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Hickory Museum of Art – Where Creative Minds Meet

Hickory Museum of Art

Are you an art-lover – or even just a fun-lover –  planning a visit to Hickory, North Carolina? Before you go, take a minute to browse through your favorite online review sites and do a search of Top Things to do in Hickory North Carolina. Way up high on the list you’ll find the Hickory Museum of Art, a much-loved local venue that reviewers agree is “a hidden gem” and “not to be missed.”

Established in 1986, the Hickory Museum of Art hosts a permanent collection of approximately 1,500 art objects, including paintings, American Art pottery, glass art, high-speed photography, and original works by regional artists that celebrate the artistic traditions of North Carolina and the Southern United States.

“This place is truly a gem!” the reviewers echo over and over. They praise the museum for its open, airy floor plan and its superb displays of folk art from the traditional to the modern. The museum’s three floors of galleries feature exhibits by local artists with deep roots in Southern history. Here you’ll find art that touches the senses. It’s a culturally rich indulgence that you can see, hear, and feel all at once. And there’s that undeniable Appalachian flair that permeates the entire experience.

The third floor is dedicated to HMA’s popular folk art exhibition. When you arrive upstairs, the walls welcome you with a painted message to let you know you’re about to discover “unique visions by Southern self-taught artists.”

The Hickory Museum of Art is where creative minds meet. It’s a place to not only see creative things but do creative things! The HMA calendar is packed with exhibits, art classes for adults, social events, and a whole slew of goings-on to keep active adults busy year-round with their choice of arts and art-related events.

Here’s just a sample of upcoming events at Hickory Museum of Art:

Oct 16 (Sun) – Tractor Shed Theatre 2:30-3:30pm

Oct 17 (Mon) Local Artist Lunch and Learn 12:00-2:30pm

Oct 21 (Fri) Local Artist Reception   6:00-7:30pm

Oct 25 (Tues) Fall Beer & Cider Tasting  6:00-7:30pm

Oct 29 (Sat) After Hours Flashlight Tour 4:15-6:00pm

Oct 31 (Mon) Artist Workshop 9:30-12:30pm

Nov 12 (Sat) Evening for the Arts Benefit 6:00-9:00pm

Nov 19 (Sat) Holiday Open House & Festival 10:00-4:00pm

Throughout the year, the museum also offers music concerts, dance performances, yoga classes, knitting events, film festivals, and a wide array of events that span well beyond the typical menu of offerings you find at your local art museum.

That’s because there’s nothing typical about this museum. It’s one-of-a-kind and it’s welcoming to all. Diversity and inclusion are reflected in everything HMA offers, from their assortment of programs to the variety of unique works from diverse artists whose work is displayed here.

HMA is woven into the very fabric of Hickory’s cultural arts community, both figuratively and literally. In fact, here you’ll notice fabric and wood are given special artistic attention. These materials are often featured in exhibits that honor Hickory’s long history of furniture making and the beautiful craftsmanship they inspire.

The museum is proud of its community partnerships with local cultural, historical, and educational institutions, and local businesses. One of their recent creative collaborations was with the Hickory Public Library and the Hickory Community Theatre, which produced a 2016 event to promote play Crowns, which celebrates church hats traditionally worn by African American women. The event included an exhibit at the museum that artfully displayed hats from members of the Hickory community.

Other HMA community collaborations include:

·        A partnership with the Downtown Newton Development Association and the City of Newton to sponsor the Foothills Folk Art Festival, which celebrates the work of Southern artists and their unique vision of life in the foothills.

·        A partnership with Hickory Printing Solutions that features the works of women in the visual arts and includes a printed calendar to commemorate the exhibition called Woman Made: Women Artists from the Hickory Museum of Art Collection.

Hickory Museum of Art is located on the SALT Block at 243 3rd Avenue NE in downtown Hickory, and admission is free. There are three floors of exhibits and a Galleria Shop where you can purchase souvenirs to commemorate your visit. The museum and shop are open Tuesday through Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and Sundays 1:00 to 4:00 p.m.

This gem of a museum is a popular destination for locals as well as tourists from throughout the nation and around the world. It’s one of many local attractions that just may convince you it’s time to make retirement life in the foothills of North Carolina a reality. And while you’re ticking items off your bucket list, why not start focusing on all those retirement activities you’ve been promising yourself.

