Art League of Highlands NC

Spring has sprung and the 2013 season for the Art League of Highlands is about to get under way.

Monthly meetings will begin on April 29 and will continue through September 30. The last Monday of each month members and friends gather at 4:30 P.M. for social time, followed at 5:00 P.M. by programs presented by talented area artists.

Each meeting is open to all residents and visitors and is always interesting and instructive. Among the 2013 slate of guest speakers are Asheville artist Kenn Kotara, whose theme will be abstracts on mylar, and will include his philosophy of artistic creation; Lakemont, Georgia, basket maker Peggie Wilcox; Mase Lucas, well-known for her contemporary acrylic equine paintings and abstracts, who will trace the evolution of her thirty plus years as a studio artist; and Peggy McBride of Clayton, Georgia, artist, gallery owner and Chair of the Sustainable Arts Society. This lineup of captivating programs will provide unique insights into the world of visual art.

The April 29 meeting will be held at the Calderone Gallery, 3608 Highway 246, in Sky Valley, Georgia. Pat Calderone will give a short welcoming presentation of the gallery and her paintings, which will be followed by members presenting some of their art in a “show and tell” format.

For more information, call (706) 746-5540 for more information and directions to the venue. Meetings from May through August will be held at The Bascom in Highlands, with the location of the September meeting to be announced later.

Contributed by Zach Claxton


Highlands PAC Announces Season




An excited and diverse season has been lined up for the Highlands Cashiers plateau, something for everyone!  Starting the season off on Saturday, June 22, 8:00 P.M. with Angel of Music: A Salute to Andrew Lloyd Webber, featuring Broadway veterans Franc d’Ambrosio and Glory Crampton.  Performing selections from such Andrew Lloyd Webber favorites as The Phantom of the Opera, Evita, Sunset Boulevard, Starlight Express, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, The Woman in White and Aspects Of Love.

Angel of Music: A Salute to Andrew Lloyd Webber is presented by Jim and Marsha Meadows and Wade and Geri Coleman.

Saturday, June 29, 8:00 P.M. :  Retro Rock: Jason D Williams as the unforgettable Jerry Lee Lewis, singing all the unforgettable tunes make famous by the legend himself.  Retro Rock is presented by Lyle and Nancy Nichols.

Saturday, July 6, 8:00 P.M.: Bluegrass Duel: featuring Nitrograss and The Dappled Grays.  A perfect way to top off the July 4th weekend. Bluegrass Duel is presented by Ray and Diane McPhail and Doug and Barbara DeMaire.

Saturday, September 28, 8:00 P.M.: Storyteller: Andy Offutt Irvine.  Andy is always a headliner at the National Storytelling Festival and the performance is presented by Nell Martin and Linda Wexler.

Saturday, October 5 8:00 P.M.: Retro Rock: The Hit Men. The Hit Men are composers, lyricists, and performers of the Hits from the 60s, 70s, and 80s. “If The Hit Men are playing anywhere near you…Go See Them,” proclaims the Huffington Post. The Hit Men is presented by Beth and Dan Riley, Diane and Ray McPhail, Minnie Bob and Mike Campbell, Louise and Rick Demetriou, Jane Webb and David LaCagnina, Ruth Gershon and Sandy Cohn, Elizabeth and Henry Salzarulo (Harry Norman Realty) Carole Simmons, Cindy and Rick Trevathan and Peggy Woodruff.

Friday, November 29 8:00 P.M.: Bluegrass: David Holt with Josh Goforth. David and Josh are four-time Grammy Award Winners, the show is presented by Ray and Diane McPhail and Doug and Barbara DeMaire.

For a full description of each concert please visit  Tickets may be purchased online, by postal mail, or by calling (828) 526-9047.  The Highlands PAC  is located at 507 Chestnut Street in Highlands.

Contributed by Mary Adair Leslie



John Lennon & Me

2013 Highlands NC PAC Youth Theater Class

2013 Highlands NC PAC Youth Theater Class

It’s that time of year again when thirty-eight youth of the area have gathered for an intense eight weeks of theater instruction at the Highlands PAC.  Learning everything from acting, choreography, lighting and sound technology, sociology, history, literature and the importance of team work. Dr. Ronnie Spilton and the youth from the Highlands School, Blue Ridge School, Summit Charter and area home schooled students will be presenting John Lennon and Me by Cheri Bennett.  John Lennon and Me is the winner of many national awards; this uproarious play about life, death, power and first boyfriends.  Hollywood-wannabe Star, the ultimate Beatles fan, has her path stymied by cystic fibrosis, an inherited disease that assures a young death. She spends most of her time in the hospital, where she confronts fate with imagination by surrounding herself with MTV-inspired bodyguard Flunkies and ‘morphing’ her dreaded therapy nurse into a pro-wrestler. Then, Star gets a new roommate, Courtney, who is Star’s opposite…a pretty cheerleader. Neither girl knows much about the other’s world, but eventually come to understand each other, and ultimately, themselves. This is a powerful play about living life to the fullest. Cherie Bennett is one of the most successful playwrights for family audiences in the country. Among her many plays is Anne Frank and Me. Bennett has won an Emmy Award and a Writers Guild of America Award. The PAC Youth Theater received three major grants this year from the Community Foundation of WNC, the “H” Foundation and the Cullasaja Women’s Outreach.  The program is offered to fill a void left by the area school systems; and is offered to students free of charge. John Lennon and Me will be presented at the Highlands PAC on April 25 — 28.  Evening performances are 7:30 P.M. and the Sunday matinee: is 2:30 P.M.  Tickets may be purchased online or by calling (828) 526-9047.  The Highlands PAC  is located at 507 Chestnut Street in Highlands. Contributed by Mary Adair Leslie  

Highlands Playhouse

Highlands Playhouse’s musical director daMon Goff leads off the ambitious 2013 season with a quartet of piano performances May 23-26.

Highlands Playhouse’s musical director daMon Goff leads off the ambitious 2013 season with a quartet of piano performances May 23-26.

daMon on the Keys features Goff showcasing some of his and the audience’s favorite Broadway Standards, from Gershwin to Sondheim. He will be accompanied by a lovely young lady, and together they will sing the night away. Playhouse audiences have come to relish the pianist’s prodigious talents over his nine seasons of musical service. His talents have been honed over a lifetime of performing. For the past 30 years, he has taught piano and entertained Atlanta audiences in a variety of settings from the upscale Ritz-Carlton Hotel to music at Theater of the Stars. Over the years, he has performed many diverse musical styles including classical, gospel, rock ‘n’ roll, Broadway and jazz.

“I hope you have loved the musicals we have brought to Highlands as much as I have enjoyed putting life in the music on stage,” said daMon. “The director of my life’s play is the love of music.”

Goff first joined the Playhouse cast in 2004 playing the Fall Colors weekends with Robert Ray and Company. They performed a Harry Mercer/Harold Arlen revue and was asked back the very next summer. In 2006 he became the Musical Director for Fiddler on the Roof and has been a part of the Playhouse family ever since.

“One of my favorite aspects of summers at the Playhouse is that each and every year is different. There are always new cast members, with new characters, plots, music and a whole new dimension of creativity to explore,” says Goff.

The Highlands Playhouse is located at 362 Oak Street. Subscriptions for all five plays are available now for $150, with extra discounts for educators. To purchase subscriptions or to receive more information, call (828) 526-2695 or go to Group tickets (10 or more) are available now at savings up to 30 percent. Tickets for individual performances are available by calling the box office. For full sponsorship information contact Chesley Owens at (828) 526-9443 or email

For more information about Highlands Playhouse visit

By Luke Osteen



The Kitchen CarryAway & Casserole Kitchen

Chef Holly Roberts’ The Kitchen CarryAway catering business ramps up with the arrival of spring. For information or to place an order, visit the lower level of the Peggy Crosby Center in Highlands or call (828) 526-2110.

Chef Holly Roberts’ The Kitchen CarryAway catering business ramps up with the arrival of spring. For information or to place an order, visit the lower level of the Peggy Crosby Center in Highlands or call (828) 526-2110.

Oh, the welcome signs of spring! Beautiful yellow daffodils dancing in the mountain sunshine, dogwood blossoms in their resplendent white stir in the gentle breezes.

Tantalizing aromas drift down Highlands’ Fifth Street as Holly Roberts and her dedicated staff prepare an ever-widening array of taste-tempting casseroles, hearty soups and delectable hors d’oeuvres. Check out The Kitchen’s Facebook page to see what’s new and exciting for this season.

Remember to stop by The Kitchen CarryAway anytime you need something nourishing and tasty — whether it’s for a simple evening meal or an evening of entertaining, The Kitchen can feed your guests in style.

Throughout the winter, Holly has kept us all healthy and happy with a variety of items including her Beef Tenderloin, Vegetable Soup and her Black-eyed Pea Stew. I always enjoy her Chicken Tetrazzini; the Seafood Tetrazzini is good, too.

Need a good side dish or an appetizer for that “just planned” get-together? Stop by the Kitchen Carry Away to select items from the freezer. You’ll be able to choose from several different casseroles, a variety of soups, appetizers, hors d oeuvres and desserts. Vegetarians applaud Holly’s recent offering Veggie Bake — a sumptuous layer of cheese grits with mixed beans, squash, kale and tomatoes. This is great as an entrée or a side dish. Have you tried her Lemon Pepper Boursin? Don’t miss this
tasty appetizer.

Holly wants to thank all of her loyal customers who have helped her fulfill her dreams of helping others. In October 2012, we told you about her new venture, The Casserole Kitchen, named after her Grandmother’s Catering business. Since its opening last fall, The Casserole Kitchen has provided food to all of us hungry winter residents, plus Holly has generously donated $900 to area non-profits like the Food Pantry of Highlands, MANNA Foodbank, Fishes and Loaves in Cashiers and the Gathering Table. Be sure to take advantage of the many delicious casseroles throughout the summer.

Holly is launching her website this spring for The Casserole Kitchen. There you can select items and Holly will ship them to you. Plan early and let Holly help you eliminate stress in your life. She’ll get your casseroles out on Monday or Tuesday and you will have them on Thursday. You’ll be ready for that weekend dinner party with
no fuss.

The Kitchen CarryAway and Catering is a trusted source of well-prepared foods for your entertaining and everyday needs. It’s located in the lower level of the Peggy Crosby Center at 350 South Fifth Street. Throughout April give Holly a call to order your items. The Kitchen opens May 1st; stop by from 12:00 noon to 5:00 P.M. daily or you can call Holly at (828) 526-2110. Don’t forget the Kitchen Carry Away and Catering for all your special party needs. For a small soiree for six or a party for dozens, Holly will help you entertain in style. Let her create a special menu that fits your unique desires.

By Wiley Sloan


Southern Hospitality in Napa

Boo Beckstoffer in her  beautiful Napa Valley  tasting room.

Boo Beckstoffer in her
beautiful Napa Valley
tasting room.

I’ve been to California wine country several times in the past, tromping through vineyards and the famous Rutherford Dust to learn about the nuances of viticulture from hardworking vineyard managers.

I’ve enjoyed barrel sampling with winemakers amidst the clanging of pumps and the bottling machines of a working winery.  Sure, it was fun, but the learning curve was aimed high and the motives were far
from hedonistic.

My recent trip to Napa was very different. Instead of going as a vineyard and winery owner, I made this pilgrimage as a tourist. I loved it.

There were different types of tasting experiences— the grandeur of Ovid Winery to an intimate tasting in the downtown St. Helena office of Notre Vin, a winery owned by Denis and May-Britt Malbec, formerly of Château Latour, a First Growth in Bordeaux.

