the roof. A psychologist associate told him a house generally represents oneself. And the screaming head? Who knows? But that’s the cool thing about art. Everyone can assign his/her own interpretation to it. He has sold that image to several clients with whom the symbolism strongly resonated.
Raffa’s latest plunge into whimsy is his Found Folks. They are delightful small sculptures suitable for display in office or home. Each piece is created from found objects: gears, bolts, vintage cast-offs, re-purposed items . . . anything is fair game. Every Found Folk character has its own unique personality that will launch many a story. Need a conversation piece and a fanciful reminder to enjoy life? Check out Found Folks. They are not Fine Art, they are Fun Art.
To see more of Raffa’s work or to contact him about interior design, log onto In addition, he welcomes visitors to his studio. Call for an appointment (828) 787-1070. Or stop by Smitten Art Gallery, 10 Foreman Road, Highlands (828) 526-9300. Call Smitten for information about Third Thursday in February when Raffa will be the featured artist.

by Donna Rhodes


The Art of John Tolmay

John-Tolmay-feature-artist-oneJohn-Tolmay-feature-artist-twoHaving grown up in the bush country of Africa, John Tolmay is at one with the animal kingdom. His years as a guide and huntsman have given him a visual and tactile sense of animal musculature and skeletal structure vital to sculptural rendering. As a young man, when he wasn’t ranching, serving as a safari guide, or fighting in the Rhodesian bush war, he was honing his three-dimensional skills as an artist.
Today, he creates from memory exquisite bronze sculptures of the animals and people in their own environment he so studiously scrutinized on the African plains. Each sculpture tells a compelling story, rich with history, zooming in on human and animal drama. In fact, looking at the motion and emotion pulsing in a Tolmay bronze, one might dub him the Remington of the savannah of south central Africa.
Of his many passions: history, conservation, nature-observations, sculpture, and hunting, it is hunting that stirs him most. For him hunting is not so much for the sport, though he admits that is compelling, but for the sustained utilization of the renewable resource that eventually gives the local adjacent communities a meaningful economic benefit that due to local ownership keeps the poachers at bay. Ironically, once hunting is banned from a parcel of land, poachers leap into the void, and the slaughter begins.
But his greatest hunt is still on, that of inspiring and supporting legislation to finally curtail poaching and give natural animal population control and finance back to the people on whose land the animals dwell. He says, “The project in Zambia is about to be initiated into law. It puts the local community in the forefront of conservation.”
It has been a long and rugged battle, but Tolmay is not one to shy away from a good fight. In fact, he pressed so hard for rural communities to get their resources back, that in 2003 he was jailed and deported. A hunting outfitter bribed a minister to exile Tolmay from his homeland. Luckily Tolmay had acquired a green card to America. He and his wife made their way to the U.S., losing their personal assets in Africa. They settled in Montana, where there are adequate foundries, but bitter winters moved them further south to North Carolina.
It has been a tough transition, but he has adapted. He says the thing we all have in common, the source of our being, is the land. Flora and fauna may vary, but land is land, cattle are cattle and while they are bigger in Africa, cats are cats. But most of all, people are people. So while Tolmay’s artwork is a world away in one sense, it also represents the legend and essence of everyman’s experience. His subjects resonate with the beautiful natural surroundings of Western North Carolina, for they are rooted in broader issues: life, love, and humankind’s eternal struggle to stay in balance with Nature.
To see more of Tolmay’s exquisite bronze sculptures or to commission one for and from your personal environment, contact him at: phone: (406) 670-1908; or e-mail:; website: Better yet, make an appointment to visit him at his studio and be prepared to stay awhile. He is a consummate storyteller in addition to being a world-class sculptor and hunter. Oh, the places he has been! Oh, the stories he will tell!

by Donna Rhodes


A Potter and The Bascom

Ned-Turnbull-The-Bascom-HighlandsIt was love at first sight for Ned Turnbull. “I was hooked on The Bascom,” he says. “I first took a class taught by Cynthia Bringle, who I knew is a big name in pottery. The facility is beyond compare; the equipment is great; and the class schedule, faculty, open studio hours and fellow students are outstanding.”
Turnbull, whose first exposure to a pottery wheel was in his hometown of Laurel, Mississippi, about 10 years ago, not only participates in classes with noted potters and enjoys Bascom events, but is also a two-year board member of The Bascom. “I have found it very rewarding,” he says of service on the board. “Living in Cashiers, it has given me the opportunity to know more people in Highlands.”
He and his wife Suzanne also enjoy golf, family and friends. They discovered the area when attending a weeklong educational seminar at the John C. Campbell Folk School, then Ned took classes at Odyssey Center for the Ceramic Arts, a teaching facility that is part of Highwater Clays located in Asheville.
“Someone in Cashiers told me that The Bascom was about to move into its new facility,” recalls Turnbull of his initial experience with the arts center. “I contacted Pat Taylor [then Studio Barn Manager] and he told me that they would be up and running soon.”
Like so many other members of The Bascom, Turnbull has found many enjoyable ways to continue his passion and to contribute to the community. “The Bascom is a great resource for our area of Western North Carolina; not only is it a very fine visual arts center, but more importantly, the source of extensive, much needed outreach. The full range of opportunities offered by The Bascom make it a place for everyone.”
Immerse yourself in the arts! For more information on The Bascom, go to or call (828) 787-2898. The center is open year-round, Monday through Saturday, 10:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M., and Sunday, noon to 5:00 P.M.