Remember the art classes for adults you’ve been wanting to take? There’s no better time than now. There’s no better place to “do art” than Hickory Museum of Art. And there’s no better subject for your upcoming masterpiece than The Coves Mountain River Club. Located in Lenoir NC just minutes from Downtown hickory, The Coves is a work-of-art that has to be seen to be believed!

This exquisite 3,600-acre mountain community with five miles of river frontage along the Johns River connecting to Wilson Creek offers gorgeous mountain and water views in all directions. It’s sprawling wildflower-peppered landscape accented by cascading waterfalls is an artist’s dream… not to mention a homeowner’s dream.

There’s no better place than The Coves to find North Carolina mountain homes for sale that are both luxurious and affordable. This “hidden gem” is nestled in the NC foothills, surrounded by quaint mountain towns like Hickory that are constantly a-buzz with art and culture events, social activities, dining, shopping, nightlife, and year-round seasonal festivals.

Within The Coves community itself, there are favorite fishing spots, beautifully landscaped walking paths, invigorating hiking/biking trails, horse trails (and fully equipped stables), and a full menu of above-and-beyond amenities, including a community vineyard and garden, state-of-the-art fitness center, yoga classes, and a hilltop swimming pool located on the grounds of The Coves’ expansive community lodge with breathtaking 360-degree views of the surrounding Blue Ridge mountain ranges.

With all its natural glory, if The Coves doesn’t inspire you to put brush to canvas to capture its undeniable beauty, we don’t know what will!

So why not add more art to your life? It’s time to start exploring North Carolina mountain homes for sale near Hickory NC. Be sure to add Hickory Museum of Art to your list of things to do in Hickory North Carolina. And remember, when you’re there, don’t just see… do. Those art classes for adults are waiting for you. And so is The Coves.

Call us at 828.754.0700 to schedule your visit to this beautiful, artistically magnificent mountain community in Lenoir NC, just minutes from Downtown Hickory.

If you’re exploring the area for the first time, ask for our 84 page complimentary Western North Carolina Visitor’s Guide which provides more information about living in the foothills.

Tags: Hickory | Performing Arts

Grandfather Mountain Bonfire Delight

Coves NC outdoor recreation

It’s time once again for one of Fall’s most anticipated events:  the Creatures of the Night and Bonfire Delight at Grandfather Mountain!  Every year, residents of the mountain towns in North Carolina have this rare opportunity to encounter the famous park’s nocturnal animals in their habitats.  We gather our blankets, flashlights and s’mores ingredients and head for the park.  It all starts with the traditional hot chocolate and apple cider by the bonfire, and then the park staff members lead the group on an educational tour of the mountain.  The Owl Prowl part of the adventure is a lot of fun, and there’s so much to see after dark that we never would have learned about otherwise.

  • Where:  Grandfather Mountain – 2050 Blowing Rock Highway
  • When:   Saturday, October 1, 2016
  • Time:    5:30 to 9:30 P. M.

Of course, Grandfather Mountain is the most-visited attraction in the state.  More than a billion years old, it’s the highest point in the Blue Ridge Mountains, at an elevation of 5,946 feet.  Looking down at the peaks below, you feel as if you’re on the top of the world.  And the scenery is nothing short of breathtaking.  It’s a photographer’s paradise, especially when the fall foliage makes its appearance. 

Anyone used to hiking in Western North Carolina knows that the best trails are found here, and the mile-high swinging bridge is known all over the world.  The area is habitat for black bears, river otters, cougars, deer and bald eagles.  It’s a great spot for picnics, and over a hundred tables and grills are available in the park.  And the Nature Museum has great exhibits detailing the region’s natural history.  Guided tours are available as well.

Residents at The Coves Mountain River Club love living in the foothills, away from the tourists and the heavy snow.  Grandfather Mountain’s less an hour away, and there are many other nearby locations where they can easily enjoy the unique sights and activities to be found at higher elevations.

When the leaves start to change color around this time of year, the fall foliage appears first near the top of the mountains and then works its way down over the next few weeks.  So living here you can see an ongoing show as different species of plants and trees add their unique hues to the spectrum.