Lasting memories and friendships were made on the last day in Napa with a wine tasting with Boo Beckstoffer, an Atlanta native married to Tuck Beckstoffer whose family is one of the largest vineyard owners in Napa. His family is of the land, devoted to the cultivation of great wine through a deep connection to the vines and those who carefully tend them.

I met Boo at the public tennis courts and followed her in a labyrinth-like weave to one of the Beckstoffer Vineyards.  We tasted Hogwash, a delicious, dry rosé that will certainly grace my table as well as the Semper Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Tuck, Boo’s husband, made the Semper brand of wines as his vinous love letters to Boo.

The Southern hospitality of the wine tasting in the vineyard on that sunny winter day– Boo, another friend of mine, and an interloping jack rabbit that squeezed under the fence Peter Rabbit style–was the true highlight of the trip.

The wines of Boo and Tuck Beckstoffer will be among the many boutique offerings featured at the Bascom’s upcoming Collective Spirits Wine andFood Festival from May 16 to 18. Please see the Bascom’s website for more details.

Contributed by Mary Ann Hardman


Curried Quinoa and Arugula Salad

Contributed by Dr. Anastasia Halldin, Nutrition Coach

Contributed by Dr. Anastasia Halldin, Nutrition Coach




After an overload of heavy winter foods, there is nothing that tastes more like spring in the mountains than a fresh, crunchy salad. A salad can easily become a satisfying meal, if you add the right foods to it. Adding nuts, seeds, cooked grains, and chopped eggs adds protein and nutritional value to your regular cucumber-tomato salad.

Curried quinoa, arugula and goat cheese salad is a celebration of spring on a plate. It is bright, colorful and full of life. Cucumbers cleanse the kidneys; arugula supplies iron and folic acid; tomatoes give you lycopene; quinoa is a complete protein with all essential amino acids; curry contains cancer-fighting turmeric;  parsley is a good source of potassium; calcium, manganese, iron, and magnesium and avocado supplies you with the right kind of fats, while goat cheese provides calcium.

You can take this salad to an outside picnic  (take the dressing separately, in a Tupperware container.)

Curried Quinoa, Arugula and Goat Cheese Salad

Makes 3-4 portions


1 cup quinoa, cooked

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided

½ teaspoon curry
Pinch cayenne pepper

½ teaspoon sea salt, divided

1 ½ cups arugula leaves

½ cup parsley, diced

1 medium avocado, sliced

1 large cucumber, peeled and sliced

1 large tomato, chopped

1 tablespoon apple
cider vinegar

optional: 1/3 cup soft goat cheese, crumbled


In a medium sauté pan, sauté cooked quinoa in 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add curry powder, cayenne pepper and a pinch of salt. Combine well and sauté for 3 minutes.

Set aside.

Arrange arugula, parsley, avocado, cucumber slices, tomato on a large plate in layers. Put the warm quinoa mixture on top, in the center.

Sprinkle with goat cheese crumbles.

In a cup, combine apple cider vinegar, the rest of the oil and salt. Pour this dressing over the salad and serve immediately.


A Flock of Walking Pillows

Irene Picklesheimer

Irene Picklesheimer

highhistoryAlmetta Picklesimer Brooks

Almetta Picklesheimer Brooks

A hundred years ago in Highlands, kids didn’t have computer games or city parks to amuse them. Entertainment was Mother Nature’s job.

Salamander safaris, creek dippin’, rock-climbing, horseback riding… all the things we pay to do in simulated environments these days were just the push-of-a-screen-door away in 1900. And it was all for free.

Almetta and Irene Picklesheimer growing up in that era found plenty to do. Their family had a sizeable hillside stable brimming with sheep. The wool was spun into yarn and fashioned into socks and quilts. But the girls were much more interested in a sheep rodeo than bed coverings. They would hop on the back of a wooly ewe and bob along through the herd. If they fell off, they’d simply bounce off a flock of walking pillows, no bruises to cry about.

Sheep-riding was their favorite activity. Irene said, “That was our best pastime. We didn’t have movies to go to.” Mett added, “We had to make our own movies.”

Another of their favorite “movies” was an eight-food square playhouse, walled with dog hobble. Every good house needs milk delivery, right? So they’d go milk a few of their mama’s cows, put the cream in a jar and shake it to make butter. Then, to test their bareback skills, they’d ride Bossie and her pals around the pasture, being careful to avoid Mama’s radar. Eventually they were caught red-handed, butter dripping from their guilty chins. The mammary uh, memory is still a guilty delight. Maybe more than any udder.

Another “movie” was swinging sapling to sapling, like mountaineer Tarzans. They could travel great distances feet never touching the ground. The birches suffered though it all. Mett said, “When we grew up and got married, you could still see those trees where we
ruined them.”

Perhaps we should think of them as a bonsai forest, bent to the will of the designer.

There were hundreds of things for kids to do a century ago. Even chores would be considered fun by many of today’s kids. There were taffy candy pulls, hoppy toad races, corncob doll-making, hayrides, fishing, story-tellin’, dancing, and much more. All these things brought children closer to their roots, literally and figuratively. Mother Nature was and continues to be a
five-star entertainer.

Ran Shaffner offers a post script, “Was it Mother Nature’s healthful games that helped Almetta Picklesimer Brooks live to ninety-seven and her younger sister Irene Picklesimer James to 103?

To research that question and more, read Heart of the Blue Ridge by Ran Shaffner or visit the Highlands Historical Society’s website:

by Donna Rhodes



The First Settlers in Cashiers NC

McKinney Grant #1261, superimposed on a current-day Cashiers map.

McKinney Grant #1261, superimposed on a current-day Cashiers map.

The greater Cashiers Valley area was one of the last places in North Carolina to be settled. Up until 1819, the land which would later become Macon and Jackson Counties was part of the Cherokee Nation. The 1819 treaty between the State of North Carolina and the Cherokee Nation, followed by the 1820 Robert Love survey of the newly acquired land finally allowed pioneers to come in and apply for land ownership. Note that the land went from the Cherokee Nation to the State of North Carolina and then to an individual but never from the Cherokee Nation directly to a person. There was a four-step process to claim a piece of land. The first step was called a Land Entry which meant an individual, having found the land he wanted, would make application to the nearest “Entry Taker” who would transcribe the request into a  volume called the Land Entry Book. A rough description  of the vacant, ungranted land that was being requested accompanied the entry.

The second step was the Land Warrant which was an order to the County Surveyor, authorizing him to set apart land that had been described in the entry. The third step was the Plat of Survey which was a map or plat of the requested land, drawn by the surveyor. Then came the fourth and final step which was the actual Grant or the Patent. It consisted of a copy of the warrant and the plat of survey being recorded and a grant filled out with a copy provided to the applicant. The pioneer now officially owned the requested land. It was sometimes a number of years to complete all these necessary steps.

Three of the earliest families to get land grants in our area were the Nortons, in Whiteside Cove and in Cashiers Valley there were the McKinneys and the Zacharys. You will still find many folks with Norton and Zachary blood in and around Cashiers and many McKinneys living in Highlands and northern Jackson County.

Contributed by Jane Gibson Nardy, Historian, Cashiers Historical Society




Vintage Highlands NC

Vintage home in Highlands NC Vintage home in Highlands NC Vintage home in Highlands NC Vintage home in Highlands NC

Sitting atop a gentle knoll in the Webbmont area close to Main Street Highlands are two vintage Joe Webb log cabins recently updated to perfection.  With almost four acres in this home place adjoining the National Forest, quiet solitude abounds.  The main house includes a large living room with stone fireplace and cathedral ceiling.  The warm tones of the wide plank floors fill the room with character.  There’s no better place to kick back and relax.  The room’s large windows which frame the distant vistas of the Fish Hawk Mountains near Franklin look out onto the screen porch that runs the length of the house.  The porch is the perfect spot for a variety of activities-game time, cocktail time or family meals.  The large stone terrace with its built-in grill beckons you to gather with your favorite libation to soak in the beauty of the evening sunset.

The home’s ample kitchen with breakfast area makes meal prep a breeze. A large gas cooktop and plentiful counters give everyone space to strut their culinary talents.  The home’s laundry is conveniently located just off the kitchen near the back entry adjacent to the carport.

Neither of these cabins are the norm.  They are exceedingly comfy and filled with charm. With windows galore sunlight fills every room and allows the mountain breezes to keep you cool as a cucumber.   The main house includes a large bedroom with private bath on the main floor.  Just a short jaunt up the wooden staircase with its rhododendron newel post and laurel railings are two large light-filled bedrooms that share a bath.  Their four star quality does not diminish the competition to see who gets dibs on the large sleeping porch with its king-size bed.  There’s something truly mesmerizing about sleeping under vintage quilts, with the sounds of nature lulling you to sleep as you watch the twinkling stars. Looking at the current Guest House, you’d never guess that it started its life as the property’s carriage house.  On the terrace level that opens onto the moss-covered lawn is a large, airy bedroom with private bath.  A couple of steps up from the home’s large living room is the second bedroom with private bath.  Open the large windows throughout the house to enjoy the cool  mountain breezes.  Any cook would be at home in this comfy kitchen with its beautiful concrete countertops and gas range.  A large screened-in porch completes this stellar property.  To heck with my guests, let them stay in the main house-this house is my retreat.  With central heat and air and a generator, there’s no roughing it in these eye-catching homes.  

You’ll look long and hard before you will find a family retreat with this many amenities. You’ll commune with nature each and every day.  Call Pat Allen at Pat Allen Realty Group at (828) 526-8784 to arrange a private showing.  For more information go to

By Wiley Sloan 



Trails & Such

Bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis)

Bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis)

 Contemporary Cherokee weavers make use of bloodroot to impart color to their basket splints.

Contemporary Cherokee weavers make use of bloodroot to impart color to their basket splints.

Bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis) is one of the first wildflowers to color the forest floor of the Southern Appalachians, emerging from the leaf litter as a single flower wrapped in a single leaf in late winter or very early spring. The low-growing plant can be found on shady slopes or near the edge of shaded streams. Bloodroot flowers are diurnal; that is, they open in the morning and close at night. They are also short-lived, typically persisting for no longer than a couple of days.

The plant stores energy in sap in a large underground stem called a rhizome which looks similar to a small clove of ginger. It takes its name from the fact that this sap contains a bright red latex which oozes out slowly when a rhizome is broken or its skin is scratched. In the past the sap was a popular medicinal substance, often used internally as an expectorant and emetic and externally against fungal infections. William Bartram’s father John noted its use in the treatment of snakebite and jaundice in the book detailing his 1743 journey from Pennsylvania to Lake Ontario.

We now know that bloodroot is rich in sanguinarine, an alkaloid toxic to animal cells. Though studies have suggested that sanguinarine may have potential for the treatment of cancer, its high toxicity means that experimentation by non-professionals should be strictly avoided.

Many botany keys continue to give ‘Indian-paint’ as an alternative name for Sanguinaria canadensis. In 1612 John Smith recorded the use of dried bloodroot in body paint by the Powhatans, and colonial English travelers and traders revealed something of their activities while away when they returned to their settlements with red stains on the ruffles of their clothing. Contemporary Cherokee weavers make use of bloodroot to impart color to their basket splints.

The chance to catch a glimpse of bloodroot in bloom should be motivation enough to get anyone out the door for an early spring hike. Anyone is sure to catch sight of a few blossoms, even those who believe they know nothing about plants. Bloodroot flowers are nearly impossible to miss, with the brilliant white petals and bright yellow stamens calling attention to themselves amongst the drab leaf litter. Hikers are sure to be tempted to pluck a couple of bloodroot flowers to take home for their significant others, but the better plan is to leave the blossoms standing for the next passerby by bringing the significant others along to the flowers rather than vice versa. That way everyone wins!