Contributed by Pat Turnbull


The Betsy Paul Art Raffle

Gloria Doxtader

Gloria Doxtader


Lewes Skheta

Lewes Skheta

The art raffle prize for January is a print of a painting by Lewes Skheta of Zimbabwe named “Victoria Falls.” The painting was generously donated by Butch and Brenda Woodward of Highlands.
Lewes Skheta works at the Elephant’s Walk Artist Village in Zimbabwe. He is not only an artist, but is a teacher as well, taking the time to teach art to the local youth. While Lewes paints pictures of many things, he is most famous for his pictures of Victoria Falls.
For February another Architectural Angel individually designed and created by Gloria Doxtader will be raffled.
Architectural Angels began in Cashiers, where Gloria and her husband Boyd enjoy frequent trips. The first angel began with a piece of antique tin and a long time fascination with angels. The angels have evolved into a loved hobby and are now available in three types, each unique with a lovely “spirit.”
Gloria is originally from Western Pennsylvania and has lived in Seattle, San Francisco, Cleveland, and currently Atlanta. She is married to Boyd, who is active in his career in the graphic arts industry. They enjoy two grown sons, two daughters-in-law, four grandchildren and one step-grandson. During her career as a Registered Nurse, Gloria taught allied health courses in most Atlanta area hospitals. Later she co-ordinated courses and wrote certified programs approved by the state of Georgia. The programs were implemented and provided employment for many in Atlanta area health
care facilities.
After retiring, Gloria took courses in interior design, art, and most recently, oil painting. Her most enjoyed creative project was writing and self publishing a cookbook titled “Dunwoody Housewives Do….Cook!” She enjoys gardening, golf, volunteer activities and especially her wonderful grandchildren.
Since the inception of the Architectural Angels, Gloria has participated in several juried art shows in both the Atlanta area and in Highlands.
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. Tickets may be purchased at her office, or donations 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.

Dvorak’s Rusalka at PAC

Renée Fleming as Rusalka

Renée Fleming as Rusalka

Renée Fleming returns to one of her signature roles, singing the enchanting “Song to the Moon” in Dvořák’s soulful fairy-tale opera “Rusalka,” February 8 at the Performing Arts Center in Highlands. Piotr Beczala co-stars as the Prince, Dolora Zajick is Ježibaba, and Yannick Nézet-Séguin conducts this colorful storybook production.

The opera opens in a meadow by a lake. The water nymph Rusalka sits sadly as wood nymphs sing and dance. She is unhappy, she tells her father, the Water Sprite, because she fell in love with a human — the Prince — when he came to swim in the lake. Now she wants to become human herself to be with him. Horrified, the Water Sprite tells her that humans are evil. When Rusalka insists, he advises her to get help from the witch Ježibaba. Rusalka calls on the moon to tell the Prince of her love. Ježibaba arrives and agrees to turn Rusalka into a human — but warns her that if she doesn’t find love she will be damned and the man she loves will die. Also, by becoming mortal, she will lose her power of speech. Convinced that her love will overcome all spells, Rusalka agrees and Ježibaba gives her a potion to drink. As dawn breaks, the Prince appears with a hunting party and finds Rusalka by the lake. Even though she won’t speak to him, he is captivated by her beauty and takes her to his castle.

Come see what happens to Rusalka and the Prince on February 8 at 12:55 P.M. when the MET Opera Live in HD live streams this production of “Rusalka.”  There will be a Pre-Opera discussion beginning at 12:30 P.M.  Tickets are $24 for adults and $12 for students.  Tickets are available online at or by calling (828) 526-9047. Highlands PAC is located at 507 Chestnut Street in Highlands.