Look at a list of the best mountain towns in North Carolina for retirement living and you’re likely to see Blowing Rock, Boone, and Banner Elk.  They’re all within an hour’s drive of The Coves Mountain River Club in Lenoir and part of Western North Carolina’s High Country, an area often called “nature’s year-round playground” because of its mild weather and wealth of sporting, recreational and cultural events.  Anyone living here who wants to stay active has plenty of options to choose from.

This is a great time of year to visit. Come hiking in Western North Carolina to see the spectacular foliage, do some trout fishing or just exploring. It’s worth taking time to see what we have to offer you in mountain living.  You’ll find unique mountain homes, from cozy cottages to estates on equestrian parcels, all designed to take full advantage of their natural surroundings and remarkable mountain and river views. 

Living at The Coves is affordable, and the area’s rich with opportunities to enjoy your life to the fullest.   It’s only after spending time here that you begin to appreciate just how much there is to see and do.  It’s the best of both worlds:  fresh air, clear night skies and the countless other blessings of living in the country, along with easy access to nearby towns and cities for shopping, dining, entertainment and culture.

By the way, if you’re planning to be here this fall, be sure to make your arrangements early. As at any popular vacation destination, the best bed and breakfasts, family-owned inns and hotel chains are booked up early and/or get more expensive as the season approaches.

We’d love to show you around our remarkable community, nestled on the bank of the Johns River at Wilsons Creek.  Join us at the Pisgah Mountain Lodge to share a glass of wine and the nightly show as the sun disappears over the mountains. 

This is your retirement dream come true!  This is The Coves Mountain River Club, our very special home in the foothills. 

If you’re exploring the area for the first time, ask for our 84 page Complimentary Magazine

Tags: Blowing Rock | Festivals

Chasing 10 Waterfalls Near and at The Coves

Waterfalls North Carolina

“There’s nobody living who couldn’t stand all afternoon in front of a waterfall.”  Agnes Martin, Artist

Waterfalls stimulate all of our senses.  We see the whiteness of the foam, feel the spray on our faces, hear all the pleasing music of the water as it seeks its new levels and even detect a clean and pleasant smell surrounding us.  Of course, we’re moved by the beauty of it all and being in the presence of something so purely natural and awe-inspiring.  But are you aware of the underlying reason we are so drawn to waterfalls and how being around them is beneficial to your health?

Without getting too deeply into the details, we can simply say that the collision of falling water molecules causes electrons to be stripped and transferred to the surrounding air, creating a negative charge.  And the more negative ions you encounter, the better you feel.  Your mood is lifted, depression is alleviated and anxiety is reduced.  They stimulate your metabolism, strengthen your resistance to illness and speed up the rate at which you recover from fatigue.  Negative ions also clean up the air you breathe, removing bacteria, mold spores, dust and pollutants.

It’s hard to imagine anything else that provides so many benefits just by virtue of its existence.  And some of nature’s most beautiful waterfalls are waiting for you on the hiking trails in Western North Carolina.  What better time to discover them than during the spectacular fall foliage season?  As you explore the different elevations, you’ll see breathtaking colors everywhere.  And nothing can prepare you for the unforgettable experience of hearing the rush of water ahead, turning a corner and coming upon one of the magnificent waterfalls of Western North Carolina cascading from high above through a breathtaking backdrop of local wildflowers.

One of the many advantages of living in Carolina mountain homes is being close to so much natural splendor.  At The Coves Mountain River Club, we have these waterfalls to explore nearby: 

  • Crabtree Falls, Marion – You can start at a campground on the Blue Ridge Parkway and hike through a beautiful hardwood forest to this 70-foot drop, which is considered to be one of the most photogenic of the waterfalls of Western North Carolina.
  • Linville Falls, Linville  This is a three-tier waterfall, especially popular for its easy accessibility to the Blue Ridge Parkway.  It plunges into Linville Gorge, known as the “Grand Canyon of the Southern Appalachians.


Catawba Falls, Old Fort  Over a hundred feet high, this waterfall is at the southern tip of the Pisgah National Forest’s Grandfather Ranger District.  It’s fully accessible to the public and a “must-see” if you’re in the area.