Contributed by Matthew T. Bradley |



Favorite Ireland Golf Courses

Contributed by Tom Chillemi, Tom’s Golf Tours,

Contributed by Tom Chillemi, Tom’s Golf Tours,

Old Head Golf Links: The big day! This course is just too spectacular to describe. Everyone has been going crazy in anticipation of this world-renowned jewel. First time they saw it from the coach, just about everyone gasped “Oh my God.” This is probably the most spectacular setting for a golf course in the world. A challenging links course set on a peninsula, completely surrounded by ocean and 250-foot cliffs. Usually very windy since it is not protected.

A unanimous decision by everyone in our group, including those that had played Pebble Beach, that this was the best golf experience bar none of
their lives.

By the way, the caddies here are the best in Ireland. The two in my group were both named “Paddy”…only in Ireland.

We all had a great lunch in the upstairs bar and enjoyed the spectacular views of the whole course.

Ballybunion Golf Club: Observation by the eloquent Dr. David Jacobsen on his first experience on Ballybunion after a round in one of our groups:

“Ballybunion is quite simply: an icon! You stand revered and awestruck at how old this course is. Maybe I stood awestruck too long, for my outcome was obviously ‘challenged.’ The course plays so narrow, the greens so fast, the gorses so high, the breaks so equivocal. I felt from bogey to double, to occasional par that I was just bobbing on the surface…trying merely to survive. I’d check what time it was twice per hole, talking to the ghost behind me asking: “Is this some kind of Joke?” But if the truth be known, this course must be played…and next trip, played again. There’s so much magic in the variety of difficulty, that you will exclaim on the 19th hole: “If this be Joyful Punishment, then Give
Me More!”

Why Do I Feel So Tired?

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

Patients come to us with many symptoms: foot pain in the morning, pain in hips getting up from a chair, neck pain and limited motion when backing up the car, pain in arm/shoulder, headaches or neck soreness after sleeping or working on the computer.  No matter what the physical complaint that brings a patient into our office, fatigue, muscle achiness, and pain are at the top of the list.  In our patient population these symptoms are most often musculoskeletal but the underlying cause could be endocrine, an autoimmune disease, adrenal fatigue, food sensitivities, heavy metal toxicity, and/or vitamin/mineral deficiencies.

Most patients are not aware that there are tests that can be done to detect deficiencies that come as a result of not taking proper care of themselves.  As a patient you should require that your physician take the necessary steps to get to the cause of your problem.  The problem is not there because you have a drug deficiency but it could be because of the drug.  Food consumption and environment are very important to your health, so delving in deeply with patients about these aspects is crucial to determine what needs to be treated.  If you are willing to take a different approach, we can guide you through an Elimination-Detoxification-Provocation Procedure, make suggestions on lifestyle changes, or recommend nutriceuticals.  We have been doing this more than thirty years and it works.  Everyone is different and needs to be treated differently.


The Perfect Girlfriends Getaway

Cashiers NC and Atlanta resident Elizabeth Fletcher makes event planning and public relations seem as effortless and anxiety-free as a day at the spa. Part of that is predicated on her years of experience as the publisher of four regional bridal magazines, bridal events spokesperson for Federated and Belk department stores, and guiding force behind media campaigns for exclusive inns. Equally important are her boundless energy, effortless imagination and fanatical  attention to detail.

Cashiers NC and Atlanta resident Elizabeth Fletcher makes event planning and public relations seem as effortless and anxiety-free as a day at the spa. Part of that is predicated on her years of experience as the publisher of four regional bridal magazines, bridal events spokesperson for Federated and Belk department stores, and guiding force behind media campaigns for exclusive inns. Equally important are her boundless energy, effortless imagination and fanatical
attention to detail.

There’s is something to be said for girlfriends.   Women with strong female social ties (girlfriends) live longer than those without them.  Time with our friends actually reduces our stress levels.  As women, we sometimes need to be reminded what being a girlfriend means. Too often it takes an illness or loss to hit us with reality, realization, and appreciation of friendship. That reminder can also be as simple as a caring card, a hug or an e-mailed photo. Once in a while we simply need to take the time to think about our friends, stop and live in the moment, and if at all possible, celebrate that moment.  There is no better way to celebrate than a girlfriend’s getaway.  The following tips will help ensure the success of your getaway.

6 Tips for the Perfect Girlfriends Getaway

1. Planning Session: Have an official planning meeting.  Be sure to talk about, and agree on, a budget for your getaway.

2. Share The Fun, Share The Burden: Everyone going on the trip gets a “job.”  Someone researches restaurants, someone else looks up the best spas in town, another researches hotels.  Share ideas via email, Facebook or even create a secret board on Pinterest to
post photos.

3. Don’t Over Plan: Allow downtime and the BFF bonding does not have to be 24/7.

4. Push The Limit: It’s time to try something new and create new memories. Maybe it’s time to try sky diving or hot air ballooning.

5. Cherish The Memories: Assign one girl the job of photographer, one memento keeper and create small albums to cherish forever.

6. What Not To Pack: Leave all work stuff at home.  This is a time to unwind and forget about everything except your time with your friends.

Life is better together – with your girlfriends.


Cruising as a First Timer, Part Two

Contributed by Bryan & Tricia Cox - Highlands Travel (828) 526-5243

Contributed by Bryan & Tricia Cox – Highlands Travel
(828) 526-5243

Last month, I talked about my sailing onboard Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas with my friend who had never been on a cruise.  I shared all the things there are to do on a cruise ship and how, in so many ways, it is surprising to a first time cruiser.  Besides the ship itself, however, there are the destinations you visit.  During my sailing in January, I found it refreshing to view the ports and simply the ability to visit multiple places on the same trip, through the eyes of someone who had

never cruised.

I often describe a cruise vacation as a sampler platter.  You get to visit several destinations without having to pack and unpack multiple times or drag your bags from one place to the next.  A cruise is truly the most convenient way to travel.  While you sleep, you travel from one place to the next.  What could
be easier?

On this particular sailing, we were able to shop in Nassau, scuba dive in St. Thomas, and tour St. Maarten all within a week.  With a little bit of planning, you can enhance your vacation with a private tour, dive or snorkel trip in almost any port.  And, of course, those only scratch the surface of the available options in any destination.   From cave tubing in Belize to zip lining in Honduras or visiting an all-inclusive resort in the Bahamas, the choices are endless.

When your day of adventure on land is done, you return to your floating resort where you can relax in the spa or by the pool, enjoy a gourmet meal, visit a nightclub, or take in a show.  With so much to do and see both on the ship and in the ports, this is a vacation that truly has something for everyone.

If you have never considered cruising because you think you will be bored, it may be time to give a cruise vacation another look!


Brain Stickies

by Donna Rhodes

by Donna Rhodes

What do “It’s a Small World,” “Who Let the Dogs Out?” and “Gangnam Style” all have in common? Each is an example of what Germans call ohrwurm. We know them as earworms. They are melodies and lyrics that get lodged in our heads, playing over and over again like a stuck record.

Earworms are metrically bouncy and are as catchy as they are annoying. Both men and women suffer from them, though women, yeah, lucky us, seem to have a harder time shaking them. And they irritate us more. Kind of like the steady drip-drip-drip of that leaky faucet our significant others manage to edit out of sight and mind. Let’s face it. Men are just better at ignoring things. I’ll be getting letters on that one.

Musicians and people who suffer OCD are more likely to suffer from frequent earworm attacks. So if you are a female musician who has OCD, you are in deep yogurt. Perhaps the most famous earworm sufferer was Jean Harris, the woman who murdered the Scarsdale Diet doctor. She was obsessed with the song, “Put the Blame on Mame” from Gilda. She was plagued by it for over 33 years and she could hold conversations while listening to it in her head. Her attempts to blame Mame for the murder, however, didn’t hold up in court.

Earworms have even been the subject of literary works. In Mark Twain’s short story, “A Literary Nightmare,” an annoying virus-like jingle cannot be stopped until it is passed on to another victim. Even Sponge Bob has fallen prey. In the episode entitled “Earworm” he gets a song stuck in his head called “Musical Doodle.”

Earworms only last a few seconds, 15 to 30 on average. It’s the constant repetition that drives us bonkers.  Some say earworms have no real climax, no conclusion. Because they are only a snippet of the whole, they never get resolved and we can’t dump out of them. So the remedy is to sing the whole song to its amen ending. I tried that. But I can’t stop wondering who let the dogs out.

If you are feeling brave, check out the following website. It is the international top ten earworm music videos of all time. So far, “It’s a Small World” is winning, but you can cast your own vote. Warning: after watching you may have 10 simultaneous earworms going on in your head. I’ll bet I have already infected you with “It’s a Small World.”

Mr. Twain! Mr. Twain! It worked. My brain is free at last.


All About Balance

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

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

Imagine living in a house where the floors are tilted. Everyday you’d have the same routine to make sure things didn’t roll off the counters or tip over because surfaces aren’t level.

This is what you go through when your body is out of balance or alignment. Every part of you has to do more work to keep you moving as efficiently as possible – all your muscles, your nervous system, joints, tendons, ligaments and even your brain and heart. Serious adverse effects occur in your body when this misaligned situation is left to continue over a long time. A chiropractor deals with these biomechanical situations every day. Accurate assessment of the body’s alignment and how to make the appropriate corrections are the skills that are honed over a chiropractor’s education and ultimately,
their career.

Some patients come in to my office knowing they are “out” or misaligned or feeling just a bit off. They may feel some pain, achiness, indigestion, congestion, headache, fatigue or just inexplicable loss of energy. In all these cases, a chiropractor can help to correct the body’s balance after an assessment of body alignment, questions about symptoms and signs, taking a medical history and beginning the adjustments and other therapies necessary to effect the necessary changes. Most patients already feel much improved when they leave the office after that first visit. Several visits involving the prescribed treatments are usually necessary to re-educate the body and nervous system to hold their
“new” positions.

To find out more about your body, pay closer attention to the subtleties that occur within your body and don’t just settle if every day you feel a bit off. After correcting and treating any immediate issues, you will probably feel better than you thought you’d ever feel again with a simple maintenance adjustment every now
and then.

So don’t spend everyday in a home that has tilted floors… do something about that balance!

Highlands NC Rotary Youth Exchange

2011-12 Exchange Student to Ankorah,Turkey Samuel Craig and Exchange Student to Para de Minas Brazil Hayden Bates with their parents  Lisa and Thomas Bates and Thomas and Kay Craig

2011-12 Exchange Student to Ankorah,Turkey Samuel Craig and Exchange Student to Para de Minas Brazil Hayden Bates with their parents Lisa and Thomas Bates and Thomas and Kay Craig

One of the most successful and globally minded programs of Rotary International is Youth Exchange.

For over 75 years, students and host families have broadened their horizons through this program. Over 1.2 million Rotarians in more than 32,000 clubs create the extensive network that provides support for
Youth Exchange.

In the summer of 1980, three Highlands School students embarked on the journey of a lifetime. Randy Talley, Rene Keener and Anita Lupoli (Schmitt) set off for a Summer Exchange in Brazil. They each stayed in different towns, with different families. The following year, the Highlands Rotary sponsored two in-bound year round students from Brazil, with several local families hosting, including
the Schmitts.

Two years ago, continuing the legacy began by her mother, Isabella Lupoli travelled to Bologna, Italy for a summer Exchange. Last year the Lupolis and Schmitts (Paul and Andrea) were once again among the local families who volunteered as Host Families for Angelina Raffine, a year round in-bound student from France.

In the years that the Rotary Club of Highlands has actively participated we have seen scores of students both inbound and outbound, connecting our small town with Hungary, Argentina, Spain, Turkey, South Africa, Japan and a number of other countries. This year, the Club is sponsoring Kalob Chauvin-Payne for a year-round stay in Spain and hope to host an in-bound student as well. We are looking for three Host Families who would be willing to make a student’s dream come true while enriching their own family life by learning about life in
another country.