Contributed by Mary Adair Leslie



Chamber Music Festival

Gary Motley,  Will Scruggs,  Elena Cholakova and Leo Saguiguit

Gary Motley, Will Scruggs, Elena Cholakova and Leo Saguiguit

Timothy Fain

Timothy Fain

Even though its opening gala is six months away, the Highlands-Cashiers Chamber Music Festival is offering a sneak peak of its 33rd season.
Actually, the fun starts even before the performance season. On June 14, Salon at Six will be staged at the home of Kay Kramer and Frank Cohen. Long-time festival favorites Valery Von Pechy Whitcup and Lea Kibler will entertain on the harp and flute.
The Bascom hosts the next Salon at Six on June 17 with a performance of Modest Mussorgsky’s “Pictures at an Exhibition.”
On June 22, the Highlands-Cashiers Chamber Music Festival teams up with another beloved Highlands institution – Scudder’s Auction House – for “A Musical Auction,” featuring the talents of violinist Helen Kim and cellist Charae Krueger.
As for the season proper, patrons can look forward to the festival’s lineup of breathtaking performances by world-renowned musicians. Standout events include “The Poet’s Love and Life” on July 13-14 — Robert Schumanns “Dichterliebe” interspersed with readings by poet Bruce Berger, featuring tenor Bradley Howard, pianist and Festival Artistic Director William Ransom; “Jazz Meets Classics: Sax in the Mountains,” on July 18-19 – an intriguing blend of verve and nuance with the talents of classical saxophonist Leo Saguiguit, jazz saxophonist Will Scruggs, classical pianist Elena Cholakova and jazz pianist Gary Motley; and “American Idols,” a celebration of the works of composers Philip Glass, Aaron Copland, Kevin Puts, Leonard Bernstein, and Henri Vieuxtemps, set for August 1-2, performed by Tim Fain and William Ransom.
There’ll be also be a free Children’s Concert at the Highlands Community Child Development Center, the Vega String Quartet performing at Buck’s Coffee Shop in Highlands, and, true to the festival’s playful spirit, a Country Meets Classics concert.
If you’d like to help support the Highlands-Cashiers Chamber Music Festival, consider underwriting a concert. For a tax-deductible minimum of $2500, you can dedicate a concert in the Program Book in honor or memory of a special someone.
For details, call (828)526-9060 or email

Highlands History

Some of the Art League of Highlands early pioneers posed after a painting session. (Lto R) Ibby Kenna, Cathy Christie (note she is holding her portrait of the model, T. Morris Goolsby) Pat Watson, J Jay Joannides and her dog Jeb, Muriel Kolb, Jane Mitchell, T. Morris, Kerry McCanaughey, Dane Morgan, Elizabeth (?), Dorothy Lewis, and Betty Laurie Parks.

Some of the Art League of Highlands early pioneers posed after a painting session. (Lto R) Ibby Kenna, Cathy Christie (note she is holding her portrait of the model, T. Morris Goolsby) Pat Watson, J Jay Joannides and her dog Jeb, Muriel Kolb, Jane Mitchell, T. Morris, Kerry McCanaughey, Dane Morgan, Elizabeth (?), Dorothy Lewis, and Betty Laurie Parks.

For decades Highlands has been a hub of the Arts for Western Carolina. The Art League of Highlands has been instrumental in making it so.
The League has its roots in a group of area women, art lovers to-the-core, who took turns hostessing brown bag lunches for artists some 50 years ago. It didn’t take long for wine to be included in the menu. It is Highlands, after all! So the group adopted the name Pickled Painters.
Members included Jo Fleming, Liz Thome, Bess Blair, Mary Spitzer, Helene Sparkes, Marion Black, Elsa Dodd, and Helen Augur. Helen had lived as a guest at the Bascom-Louise Inn, which was willed to the Hudson Library. It became a visual arts wing to display the work of local artists. That space evolved into The Bascom-Louise Gallery, and eventually the fine art center, The Bascom, now located on Franklin Road.
In the late 1970s many Pickled Painters along with new-to-the area artists joined what would eventually become the Art League of Highlands. The group, which met at Helene Sparkes’ barn at the top of Webbmont, was small in the beginning. But it began to grow as word spread. Members felt there was a need for an organized art society to support fellow artists in the creation, exhibition, marketing, promotion and teaching of visual arts.
On July 24, 1980, Ruth Furnald, Terry Hoffman, Lucien and Mary Jane Harris, Walter Hunt, Elizabeth Thorn, Joe Graf, Dody Booth, Mary Spitzer, Polly Knapp Hill, Gladys Baker, Dottie Gay, Bess Blair, Connie Carter, and three exhibiting founding members: Cathy Christie, Norma Smith Hendrix, and J Jay Joannides convened for the first official League meeting. Terry Hoffman was elected president. She confided in Norma that she was too young for the job. Now, at 91, Terry, youthful as ever, continues to paint and place in shows.
Today the league is a thriving 501-C organization boasting over 100 artists and friends. The group was founded on the principle that visual artists need mutual support in order to sustain and advance artistic growth. That, in turn, encourages cultural appreciation of the visual arts in the community. Not only does the League emphasize originality amongst its members, it also nurtures artistic expression in upcoming generations living on the
Highlands Plateau.
The Highlands Art League is proud of its past association with the local community and The Bascom-Louise Gallery. It will continue its collaborative with The Bascom and The Macon County Art Association to support the visual arts in the region.
As sculptor Henry Moore said, “Being an artist is celebrating life.” Members of the Highlands Art League share his passion. As Pat Calderone, current League president says, “Our future goal is to continue to blossom in artistic expression.” To learn more about the League, contact Pat at:

by Donna Rhodes

Dynasty of Dentists

McGuire Dental Office Museum.Dr. David McGuire on the left.

McGuire Dental Office Museum.Dr. David McGuire on the left.

There is a place in Sylva where you can go to have your teeth cleaned and enjoy a history museum visit at the same time. The location of this private family museum is the McGuire Dental Office on King St., Sylva, NC with brothers, Dr. David S. McGuire and Dr. F. Patrick McGuire fulfilling today’s dental needs for folks in Sylva and surrounding mountain communities. They are the fourth generation of the same family to serve in this honored profession – well over 100 years.
In October, a group of 28 history buffs from the Cashiers Historical Society attended a day long program on the earliest area dentist, Dr. James Madison Zachary, who studied the art of dentistry in South Carolina shortly after the Civil War. He married Alice Josephine Rogers in 1877 with whom he had eight daughters, two of whom became dentists. The first stop was at the McGuire Dental Office where a fascinating talk was presented by Dr. David McGuire whose grandmother was Dr. Daisy Zachary McGuire, one of the aforementioned eight daughters of the pioneer dentist, Dr. J. M. Zachary of Hamburg/Norton.
Dr. Daisy Zachary McGuire was the second dentist in this lineage and is the best known of this four-generation dental family, largely due to the many newspaper articles written about her. She was still working on teeth well into her 90s, along with her husband who also became a dentist. Two of her children became dentists and it was Daisy’s daughter, Dr. Patsy McGuire [McGuire was also her married name] who is counted as the third dentist is the lineage. The fourth generation of practicing dentists are Dr. Patsy’s two sons, mentioned above.
In the many rooms of the office/museum, there are untold numbers of framed photographs, dental college diplomas, awards, scary-looking early dental tools and even Dr. Daisy’s “ancient” dental chair. Also, scattered around, are several huge potted plants, such as a Christmas cactus, that speak to the love of flowers each of the generations of this dental dynasty shared.

Contributed by Jane Gibson Nardy, Historian, Cashiers Historical Society

A Kitchen Renovation

highlands-nc-home-of-distinction-twohighlands-nc-home-of-distinction-fivehighlands-nc-home-of-distinction-fourhighlands-nc-home-of-distinctionLiving in these beautiful North Carolina mountains is a dream come true whether you are here seasonally or year-round. A comfortable home to share with family and friends is key to that dream.
Caryn McGarity and her husband Mike recently remodeled their family home. Caryn gathered ideas from magazines, visited Designer Show Houses and developed a look that she wanted before she started.
Since the kitchen was the heart of their home, Caryn wanted a space that was efficient, gave her the needed storage for her family treasures and was easy to maintain. She wanted a casually-elegant look with a slightly contemporary flare. The master bath was another priority in her design plan.
Each person needed their own space without taking up too much floor space. Once she met Josh Powell and John Budd of Underground Design Works, a custom cabinet shop in Highlands, Caryn’s ideas were refined
and enhanced.
“I was wowed by Josh’s design expertise from years in the custom furniture business in Florida and John’s overall construction expertise. Add that to years in cabinet construction and you have a winning combination,” Caryn said. “Through joint collaboration, we developed kitchen cabinets that are eye-catching yet very functional. There is absolutely no wasted space. I have all the special storage features like a pull out spice rack, and lots of work space when we are having a big family get-together.”
“Over the past few years, I had read articles about homes being environmentally friendly and meeting LEED standards but I really did not understand what that meant until I met the guys at Underground,” Mike said. “John’s experience as a general contractor was invaluable. We got a top-quality product, on time and within budget. What more can you ask for?”
Since the laundry room was near the front entry, Josh designed a barn door to hide the utility room and the wet bar. It slides along the wall, without intruding into traffic flow as traditional doors might. Once you enter the kitchen you are wowed with the overall look of the cabinets as they meld with the stainless appliances, the granite countertops and the tile backsplash. The large farm sink is perfect for washing fresh vegetables. A custom façade for the vent hood blends into surrounding cabinets.
Whether you are planning to build a new home or you have a home that you want to update, you will want to talk to Josh and John at Underground Design Works. Stop by their workshop to preview the many samples of wood and the various styles of cabinetry (from traditional to contemporary or a blend of the two) that they offer. Let them help you finalize your design or bring your designer to meet with them. They are focused on identifying your needs and developing a design plan that meets those needs. They are located at 2271 Dillard Road in Highlands. Call them at (828) 526-8055.