Anyone interested in learning more about this exciting program, either as an Exchange Student or Host Family should contact Highlands Rotarian Christy Kelly at

We are currently seeking to reconnect with all of our students, both inbound and out bound as well as their Host Families. If you have participated in any way over the years please visit the Highlands Rotary Youth Exchange Facebook page to share your stories, memories and photos.

Contributed by Christy Kelly


Bracken Bog at Sixth Street

This past December Janice and James Carter donated 2.2 acres along Smallwood Avenue in Highlands to the Highlands-Cashiers Land Trust. This small tract is identified by the state of North Carolina as a Significant Natural Heritage Area and is home to a southern Appalachian Bog and three rare plant species. A bog is a type of wetland with acid soils, and few available nutrients, and as a result, they tend to accumulate peat. Many bogs are very small and because of this bogs have historically been drained and filled throughout the Appalachians. For example, most of Horse Cove was once a large bog estimated to be 4,500 years old but was destroyed in the 20th century by draining.

The Carters’ property was first purchased for protection by Helene Bracken and her sister Francis Tree back in 1997 to conserve the land and ensure that no one build on it. Helene was married to Dr. C. Franklin Bracken, Janice Carter’s great uncle.  Helene was a retired vice president of the Mobil Oil Company and both she and Francis were summer residents of Highlands. Helene bequeathed the property to Francis who in turned passed it on to Janice Carter. At Janice’s request we have named this new acquisition “Bracken Bog at Sixth Street.”

This tract has been added to an adjacent land donation made by Ernest and Joyce Franklin in 2007. Together these two tracts protect a rare Appalachian bog and provide green-space, wildlife habitat, and critical floodwater storage for the town of Highlands. Future plans for this small jewel are to open up the primary bog area by removing exotic plant species and encroaching pines that are shading out the more sun-loving herbaceous wetland plants.

To learn more about Bracken Bog, help us with our restoration efforts, or learn how the Highlands-Cashiers Land Trust protects over 2,400 acres of valuable land resources contact us at (828) 526-1111 or visit  Together we are saving mountains.

Contributed by Julie Schott, Highlands-Cashiers Land Trust in North Carolina.



Literacy Council of Highlands NC

Although April is National Volunteer Month, we want our very special volunteers to know that we cherish them and their work every month!

Those folks volunteering their time at the Literacy Council do so in a myriad of ways: through tutoring, maintenance, meal preparation, child care, kids camp, and sometimes by just being a friend, counselor, or confidante to someone.

Sometimes, tutors come in for extra sessions. Other times, they have unexpected individuals showing up to join their sessions. They are all so flexible and generous with their time and it is very inspirational to know these wonderful people!

Some volunteers have been with the Literacy Council for many years; others have just joined us this year. Some volunteers do double-duty as both tutors and board members; others tutor and also teach classes. Still others might not even know they are volunteering until they enter our offices and we need a piece of furniture assembled or something heavy hauled away. I cannot say enough about these special people who give of themselves without a second’s hesitation.

I would like to honor those special folks by mentioning their names here and knowing that nothing I could ever do would begin to repay them for their efforts: Chris Boltz, Ann Campbell, Zach Claxton, Beverly Cone, Donald Cook, Jodie Cook, Leslie Doster, Nancy Duncan, Bill Edwards, Lynn Gaar, Mary Heffington, Ron Hensley, Dick Hills, Marcy Hutzel, Tom Joyner, Michael Lanzilotta, Ana Martinez, Jacky Reyes, Lisa Richards, Jennifer Royce, Cristell Ruiz, Kay Smith, Teeter Smith, Rick Trevathan, Bob Tietze, and Barbara Vitale.

Board members also volunteer their time and talents and they deserve a huge thank-you as well: President Brian Stiehler, Secretary Chris Boltz, Treasurer Hilary Stiehler, Gerry Doubleday, Ron Leslie, Pam Nellis, Jerry Hermanson, Beth Moore, Harriet Hamilton, Susie Walker, Dick Hills, Kay Smith, and Betty George.

On April 25, we are planning our annual Volunteer Appreciation Party as a thank-you for all the efforts of these fine individuals. Our theme will be a 50’s-style rock-n-roll party, complete with poodle skirts, hoola-hoops, and maybe even an old car or two.

If you would like to volunteer at the Literacy Council, please call us at (828) 526-0863 and we’ll be happy to find a place for you!

Contributed by Tonya Hensley, Executive Director, Literacy Council of Highlands, North Carolina


Earth Day and More

Volunteers Russell Regnery and Lynn Miller

Volunteers Russell Regnery and Lynn Miller

Whether you are a professional horticulturist or budding gardener, the Highlands Botanical Garden is always welcoming new volunteers to help in the Garden.

The Highlands Botanical Garden is holding a volunteer workday on April 20 to celebrate Earth Day.  They need your help with some trail work!  Volunteers will be divided into small groups to focus on specific tasks, including ivy, nettle, and blackberry removal, as well as mulching and removing dead woody debris from the trails.  Work will concentrate around the Garden Entrance, and Fern and Woodland Loop trails.  The workday will be held from 10:00 A.M. until Noon and refreshments will be provided.  All ages are welcome.  Remember to wear clothing appropriate for trail work.

The Garden also holds volunteer workdays on the last Friday of each month, May through August.  The 2013 dates are May 31, June 28, July 26, and August 30.  Needs vary each month and new tasks are always coming up.  These are great opportunities to develop your skills, learn basic gardening practices, and interact with fellow gardeners.  These workdays are held from 9:00 A.M. until noon.

All ages and skill levels are welcome to volunteer.  These are meant to be fun and informative mornings.  If you wish to participate in the Earth Day Volunteer Celebration, or any of the monthly workdays, please let Horticultural Specialist Erika Selman know in advance, by calling (828) 526-0188 or e-mailing  Erika will provide more details.  More information about the Highlands Botanical Garden is available on the web at

Contributed by Michelle Ruigrok, Highlands North Carolina Biological Station



Cashiers-Highlands Humane Society

To support our mission of rescue, compassionate care, and finding forever homes for abandoned and neglected animals, the Cashiers-Highlands Humane Society relies solely on donations, grants, bequests and special events. CHHS special events are not only important fundraisers for the shelter pets, they are also exciting “fun-raisers” for the wonderful people in our community who love their animals! In addition to the multiple events in 2013 where our shelter pets will be appearing – such as arts and crafts shows, festivals, and our famous “Stop-N-Adopts”– there are three major events that all animal lovers won’t want to miss!

Pawsitively Purrfect Evening – our annual gala kicks off the social season in grand style! Join us at the luxurious Country Club of Sapphire Valley and enjoy a magical evening featuring cocktails, an exquisite dinner, live and silent auction, and dancing. Among the live auction items this year is a one-week stay in a beautiful townhome in Barcelona, Spain. SAVE THE DATE: Friday, June 14, 6:00 – 10:30 P.M.

2nd annual Barrel of Fun and Friendship – When animal shelters and rescue groups join forces and work together, more lives are saved, and more forever homes are found. CHHS and Friends for Life/Forever Farm are celebrating our second year of partnering on behalf of the animals with a fundraising party that benefits both organizations. The Cork and Barrel Restaurant and Lounge in Cashiers will once again serve as our gracious host. SAVE THE DATE: Sunday, July 7, 4:00 – 8:00  P.M.

Second annual Bark, Beer and Bluegrass – CHHS returns to the enchanting Farm at Old Edwards Inn for our annual signature fundraising event in Highlands! The evening’s highlights include a barbecue feast, beer and wine, live bluegrass music, and a silent and live auction including a one-week vacation in a romantic beachfront home in The Bahamas. SAVE THE DATE: Wednesday, August 21, 6:00 – 10:00 P.M.

Tickets for all the above events will be going on sale soon. For more information, please contact the CHHS shelter at (828) 743-5752.

Cashiers-Highlands Humane Society is located on Highway 64, two miles east of the Cashiers Crossroads behind Reid Real Estate. Shelter hours are 10:00 A.M. – 4:00 P.M. Monday through Saturday. Visit CHHS online at to see pictures and descriptions of all the adorable, adoptable dogs and cats looking for
forever homes.

Contributed by David Stroud, Executive Director, Cashiers-Highlands Humane Society



A Decision for Comfort

The New York Times recently published an article entitled, “On the Way to Hospice: Surprising Hurdles.”  The question is why so many people wait until only days, or even hours, before a death to call in hospice care.  Perhaps families and physicians do not want to feel that they have “given up.”  Perhaps the need to give up aggressive treatments intended to extend life seems too difficult a decision, in spite of the fact that such treatments may only extend suffering.  The article also pointed out that some hospice facilities do not offer palliative treatments that might relieve suffering, but which might also be considered curative efforts when no cure is possible.

In the United States, close to half of all deaths occur at home with hospice support. This is a significant development in our efforts to offer compassionate support for patients and families.  However, it is unfortunate that so many families try to bear the burden of care alone, when support is available for six months, sometimes more. Most people would much prefer to stay at home, in familiar surroundings, with friends and family, than to be in a hospital setting.

Dr. Janet Bull, Chief Medical Officer of Four Seasons, says of our local services: “In my experience, once patients understand that many treatments at this point in their illness do little to extend life and may often cause increased symptom burden from the treatment itself, they choose a care plan focused on comfort.  The biggest statement we hear from families/patients is ‘I wish I had come into hospice earlier.’”  At Four Seasons we offer palliative treatments (i.e. radiation therapy, blood transfusions, etc.) when there is a known benefit and hopeful improved quality of life.  Not all hospices are able to do this because of the costs involved in these treatments.  At Four Seasons, we also have an active research department that offers clinical trials around reducing symptom burden, offering patients therapies that are still in the development stage, for example, studies to help alleviate cancer pain and other
difficult symptoms. For more information, contact Steve Mills M. Div., Director for WNC at (828) 526-2552. 

Contributed by Diane McPhail


Carpe Diem Farms in Highlands NC

Spring is popping up all around us!

At CDF the grass is greening, flowers budding and it’s time to plant the organic vegetable garden.
If you are planting a garden, amending a landscape or even a lawn you’ll want to purchase some black gold, known as Promising Results from Carpe Diem Farms. Our 100 percent organic compost is becoming a staple of many local landscapers and nursery owners. They refer to it as their “secret weapon!”

Compost is rich in organic matter and nutrients. At CDF it’s made from our horse manure, hay and pine stall bedding. Our compost is alive with micro-organisms and macro-organisms. It is stable due to our slow process of decomposing and management. We toss it, water it and even take its temperature. Compost conditions your soil with its organic matter and slowly releases fertilizers. It holds water and nutrients while providing erosion protection.

For the past 10 years Promising Results has helped to provide funding for our youth programs. It has served as an educational program as well. Our students learn the whole process and then pick flowers, berries and vegetables grown in 100 percent Promising Results. Purchasing Promising Results you help youth, your garden and ultimately, the environment…it’s a
good thing.

You can purchase our black gold by the bag, bucket or truck load. Call (828) 526-2854 to schedule a time to pick up your Promising Results and see what it can do for your garden, flowers and lawn.

Carpe Diem Farms is a 501©(3) educational notfor-profit located five miles down the Buck Creek Road at 544 Western Rhodes Drive. Our website is

Contributed by Sue Blair, Carpe Diem Farms Executive Director


Feline Feng Shui

Stevie Wonder

Stevie Wonder

You, too, may have a special feline companion that feels it is his, or her, job to rearrange your home based on Feng Shui.  You know, the Chinese system of laws considered to govern spatial arrangement and orientation in relation to the flow of energy.  “Stevie Wonder,” who I foster in my home, does not like order, but rather disarray.  Interestingly, Stevie has been blind since birth, so sight has nothing to do with the rearrangement of his living space–which happens to be my bedroom and bathroom.  I am positive that the Feng Shui “flow of energy” – his energy, to be exact – causes the rearrangement of rugs, paper towels, magazines, shoes, anything he can get his paws on.  Stevie is very proud of his decorating ability, and I find it very entertaining – most of the time.

Animals born with disabilities have no idea that they are any different then their siblings or roommates.  They don’t bemoan the lack of a sense, or a limb – they learn to handle life with what they have to work with.  These special animals enrich my life – and I am dedicated to rescuing them.  Help me keep the Friends for Life mission alive.  Every tax deductible donation, no matter how small, helps to keep the Forever Farm a safe and loving home for senior and special needs companion animals.  Visit our website at and take the Visual Tour. Donations can be made online, or mailed to P.O. Box 340, Sapphire, NC 28774.  Call (828) 508-2460 for information.

Contributed by Kathy Bub, Executive Director, Forever Farms


Highlands NC Relay for life

The NFL Season is over… But Kickoff Rally For Relay For Life Of Highlands is just around the corner. We officially get underway as our event volunteers and participants  gather at Highlands Fire Station on Saturday, April 13, from 5:00 – 7:00 P.M. Please join us for food, fun and information about Relay 2013.

Our theme for Relay this year is “Relay Around The World.” Our goal this year is to raise $100,000 again. Returning teams are eager to welcome new teams. Here is your opportunity to register a team and start making plans for our overnight event which will take place August 9 at the Highlands Recreation Center.

Relay brings together friends, families, businesses, hospitals, schools, faith-based groups, people from all walks of life… aimed at furthering the American Cancer Society’s vision of creating a world with less cancer and
more birthdays.

One of our returning teams, Old Edwards Inn, has scheduled their first fundraiser of the year. Dave Linn, team co-captain, invites everyone to a kickball tournament. “Safe At Second” will take place on Saturday, April 20, at Zachary Park on Buck Creek Road. For more information about this event contact Dave Linn at

This year Highlands Relay will be working with a new ACS partner. We welcome Sarah Bishop as our new ACS staff partner. Mike Murphy and Debbie Grossman are retuning as our committee leads. We all look forward to another successful year of fundraising and exciting community events.

We invite all Highlands residents to come to our kickoff rally and honor our cancer survivors and help those fight back who are battling cancer and remember those who have lost their battle. Together we can do anything!

Please visit for more information and to register for this years Relay!

Contributed by Ellen Bauman



Blue Ridge Music

The past few years have seen extraordinary change in every industry, all thanks to advances in technology. Music and music learning have been on the leading-edge of these changes. The business of buying and selling music has been revolutionized. In the past, we Americans consumed music, songs.

For the first time in history, sales of musical instruments and related accessories has outpaced sales of music, albums, songs. What does this all mean? It means music is more in the hands of everyone. It is more for the people, by the people.

Today high quality instruments are available at prices lower than ever. And affordable recording technology is pervasive. And there are music distribution systems on the internet now that allow the most humble garage band to reach international distribution. Now money is no issue when competing with the largest record labels with their billion dollar budgets.

This is all great news for aspiring musicians. We are more in control of our careers, and don’t need to make devils deals with shifty recording industry giants. In the past, a musical artist would need to find a label willing to invest tens of thousands of dollars, or more, just to record in a recording studio.

Today, knowledge is key.

This is where Blue Ridge Music Academy in Clayton comes in. We are first, an Academy steeped in cultivating the modern learners mastery of music that meets their own unique goals as musicians, singers, or songwriters. We are dedicated to nurturing students from learners, to performers, to published artists. We can nurture music artists even in marketing, getting their music to
their fans.

We specialize in bringing budget oriented projects to market. Whether you have a church group wanting to get a CD out for the parishioners to share, or a garage band wanting to record  a song and get it on iTunes, we can accommodate any budget.

Contact us today for more information on music lessons, voice, recording, publishing, and marketing your music. or
call (706) 782-9852.

Contributed by Chris Miller


Cover Artist Dave Allen

Cover Image for the April 2013 Laurel Magazine Cover by Dave Allen

Cover Image for the April 2013 Laurel Magazine Cover by Dave Allen

The mountains of Western North Carolina are constantly in motion, changing every day, every second with each shift of light, shadow, and season. David Allen, master of preserving those breath-taking moments, has chronicled them on the covers of the world’s most popular photography magazines including Outdoor Photographer and National Geographic. And for his estimable talent he has been dubbed the Carolina Photographer.

Allen has always been involved in a field creative. He began as a professional musician straight out of high school. From the performing arts he leapt to the visual arts where he owned and managed a graphic arts business for years until 2008. It was then he picked up a digital camera to document the beauty of the Carolinas. He photo-journaled from coastline to mountaintop, each day more in love with the digital process than the day before. One thing led to another and now he is known worldwide for his incredible images of mountains, waterfalls, and fine art landscapes.

He has a dedicated following in the region and makes weekly deliveries and photo shoots to Highlands. His home base is Hendersonville. He says, “’Highlands Sunrise’ ( ) is one of my most famous images, and has been featured on the cover of Outdoor Photographer Magazine as well as many others.  In fact, Outdoor Photographer Magazine even published an article I authored about Highlands North Carolina, in the May 2012 issue, which can be seen at

After articles are written, deliveries are made, and books kept, Allen hits the trail for days of shooting whenever time and weather permit. His stockpile of licensed images is popular amongst big name magazines. In fact, you have probably seen dozens of his shots without even knowing it.

He feels lucky to be blessed with a job that is so rewarding. He says, “I feel very passionate about my work. For people fortunate enough to enjoy what they do, I believe that true wealth has little to do with one’s bank account.”

To see more of his work, catch a glimpse of the Nikon gear he uses, or learn how to order his quality prints and calendars, visit his website at From there you can contact him about commissions, ordering prints, or you can make an inquiry about his work. In addition, you can friend him on Facebook at He welcomes your comments and is pleased to share Mother Nature’s portraits with fellow Carolinians.

See more of Dave’s photography at


Annual Rotary Golf Tourney

Highlands Rotary Club annual Golf Tournament

Rotary’s Golf Tournament is a memorable stroll over the legendary links of Highlands Country Club.

A true signal that the summer season is near is the Rotary Club’s Annual Golf Tournament at the Highlands Country Club.  Make your reservations now by contacting Rotarian and Tournament chair, Joyce Baillargeon at (828) 526-0501 or  Monday, May 6 is the date, a twelve noon shotgun start is the plan.  You can access the driving range and the practice green at 11:00 A.M. along with registration.  Proceeds from this event allow the Rotary Club to support their many charitable projects throughout the year.

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.  Take advantage of this great opportunity to play the oldest and most prestigious course in our area.  Show your skills on this course which has challenged many fine golfers throughout the years.  Mulligans can be purchased for $5 each.  You’ll have a chance to win great prizes including a closest to the pin and long drive competition plus receive an HCC logged Tervis Tumbler mug and a good lunch at the turn.

Throughout the years, the Tournament has raised more than $100,000 to support many community projects like the Student Foreign Exchange Program, the Literacy Council, local Boy Scout Troop, the Peggy Crosby Center, the Library, plus many other community groups.

Registration for each player is $150.  If you are not able to play but would like to support the Rotary Club with a hole or corporate sponsor, contact Joyce as shown above.  Fore!

By Wiley Sloan



The Bascom’s Regional Art Exhibit

Thirteen local arts groups—a record number—are participating in The Bascom’s annual exhibition, Regional Arts Organizations: Selected Works. On view now through March 31, this show includes a variety of innovative works from these members. These arts organizations not only support their artists and foster excellence and professionalism, but also increase the public value of arts in the community. The Bascom is pleased to recognize these regional artists through this annual exhibition, in keeping with its mission to enhance the quality of life through dynamic, inspirational and transformational art experiences.  For the first time this year, The Bascom will present $700 in awards, including a People’s Choice Award. The reception and awards announcement will take place on Saturday, March 23, from 5:00 to 7:00 P.M. Everyone is welcome to come to

the reception.

This year, the participating arts organizations are: Appalachian Pastel Society – Waynesville, NC; Art League of Highlands – Highlands, NC; Blue Ridge Fine Arts Guild – Burnsville, NC; Blue Ridge Mountains Arts Association – Blue Ridge, GA.; Cherokee County Arts Council – Murphy, NC; Connestee Art League – Cedar Mountain, NC; Currahee Artists’ Guild – Toccoa, GA; High Country Watermedia Society – Boone, NC; Macon County Art Association – Franklin, NC; Mountain Laurel Quilters’ Guild – Clarksville, GA; North Georgia Arts Guild – Clayton, GA; Swannanoa Valley Fine Arts League – Black Mountain, NC; and Valley River Arts Guild – Murphy, NC.

Check out other current exhibitions, classes and workshops at our updated website, or through the beautiful new 2013 catalogue, available free at The Bascom.

The Bascom is open year-round, Monday through Saturday, 10:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M., and Sunday, 12:00 noon to 5:00 P.M. Enjoy workshops, exhibitions, special events and quality programs throughout the year at The Bascom. For more information, to register for workshop offerings or for more details on all Bascom activities, visit or call (828) 526-4949.

Contributed by Barbara S. Tapp



“Social Security”

HCP’s Production of Social Security continues Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, March 1, 2, and 3. This Broadway hit guarantees laughter and fun as we finish out the winter.  Join this great cast for an evening of joyful entertainment.  “Social Security” features the ensemble cast of Jennifer Royce, Lance Trudel, Marsha Shmalo, Stuart Armor, Nancy Gaddy and Dean Zuch.  The play is directed by Mary Adair Leslie.

Set in the New York apartment of art dealers Barbara and David, their tranquil life is disrupted when Barbara’s matriarchal mother is dropped off by her sister and her husband because they need to go “rescue” their daughter, who has been away at college for two months.  The comic sparks begin to fly when the mother (old enough to receive Social Security…but never too old for romance) hits it off with an elderly artist.  Evening performances begin at 7:30 P.M. and the Sunday matinee begins at 2:30.  You may purchase tickets by calling the HCP Box Office: (828) 526-8084.  Don’t miss this romantic comedy at the Highlands PAC, 507 Chestnut Street, Highlands.

Contributed by Mary Adair Leslie



Three Rivers Fly Fishing Tournament

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.

The trout, as ubiquitous as the rhododendron thickets that line those streams, seduce, challenge and occasionally reward their most ardent suitors – fly fishermen and women of extraordinary skill and infinite patience

That’s what makes Highlands’ Annual Three River Fly Fishing Tournament, set for May 16 through the 17, 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.

A tax-deductible $500 entry fee secures a spot for a two-person team in the tournament. Teams that wish to compete for top prizes will fish three different streams—one native, one hatchery supported and one delayed-harvest stream.

The entry fee includes various clinics, an invitation to the opening night reception, lunch for days, a fishing goody bag and a closing night winners’ dinner with food and prizes at Old Edwards Inn and Spa. Space is limited. Only the first 50 teams to register will be able to participate.

Participants take to the streams over the three days. From Highlands, the fishing boundary will have a northern boundary of US Hwy. 74, a western boundary of the rafting and delayed harvest sections of the Nantahala River, a southern boundary of the Hwy. 28 bridge on the Chattooga River and an eastern boundary of the Davidson River and the East Fork of the French Broad River. A map designating all streams within this boundary will be provided to each applicant.

To register or receive more information, visit or call the Highlands Visitor Center at (866) 526-5841. The tournament is sponsored in part by the Highlands Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center, the Highland Hiker, Old Edwards Inn and Spa, The Highlander, Benjamin F. Edwards and Co. and Mountain Fresh Grocery.