By Wiley Sloan | Photos by Gil Stose

Hiking Devil’s Courthouse

The view from Devils Courthouse. [photomerge]Map of the trail to the Devil's Courthouse.The trails at Whiteside Mountain are some of the most well-known hikes in the Highlands-Cashiers area as well as one of the easiest. Less well-known and much more challenging is the spur trail leading to the Devil’s Courthouse just north of Whiteside. While the difficulty of the spur trail is not extreme, it is not the sort of trail to tackle in tennis shoes and is not recommended
for children.
Begin your trek at the Forest Service parking area at GPS coordinates 35.080540 -83.143966. Don’t forget to pay the $2 use fee! Begin up the old Jeep trail on your left after beginning your trip up Whiteside. This initial path segment will be a gradual climb of a little less than a mile, rocky but wide. There might be some mud and ice, but footing should not be a serious problem.
You will arrive at a small clearing with a placard describing the watersheds surrounding Whiteside. The spur to the Devil’s Courthouse begins through the woods bordering the clearing. You will initially begin by traveling downhill, then the trail takes a turn and more or less flattens out for a short span.
The most difficult portion of the trail follows this flat portion. The path slopes downhill once again, but much steeper than before. The footing may become iffy at several points, particularly if the area has recently seen rain or snow. You will know you are on the right track if you arrive at an opening in the trees with a view of the Courthouse to the north.
After encountering the view, you will continue downhill into a dip in the terrain and then begin climbing towards the Devil’s Courthouse. The climb is about a tenth of a mile to a small alpine clearing. Step gingerly here, as the mosses and grasses in the clearing regrow slowly. On a clear day you will find a grand view of Cullowhee Mountain and the Balsams. Enjoy the surroundings and then backtrack to the clearing and the placard. Return to the parking area either via descending the Jeep trail, or, better yet, by looping around the trail on the southern edge of Whiteside.

Contributed by Matthew T. Bradley |

The Best Song Ever Written?

whtechristmasFor decades “White Christmas” was the number one selling single of all time, until it was surpassed in 1997 by “Candle In the Wind,” Elton John’s tribute to Princess Diana. Still, it is the hands-down champion of Christmas secular songs and a timeless classic in almost everyone’s estimation.
Irving Berlin wrote “White Christmas” in 1940. As he was composing he said to his secretary, “Grab your pen and take down this song. I just wrote the best song I’ve ever written — heck! I just wrote the best song that anybody’s
ever written!”
Jerome Kern, another great American songwriter said of Berlin, “Irving Berlin has no place in American music. He is American music.” Berlin wrote over 1,000 songs including God Bless America, America’s second national anthem.
“White Christmas” was written for the movie of the same name released in 1954. The storyline of the film was about a hotel that was open only on major holidays. Berlin wrote a tune for every holiday. As it turned out, he wound up writing the most famous Christmas song of all time. Not bad for an Eastern European Jewish immigrant. The song, “White Christmas,” won the Academy Award for best original song the year of the movie’s release.
Bing Crosby first performed it on the Kraft Music Hall, December 12, 1941. It was a huge success during World War II and quickly rose to the best selling song of all time. With nostalgic lyrics like, “just like the ones I used to know” and comforting images of home like, “where treetops glisten” it resonated with soldiers missing family and families stateside
missing soldiers.
The Bing Crosby version we hear today was recorded in 1947. The original master was damaged and had to be re-recorded. “White Christmas” is on Crosby’s holiday collection, “Merry Christmas,” released in 1949. That album has not been out of print since. Crosby’s version ranks #2 on the Songs of the Century list behind Judy Garland’s, “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” Sorry, Springstein, Jagger, and Lennon. You’ve got a long way to go!
So, this holiday season, as you listen to the words and music to arguably the best song ever written, thank Irving Berlin for making our days merry and bright with his exceptional holiday gift, “White Christmas.”
Happy holidays, and may all your Christmases be white.

by Donna Rhodes