Highlands Annual Chili Cookoff

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 Cookoff, slated for 6:30 P.M. to 9:30 P.M. Saturday, March 9, at the Community Building (Conference Center) is always such a welcome part of the social calendar.

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 firestorm of biblical proportions. Bartenders Rick and Helene Siegel will be on hand to ensure that no one gets too thirsty sampling all the sensations. Add in live 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 chilis themselves–it’s a palate-pleasing spectrum that ranges from the sublimely spiced to the tongue-searing. There’ll be prizes awarded for Hottest Chili, Unique, Traditional, Best Salsa, Best Cornbread, and Best All-Around Table Decoration. Each prize will be at least $100 in value. If you’d like to showcase your culinary skills, applications are available at the Highlands Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center or can be obtained by calling (828) 526-2112. Participants will receive a $20 check at the door to help offset the cost of serving everyone. Cost of the Chili Cookoff is $20 at the door. For more information, contact the Highlands Visitors Center  at (828) 526-2112. 

By Luke Osteen



Highlands Annual Easter Egg Hunt

The Easter Bunny will be on hand to greet his little friends at the  Highlands Community Easter Egg Hunt.

The Easter Bunny will be on hand to greet his little friends at the
Highlands Community Easter Egg Hunt.

The Easter Bunny has sweet plans for Highlands’ youngest believers when he hosts the Community Easter Egg Hunt at 10:00 A.M. Saturday, March 23 at the Highlands Recreation Center (600 North

Fourth Street).

Prizes will be awarded to the youngsters who find the most eggs. To ensure that everyone gets a chance to find their share of beautiful dyed eggs, there’ll be three separate age categories: Group 1 – youngsters zero to three years of age; Group 2 – children four to six years of age; and Group 3 – youngsters seven to ten years of age.

Be sure to bring a basket or shopping bag to accommodate all the loot that sharp-eyed kids will be scooping up.

For more information, call the Rec Park at (828) 526-3556.


Support the Literacy Council

Everyone loves the opportunity to win a little spending money and support a worthwhile community organization. Now is your chance.  On March 14 at 6:30 P.M. come out to the Highlands Community Building next door to the Ball Park on Highways 64 (Cashiers Highway) for Rotary Bingo.   Bring your friends and fill up a table or two.

Caller Tay Bronaugh will keep you hopping as you try to be the first to cover all the required spaces. Winners can keep their pocket money or they can return it to the Highlands Literacy Council to help them underwrite their
many programs.

Even if you say “I never win anything,” don’t despair. They always include at least one game of “The biggest Loser” for folks like you.  The last person to have a space on their card covered wins a prize.  So even you can win.

Where else can you have a complete evening of fun for only $15? (one card for each of 15 games). The Literacy Council helps so many people in our area.  Youngsters who need to improve their reading skills, adults who never achieved the reading levels that they wanted and people who need to learn English as a second language are just a few of the many programs that the Literacy
Council oversees.

Why not go the second mile and be a Table sponsor?  This opportunity is open to business owners and individuals.  A one-page ad is only $50; half-page ads $25. Make your checks payable to Highlands Rotary Club. Call the Highlands Literacy Council at (828) 526-9938 to purchase an ad.

There’s no better way to help our area non-profits raise funds to support their programs. Remember to stay to the end.  Game number 15 gives you the chance to win some serious money. Laugh a lot, share with friends and support the Literacy Council of Highlands.

Village Green Easter Egg Hunt

Bunny Ears are always in style, but especially at The Village Green Easter Egg Hunt.

Bunny Ears are always in style, but especially at The Village Green Easter Egg Hunt.

Come celebrate Easter and the beginning of spring by hopping on over to The Village Green Easter Egg Hunt sponsored by S’More Kids Klothes in Cashiers. Children under age 12 should gather at 11:30 A.M. Saturday, March 23, at The Village Green Commons on Frank Allen Road. “Bring your own basket and a camera, and be on time!” advises Ann Self, Executive Director of The Village Green. That’s because a hundred or so kids will race to find thousands of candy-filled eggs including special eggs that earn the finder a marvelous prize. The day’s event will also include a free hot dog lunch and a visit with the Easter Bunny.

This event is organized by Sharon James, the owner of S’more Kids Klothes in Cashiers. She began the egg hunt three years ago as a fun activity to bring the children of the community together. James comments, “The first year we had about a dozen kids hunting eggs near the store. It has grown every year with more and more kids, so this year we are moving to The Village Green.” Jochen Lucke, Board Chair of The Village Green notes, “The Easter Egg Hunt is just one of many examples of Sharon’s generosity toward the children in our community. The Village Green is proud to partner with her and serve as the host location for this year’s event.” James and her husband Tom are long time members of the Cashiers community, with Tom spending childhood summer vacations at his family home, the Old Toll Gate House.

The Easter Egg Hunt is a free community-wide event for residents and visitors. “The Village Green endeavors to create opportunities for people to connect and to promote a spirit of community,” remarks Self. She also pointed out that this would not be possible without the financial support of The Village Green donors. “We are grateful for all who contribute to The Village Green,” adds Lucke. For more information or to make a donation to The Village Green, call (828) 743-3434 or email You can follow The Village Green on Twitter @cashiersgreen.


Mountain Madness Duathlon

Organizers are laying the groundwork for the Mountain Madness Duathlon, set for Saturday, April 27, at Franklin’s Tassee Shelter Greenway.

This challenging workout will feature two-mile and four-mile runs along the Tassee Greenway and a rigorous fourteen-mile bicycle race along US 64 West.

Mountain Madness Duathlon starts at 9:00 A.M. and race day registration begins at 8:00 A.M. The awards ceremony will be hosted at Main Street Pizza and during the ceremony there will be various raffle items, including a weekend get-away and a Trek bike.

Cost on Race Day is $35 for individuals and $60 for two-person teams. If you register by April 20, it’ll cost $25 for individuals and $50 for two-person teams. There’ll also be T-shirts for the first 100 racers. To register or for more information, contact Dave Linn at

All proceeds will benefit Shriners Hospital in Greenville, SC.

If you’re thinking about participating in the Mountain Madness Duathlon, keep your calendar open also for the Braveheart 5K and Rob Roy 1-Mile Fun Run in downtown Franklin at 9:00 A.M. Saturday, June 15. Both events are part of the Scottish Heritage Festival and there’ll be awards given to the overall male and female First and Second place winners for age divisions (by ten years) and the Best Dressed Braveheart Individual. Cost is $15 for the 5K until June 13th ($25 on race day; the 1-Mile Race is $10 until June 15th ($15 on race day). You can register by emailing Dave Linn at

Both races could be considered good practice for the Moonlight Moonshine 10K and Half Pint 1-Mile Fun Run, set for 8:00 P.M. Saturday, July 6, at Franklin’s Tassee Greenway.  This will be Macon County’s first evening race.

The awards ceremony will be hosted at Mulligan’s Bar & Grille. During the awards ceremony, there will be a raffle for a moonshine still (valued at $750).  Raffle tickets can be purchased at the ceremony or at Franklin Ford, Rathskeller Coffee Haus and Feathernest Antiques (where the still will be displayed until July 5)

Cost for the 10K is $15 until July 1 ($25 race day); the 1-Mile Fun Run is $10 until July 1 ($15 on race day). Again, to register or for more information, email

By Luke Osteen



Cover Artist Nancy Oppenheimer

cover7 cover3 cover2When Nancy Oppenheimer is painting a bear, she begins by fleshing out its shape. As the image starts to take form, each stroke of the brush is in time with a rush of air, inhaled, exhaled. The rhythmical breathing and brushwork continue until Oppenheimer and the bear breathe the same breath. That’s when she knows the bear has come to life.

For Oppenheimer every animal she creates, for that matter every tree she creates, has its own unique personality. Her style, which reflects an early career in illustration, possesses a quiet energy, soft, resonant, fluid, yet powerful and compelling.  Each bear is a composite of bears she has seen in the wild or in thousands of research photographs.

It takes years to be able to synthesize experience, memory, and reference into a new entity. Oppenheimer is more than up to the task, which is evidenced by a huge body of work created in a variety of mediums including pastels, graphite, oils and water media, though for the past four years she has exclusively worked in oils on linen canvas. And she does all this on location or in her cave, as she calls her studio. There she is the queen of her artistic domain, ever focused on truth, beauty, and love.

Her passion for life embraces the animals she portrays. But she wasn’t always fascinated with bears. In fact she found them intimidating.  She says, “About 15 years ago I was asked to paint a black bear. I hesitated. I felt no kinship, no camaraderie.  Then someone prodded me, saying, ‘You’d better learn to love them, if you are going to paint them.’ So I read ‘Among the Bears’ by Ben Kilham. After raising several orphaned cubs, Kilham wrote of his experience, revealing the plight of the black bear. Reading that book was a glorious epiphany for me.” Now bears are her passion. She is an avid bear advocate, supporting many organizations whose mission it is to protect them.

While bears are her focus these days, she also paints other beasts great and small. She often works on large canvases, which take months to complete. That explains why there is a waiting list for commissions. No wonder she is in demand. Her images are exquisitely executed, brimming with personality and vibrancy.

She shies away from spreading herself too thin, however. Still, she is attracted to all disciplines of self-expression: poetry, writing, piano playing, and singing. The following poem illustrates her collective love of the arts.


The Passion of Art

 I am drawn with caresses

To a palm’s esoteric existence

Whose fingers motion

With magnetic insistence

To dispel all defenses

To cease resistance

To enter a respite

Far from this unanswerable dissidence.

I take leave of this world absurd

And await the amulet’s sweet word

And the word is a hand opening a door

Upon a land of what once shimmered before

Before I breathed a breath

Or knew a thought of death.

Here then unfold the hills of pure truth

Bathed by streams of beauty and love

Shone upon by the moon and sun above.

While below run the bear and fly the dove.

Here then to bring birth to the passion of art

Is to fully understand from the heart.

You can find her work at Mountain Mist Gallery in Cashiers or visit her website at   for a wide-ranging gallery of her paintings.  She looks forward to your inquiries and welcomes your interest.


Copper Roots

cooperRoots2webIt was just a bucketful of old corroded copper pipe but to Caitlyn Hina it was pure gold.

Caitlyn’s husband Josh is a remodeler. For him ripping out copper plumbing and replacing it with superior materials is routine. Cashing in the copper is not only a few extra dollars here and there, but it is soul-satisfying to see materials recycled.

So about a year ago, Caitlyn came home from work, looked at the random array of copper tubing stuffed in a salvage bucket, and had an inspiration. She said, “Josh, do you think you could hammer some of these pipes into bracelets?”

Josh, whose expertise was in woodcraft, had never considered applying his estimable skills to jewelry-making. Still, he couldn’t deny the concept was intriguing. So that very night he cut a piece of pipe, split it, heated it in an oak wood fire, cooled it in icy water, hammered it, measured it to Caitlyn’s wrist, refined it and Voila! Recycled plumbing was transformed into high fashion. Copper Roots had been launched.

A few months later Copper Roots officially unveiled a striking line of classic copper bracelets, bangles, and cuffs to be sold exclusively at Old Edwards Inn and Spa, Highlands. Customers began lining up for their very own one-of-a-kind, hand crafted creation. It was a hit.

As a result, Caitlyn and Josh can hardly keep up with the orders. But they like it that way. Josh says, “We will always be the designers and creators. The character and quality of our work would suffer were we to cut corners or mass produce.”

Most evenings you can catch the duo watching TV while sanding and filing. Caitlyn says, “We pore over every single detail, tweaking and refining until it passes our thorough inspection.”

While they are designing they are constantly seeking feedback and suggestions from clients and potential customers. One thing inspires another. Now they have added a line of delicate copper necklaces with hearts, stars and coins. And to complement the bracelets and necklaces, there is a growing selection of hammered earrings inspired by nature’s leaves, pods, spirals, and more.

Copper Roots’ first customer, Carolyn Sanders, the one whose recycled bathroom plumbing inspired the kick-off creation, loves her jewelry not only for its beauty but for its origins. She likes the fact that water from the earth flowed over the copper for decades, and nature’s chemicals helped design the texture and color of her art-to-wear. She says, “My bracelet has a lot of personal significance to me. That’s why I gave each one of my children a Copper Roots bracelet so they could own and wear a part of the home they grew up in. In our case, Copper Roots has extra special meaning.”

There are many who testify to copper’s healing powers. In fact, there is evidence that early Egyptians wore copper to ensure good health. Contemporary users claim that copper bracelets, which act like a healing patch, relieve arthritic joint pain and aid circulation.

To experience Copper Roots creations, visit the Spa at Old Edwards Inn or e-mail Caitlyn and Josh Hina at

by Donna Rhodes



The Bascom Happenings

A sure cure for the winter doldrums is a visit to The Bascom. Whether for young or old, Highlands’ innovative visual arts center offers creative stimulations for everyone. And, before March 31, for members only, there’s an early bird discount of 10 percent off regular registration fees for all adult workshops and classes. Classes going on now through March include ceramics, creative writing, painting, printmaking and mixed media. Check out all of the possibilities at our updated website, or through the beautiful new 2013 catalogue, available free at The Bascom.

Mark your calendar for the always-popular Barn Dance on Saturday, March 23, from 7:00 to 10:00 P.M.. There will be country, contra, square dancing and more, complete with live bluegrass music and a world-class caller!

On view through March 10 is “Polly Knipp Hill: Marking a Life Through Etching.” Organized by the Georgia Museum of Art, University of Georgia, Athens, this fascinating collection of works shows architectural scenes of Europe and glimpses of ordinary folks in the mountains and in Florida. The artist, who lived in Highlands for several years, began making prints in the 1920s of charming scenes of American life.

Running concurrently with the exhibition above is “The Bascom Instructors,” through March 31. These diverse and wonderful works of the dedicated artists who teach at The Bascom will inspire you to sign up for any of their classes and workshops.

Also, enjoy the art created by members of 14 arts organizations in Regional Arts Organizations: Selected Works. These groups foster artistic excellence and professionalism by promoting support of their members. The Bascom is pleased to recognize our regional artists through this annual exhibition through March 31, in keeping with its mission to enhance the quality of life through dynamic, inspirational and transformational art experiences.

The Bascom is open year-round, Monday through Saturday, 10:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M., and Sunday, 12:00 noon to 5:00 P.M.  Enjoy workshops, exhibitions, special events and quality programs throughout the year at The Bascom. For more information, to register for workshop offerings or for more details on all Bascom activities, visit or call (828) 526-4949.

Contributed by Barbara S. Tapp



Betsy Paul Art Raffle

The art raffle prize for the month of March is a gorgeous photograph called “The Old Iron Bridge,” generously donated by Robert  (Bob) Barnhill.   

“Mother Nature paints with a kaleidoscope of colors to create a natural canvas of indescribable beauty!” Bob has spent a good portion of his life trying to capture these images. He considers it his responsibility to reproduce these creations as naturally as possible and he works hard to do so.

Bob has always been fascinated by nature. It is so complex and revealing, yet so simple to merely view and enjoy. He has been rewarded many times over with the enjoyment received from capturing these natural images.

Bob spent most of his life in Florida but just recently moved to the mountains of Western North Carolina, one of the most beautiful places on earth. He now immerses himself in a different natural environment where he can truly enjoy the beauty of nature and take his photography to the next level. “The landscapes and wildlife are breathtaking. There are no words to describe the beauty of the plants and wildflowers, as well as the awesome beauty of the lakes, streams and waterfalls.”

Bob has dabbled in photography for most of his life and now has the time to devote his efforts to his true passion for nature photography.  To see more of his photography visit his website at:

Stop in 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. Checks can also be mailed directly to the Cashiers-Glenville Fire Department, P.O. Box 713, Cashiers, North Carolina, 28717. For more information, contact Betsy Paul Properties, (828) 743-0880.

Chamber Music Festival

Just like the musicians of their beloved Highlands-Cashiers Chamber Music Festival, Peter Whitcup and Valerie Von Pechy Whitcup have spent a lifetime achieving harmony.

Married for 32 years, they maintain a level of enviable tranquility in their Highlands home, punctuated by cross-country car trips just for the pleasure of being on the road.

“Not every couple could enjoy being together for days and days of driving, but we just look upon it as a way of seeing interesting things and talking to one another,” explains Valerie.

“In all our years together, we’ve never had a fight,” says Peter. “That’s not to say we don’t have disagreements, but when your goal in life is to please the other person, you’ve got to consider their point of view. You have to be willing to let them win..”

That degree of understanding is all the more remarkable when you consider their backgrounds.

Valerie is a symphony harpist with over 30 seasons as principal harpist with the Florida Philharmonic. She’s also served as the harp instructor at the University of Miami Frost School of Music for thirty years. In the world of popular music, she has performed, recorded or toured with Frank Sinatra, The BeeGees, Tom Jones, The Moody Blues, and Ray Charles.

Following a stint in advertising with Madison Avenue’s legendary Grey Group, Peter parlayed an interest in cooking into an intensive training at Le Cordon Bleu Paris, earning three diplomas. He served as Cordon Bleu’s roving ambassador to the US before opening an exclusive restaurant and catering business in Miami.

To enhance his patrons’ elegant dining experience, Peter hired a talented harpist to perform for brunch and dinner. For him, it was a simple business decision.

For Valerie, it was a bit more.

“It was love at first sight – I knew when I met him that this was the guy I was going to marry,” she says. Sure enough, they were married two years later.

Nowadays, they showcase their talents through the Highlands-Cashiers Chamber Music Festival. Valerie has been a regular performer throughout the festival’s 32 seasons.

And Peter draws upon his decades of culinary and catering experience to host some of the fabulous Feasts of the Festivals, which allow people to meet interesting people and enjoy wonderful food and drink in the setting of some of the area’s most beautiful and elegant private homes.

If you’d like to experience the singular talents of this remarkable couple, call the Highlands-Cashiers Chamber Music Festival at (828) 526-9060.

Blue Ridge Music Events

Founded in 2005, Blue Ridge Music (BRM) has been enriching the community with music in a variety of ways. BRM is owned and operated by Tom Nixon and Dean English. Tom and Dean are members of the Bluegrass Band “Foxfire Boys,”  which grew out of the world renown Foxfire Organization during the early 1980s. The company is really four entities in one.  A retail store provides a wide variety of instruments, equipment and accessories for the novice and professional musician.  The store also provides world class educator approved  Jupiter instruments for purchase or rental for school band participants.  A full service recording studio provides professional digital recording for small demo projects or polished large scale productions.  An instrument repair service in on site for simplest to the most complex repairs as well as repair for electronic sound reinforcement (Amps).  The heart and soul of the company is music instruction or the “Academy.”  Individual private lessons, small group instruction, and off site classes or consulting is provided by some of the most talented individuals in the region.  The Academy’s approach to instruction is individualized to the learner, focusing on their immediate needs, goals and interests.  Students are encouraged to share their knowledge with each other. This reinforces their own skills, while providing discovery opportunities for others. The atmosphere at Blue Ridge Music is down to earth and professional.  The setting is in an old house built in 1940, nestled under two oak trees estimated to be 300 years old.  Currently, BRM is attempting to build on community partnerships to provide musical opportunities to groups and individuals that may otherwise not have them.

The company has also started a Chapter of the Southeastern Bluegrass Association.  A monthly jam is held the first Saturday of each month at the store.  If anyone is interested in services provided by BRM or would like to be involved in their mission of promoting music in the local and regional area,  please contact Blue Ridge Music LLC., located at 629 Duggan Hill Road, Clayton, Georgia, by calling (706) 782-9852 or visit their website at


Highlands Smokehouse

highlandsmokehouseone highlandsmokehouse2You don’t need a GPS to find the Highlands Smokehouse.  Just follow your nose as you smell pork and chicken slowly roasting over hickory.  Rib lovers rave about the dry sugar rub unique to the Smokehouse.  It’s hard to get a consensus on which of their sauces is the best.  Some folks rave about the Western North Carolina tomato-based sauce, others love the vinegar-based variety and still others crave the sauce flavored with mustard.  Come often and try them all.

Looking to branch out from your barbecue routine?   Try their fried catfish, the Buffalo wings, or the BLT featuring their house-cured bacon; sweet with a slight hint of pepper.  A tempting appetizer is the hot pimento cheese served in a cast iron skillet with tortilla chips.  When you are in the mood for a lighter fare, enjoy one of their fresh salads – add a topping of  pulled pork or chicken if you like.

Whatever entrée you choose you’ll marvel at the many sides that you have to choose from:  Brunswick stew, cheese grits, coleslaw, collard greens, and corn pudding  are some of the most popular items.  Fresh seasonal vegetables are featured whenever available.

Sandwich lovers can choose from a variety of options including smoked portobello, a fried Fish, the brisket (the Smokehouse’s version of French dip) plus the standard favorites of  pulled barbecue chicken or Smokehouse pork.  New this year is the burnt ends sandwich featuring the Smokehouse’s signature tomato sauce.

Families with youngsters love the casual atmosphere at the Smokehouse.  The Kids Menu includes items that even the pickiest eater will savor – chicken tenders, mac’n cheese, grilled cheese sandwich or the “Wee Platter”.  Kids are right at home here.

The Smokehouse’s signature desert – homemade ice cream – is a must for an after dinner treat.  The flavors change frequently depending on the seasonal fruits available.   A scoop is perfect on one of their fudge brownies or the seasonal fruit pies. One of my favorite desserts is the key lime pie. Yum.

Share the Smokehouse’s delicious foods with your hungry crowd at home.  Call ahead to place your To Go orders (828) 526-5000.  Open seven days for lunch and dinner; Sunday – Thursday 11 :00 A.M. – 8:00 P.M. and Friday and Saturday 11:00 A.M. – 9:00 P.M.

Gather with your friends for your favorite cocktail or to watch the ballgame? The Smokehouse offers a full bar.   Sports fans appreciate the HD TVs.  Ladies enjoy the margaritas and beer lovers rave about the numerous beers on tap or the 13 bottled beers.  The Highlands Smokehouse-good food, reasonable prices in a family-friendly atmosphere.

By Wiley Sloan



Gather the Rosé

Recently I enjoyed lunch at Wild Thyme Restaurant where I discovered a delicious rosé – Crios Rosé of Malbec from Argentina.  So savory and delightful were its dry nuances of strawberries and cherries that it might even knock away at the perch of my longtime favorite rosé, the iconoclastic Domaine Tempier from Bandol.

Today rosé wines are still sadly underappreciated; the stereotype of sweet white zinfandel clouds and permeates the minds of many wine drinkers who think that the pink color of the rosé must mean sweet and cheap. Not true! The salmon pink color of the wine has more to do with the skin of the grapes than any residual sugar: rosés are light in color because the juice from the grapes has limited contact with the grape skins (pigment).

Rosés vary widely in color, which can also be confusing to consumers.  The bottom line is that the color of a rosé will depend on maceration time (grape skin in contact with juice) as well as the varietal of the grape. For example, malbec is a darker-hued red grape: thus, its skin pigmentation is more intense. Lighter skinned pinot noir, on the other hand, will yield rosé wines that are lighter in color. No mystery at all, just pure Mother Nature!

Still intrigued by the Crios rosé and with memories of my first charmed dining and drinking experience at Wild Thyme, I subsequently returned for dinner with a wine-loving friend. He ordered the Crios rosé at my urging and was similarly enchanted. Rosés are not typically sipped in the throes of winter: traditionally they are summer wines. But the Crios rosé is special and substantial: its viscosity speaks of the intensity of Argentine summers and the robust tannins of malbec. This is no wimpy rosé. It has real backbone!

Susana Balboa is the mucho gusto winemaker behind the Crios label. She is Argentina’s premier female winemaker and is often known as the “Evita of Wine.” My glass (or three!) of her rosé was delicious paired with a buttery mahi-mahi.

If you dine at Wild Thyme, take a wine journey and try a glass of the Crios Rosé of Malbec. You won’t be disappointed!

Contributed by Mary Ann Hardman



Green Smoothie Cleanse

Contributed by Dr. Anastasia Halldin, Nutrition Coach

Contributed by Dr. Anastasia Halldin, Nutrition Coach

As we are approaching spring, cleansing is on everyone’s menu. Cleaning the house, raking the garden and getting the body into a bikini-ready shape becomes a priority. Green smoothie cleanse is a starvation-free method to lose a few pounds and to clean the stagnant toxins you might have accumulated while having a few glasses of wine on those cold winter nights by the fireplace.

Green smoothies oxygenate the blood, enriching it with chlorophyll (chlorophyll gives plants their deep green color.) Chlorophyll makes your blood’s Ph alkaline, which is associated with delayed aging and radiant health.

Most of us don’t eat plates of plain, raw kale, spinach, cilantro, celery, mustard greens, arugula or chard daily. Adding these nutrient-rich greens to your smoothies, however, involves almost no work. All you need is motivation and a good, strong blender.

Kimberly Snyder, clinical nutritionist and author of “The Beauty Detox Solution” explains: “In one delicious drink, we get the fuel to not only lose weight, but rejuvenate our skin, fight aging, and increase our energy. It’s so easy!” Even though you are drinking your food, green smoothies are made of emulsified fruits and vegetables, so you are not starving while on the cleanse. You can still expect to lose weight however, as most people lose eight to 10 pounds during the first week of the cleanse.

To start the cleanse, consult with your doctor first. Then, substitute two meals and one snack a day with green smoothies. For dinner, have a mostly raw, vegan meal (visit my website for recipe ideas for both the smoothies and the meals.) Continue the cleanse for up to 10 days. Limiting or eliminating sugar, caffeine and alcohol is part of the cleanse. Here’s a simple smoothie recipe to start with:

Green Smoothie

Makes 1 tall glass.


1 green apple

1 stick celery

1 cup parsley, chopped

2 kale leaves,
stalks removed

juice of ½ lemon

5 ice cubes


Blend everything
until smooth.



Canyon Kitchen’s Dinner Club

Cashiers can be a pretty quiet place in the dead of winter.

Canyon Kitchen at Lonesome Valley usually abides by the winter hibernation model. The restaurant expanded the number of days that they were operational and Chef John Fleer continued producing exceptional food worthy of his James Beard nominations.

But as the season came to an end, Canyon Kitchen loyalist Jeff Sikes presented an idea – open the restaurant a few times throughout the winter to bring year-rounders together for a night of food and music. Chef Fleer agreed and the CK Supper Club was born.

As the name would suggest, the CK Supper Club is a series of eight events that bring friends new and old together for a good meal and a good time. The events are scheduled for the first and third Saturday from December through March. Seating is communal and the food is served family style. The night begins with a gathering so guests can grab a drink and sit by the fire. Once guests have arrived, they are asked to take their seats at their assigned tables so that dinner can be served. Appetizers, first course and the entrée are all served family style in the casually elegant style that Chef Fleer is famous for. When the plated desserts arrive at the table, the band begins to play. Some get up and dance while others sit at their seat, enjoying their glass of wine while tapping their toes.

To start off the season, Canyon Kitchen looked to local Jay Drummonds to provide the music. Jay’s brand of country music covers and original songs is well known to locals. Jay tried his hand at the music industry in Nashville in the late 90’s but came back to Cashiers to raise a family. As the season continued, the nights filled up sometimes with a wait list of up to 20 people. It is a more casual evening and the communal seating has garnered new friendships. A diverse set of musicians have played the CK Supper Club.

From its inception, the CK Supper Club has been an opportunity to support the Cashiers Valley Community. Five dollars from each meal goes to a local charity. Through the CK Supper Club, Canyon Kitchen and Lonesome Valley has raised over $2,000 for the Cashiers-Glenville Volunteer Fire Department, Life Challenge, Glenville-Cashiers Rescue Squad, Summit Charter School, Fishes and Loaves and the Cashiers Valley Preschool.

Canyon Kitchen will open Memorial Day Weekend. Chef Fleer and his culinary staff will continue to create interesting and delicious a la carte menus throughout the season. But come next Fall, when the leaves fall off the trees, the CK Supper Club will get cranked up again.

By Luke Osteen



HighlandsHistoryGranny Creasy Webb at her home on Brushy Face

Granny Creasy Webb, seated by the chimney at the old Webb farmhouse on Brushy Face, courtesy of the Highlands Historical Society.

I got an iPhone for Christmas. I have taught myself to thumb-text. I have Siri’d myself silly. And typos. Faghetaboudit. Still, not bad for someone who only last year swore off cell technology. “Just give me a couple of tin cans and a string,” I said defiantly.

There aren’t many tin-canners left. The world today has about as many cell phone subscribers as inhabitants… that is six billion for those who are counting. It’s good we are communicating so enthusiastically. But is it good we are not communicating face-to-face? Time will tell. One thing for certain, language is shifting rapidly, especially the written language which is now abbreviated for sake of speed and space on a tiny cell screen.

Even remote Highlands is abuzz with cell technology. And although granite mountains often block cellular transmissions (FTLOG, $&!@#!), mobile phones prevail.

As written and spoken language evolves, it would be interesting to transplant Elizabethan Mountain English freely spoken in the region two, three, four generations ago into a contemporary cell phone exchange. Ran Shaffner cites a typical letter written in the lyrically beautiful idiomatic style of the region by Weimar Jones, editor of Franklin Press in 1954. It was to the president of Duke University thanking him for an imaginary dinner invitation:

We got yore invite. We knowed you’d be a-lookin’ fer us; so we come . . . several of us. It was a right smart piece fer some; had to start off soon in the mornin’ to make it afore night.

When we come round yander bend in the big road, we seed right off the latchstring was a-hangin’ outside the door, but shucks! we hadn’t hardly got in hollerin’ distance till you’d th’rowed the door open and was a-standin’ there, singin’ out: “Light strangers, an’ come in!”

The letter continues, but that is enough to give you the feel of the communication style. Imagine the first paragraph in text:

10Q 4 the n-vite 2-dinr 2-nite. B-gan AM to make it @TEOTD

Translation: Thank you for the invitation to dinner tonight. We had to start in the early morning to make it at the end of the day.

If this radical change in language is happening in even the remotest Appalachian regions, imagine what it will be like in another generation. That is, assuming we don’t run out of oil and energy sources to fuel the cell technology. Then it would be back to tin cans and string. Sigh. And just when I was getting thumb texting down. BTW, thumbs are evolving, getting longer as a result of texting. Fact. TTBOMK (to the best of my knowledge).

So I’ll close with TTFN (ta ta for now), TTG (time to go), buhbye, cya, and GBTW (get back to work).

For more interesting flashbacks to the good ol’ days, read Heart of the Blue Ridge by Ran Shaffner or visit the Highlands Historical Society’s website:

*Check This Out


Cashiers Valley Farming


Page from the 1860 Cashiers Valley Agricultural census schedule

What kind of crops did your Western North Carolina Mountain ancestors grow? The U. S. Census Bureau produced a special schedule, separate from the population census, called an Agricultural Schedule. According to the book, “Guide to Genealogical Research in the National Archives,” this farming schedule was taken in the census years of 1850 through 1880.  Every farm with an annual produce worth $100 or more was enumerated, giving the name of the owner, agent or tenant and the kind and value of acreage, machinery, livestock and produce. The census taker would travel from farm to farm, first asking about the household members for the population census and then he’d fill in the blanks on an Agricultural Schedule. There were just about 50 questions asked about the farm. Following is an excerpt from the 1860 Agricultural Schedule of Mordecai Zachary of Cashiers Valley, Jackson County, North Carolina. The census taker came by Mordecai’s home on July 4th.

















Some of the other surnames on the same page as Mordecai Zachary are: Watson, Hooper, Norton, and Brown. Everyone also had a kitchen garden located close to the house where all kinds of vegetables were grown to feed the family. There were no really big farms in this area like ones in the northern end of the county. Most people had fruit tree orchards, especially apples, and these were taken by the wagonloads down to the market in South Carolina. The plentiful American Chestnut trees produced so many nuts that wagons full of them were also brought from the mountains to South Carolina each fall.

Contributed by Jane Gibson Nardy, Historian, Cashiers Historical Society



Historic Highlands North Carolina Charm

hodone hod6 hod5 hod4 hod3 cbolt_09242011_DSC6038Meander along Lower Lake Road in the filtered sunlight of majestic evergreens as you enjoy the cacophony of sounds emanating from the creatures who call Lindenwood Lake their home.   Nature trails abound.  Across the lake is the Highlands Biological Station and its beautiful Botanical Garden.  A stone’s throw from the Biological Station is Sunset Rock, the site of many wonderful evening picnics as glorious sunsets settle behind distance mountain ridges.  It’s hard to believe that just a few short blocks from here are the Hudson Library and Main Street Highlands.

With more than seven acres in this home site at the base of Big Bear Pen Mountain, you can enjoy quiet solitude among the rhododendron and mountain laurel while still being in close proximity to all Highlands has to offer.  Forman family members were the original owners. They were conservationists who cherished their summers here, escaping the oppressive summer heat of Atlanta.  Approximately 20 years ago, the Freeman family bought the property.  They preserved the rustic charm of the original home while enhancing its beauty and transforming it to meet the needs of families of the twenty-first century.

Sitting atop a gently-rolling lawn, the home offers large rooms that welcome multi-generational families with ease.  A stone fireplace in both the living and dining rooms provide warmth on those days when mountain chill greets you.  The home’s large windows welcome filtered sunlight and usher in the gentle mountain breezes.

The large country kitchen, with its walk-in pantry and spacious counters, offers the perfect spot for meal prep. Tantalizing aromas waft through the Butler’s pantry into the dining room with its large circular table.  The room’s French doors and wall of windows allow you to keep an eye on the youngsters while they play on the
expansive lawn.

To the left of the wide staircase is a cozy library/TV room with bath that could serve as a downstairs bedroom when needed.  The master bedroom sports its own stone fireplace and bath. Three additional guest bedrooms share the large bath at the end of the hall.  Each spacious bedroom offers a reading nook or a space for the children to while away hours in fantasy land.

The original servants’ quarters now offer guests the perfect retreat.  Two large bedrooms, bath, living room and kitchen overlook the lawn. Stroll the perennial gardens and the walking trails or catch a catnap in
the hammock.

“Properties like this come along once in a lifetime,” said Susie deVille, Owner/Broker-in-Charge of White Oak Realty Group. “We celebrate the property’s unique history and hope we may attract a conservation-minded buyer given its proximity to Lindenwood Lake and the Highlands Botanical Garden. It is my distinct honor to pledge a $10,000 donation to both the Highlands Biological Station and the Highlands-Cashiers Land Trust at the Closing of this magnificent estate.”

Call Susie deVille at (828) 371-2079 to schedule a tour of this one-of-a-kind property or visit to view additional pictures and video. Offered at
$2.65 Million.

Think creatively as you determine how your family or business could enjoy the beauty and serenity of this Highlands gem.

By Wiley Sloan