  • Elk River Falls, Pisgah Forest – It’s an easy five-minute walk up the trail to the top, where you can stand on flat rock and watch the water plummet over the cliff.  Don’t be tempted to dive or swim above or under the falls or climb the rock face.
  • High Shoals Falls, South Mountains State Park – Forty miles of some of the best of the hiking trails in Western North Carolina take you as high as 3000 feet elevation, where the water drops 80 feet into a large pool.  This is one of the state’s most rugged parks and features equestrian camping, trout fishing, mountain biking and more.
  • South Harper Creek Falls, Cary’s Flat – At about 120 feet, this is the highest waterfall in the Wilson Creek area.  It’s so big that you can’t see it all from one place.  Getting there is not an easy hike if you have a fear of heights, but it’s definitely worth the trip.

We’ve completed most of the 50 miles of hiking trails we’ve planned for The Coves Mountain River Club.  Here’s what’s available for you so far:

39 Miles of Hiking and Horse Trails

  • Switchback Trail – 7 mile trail crossing over several streams, brings hikers to bottom of lodge, by the old gold mine and along Mila Cascading Falls
  • Spine Trail – 7 mile trail that brings hikers through the pasture property along side stock fishing pond and past the wildlife viewing area and over several beautiful streams
  • Winding River Trail – 4 mile trail that follows along the Johns River, passing Coves River Park, the community gardens and stables leading to Coleton’s Swimming Hole
  • Magnolia Trail – 3 mile trail starting down near the pasture then goes up in elevation about 100ft overlooking river, then deep into woods and back down to Coleton’s Swimming Hole
  • Tranquility Vineyard Trail – 2 mile trail that brings hikers deep into woods and along several small streams down to the vineyard
  • Little Waterfall Trail – 1.5 mile trail that starts at Table View Lane and passes several waterfalls and ties into Waterfall Trail
  • Cedar Cove Trail – 1 mile trail that brings hikers to the Waterfall Trail leading to the community gardens and stables
  • Waterfall Trail – 1 mile trail that brings hikers down to Waterfall Park and into community gardens
  • Hawks Nest Trail – 1 mile trail that brings hikers from Waterfall Lane down along spring fed stream into the Waterfall Trail leading to the community gardens and stable

Four Cascading Waterfalls

  • Grandfather Gorge Falls – 50 foot triple tier waterfall over large boulders plunging into a pool
  • Mila Cascading Falls – easy access, dramatic stairway-like waterfall into the Johns River at Mila Park
  • Highland River Falls – easy access, tumbles down a mountain hollow into the Johns River
  • Penelope Cascading Falls – 40 foot layered waterfall with splash areas, easy access near the Coves River Park

Our trails blend seamlessly with the forest.  They’re wide and well-marked, and they lead to scenic outlooks, picnic areas and community parks.  Thirteen miles of the system is “horse-friendly”.  Residents can choose a short day hike or a full-day adventure without ever leaving our gated community.

Fauna and flowers you’re likely to see along the way include mountain laurel, poplar, rhododendron, azaleas and wild mushrooms. Bird enthusiasts can expect to encounter a variety of woodpeckers, owls, bluebirds, colorful finches and hummingbirds.  It’s a paradise for anyone who loves photography and videography, so be sure to bring your camera.

Our North Carolina mountain homes at The Coves Mountain River Club provide a front-row seat to all of this and so much more.  Fishing, boating, gardening, hiking, golfing…the list goes on and on.  If you’re visiting the Lenoir area or anywhere else in the foothills, we invite you to stop by and visit.  We’d love to show you how great living here can be.

If you’re exploring the area for the first time, ask for our 84 page complimentary Western North Carolina Visitor’s Guide which provides more information about living in the foothills.

Tags: Greenways & Trails | Lenoir

Silver Fork Vineyard – A Sparkling Gem in the Foothills NC

Silver Fork Vineyard and Winery

On your list of things to do in Morganton, NC, make sure to highlight a visit to Silver Fork Vineyard and Winery about 40 minutes from The Coves Mountain River Club. With pleasant surprises like this popping up around every corner, it’s no wonder the mountain towns in North Carolina draw people from all over the world to our scenic cradle of Americana.

The Silver Fork boutique vineyard in the foothills of the South Mountains, produces nine old world varietals on more than five acres of rolling landscape.  The wines are Bordeaux-style, and the setting is nothing short of majestic. Soon the mountains will be ablaze of color adding to the vineyard’s ambience.

When the owners were first looking for Western North Carolina land for sale several years ago and came upon this spot, where Silver Creek and White Fork Creek intersect, they were seeking a new direction for their lives.  Something about the location and the tranquil beauty moved them so deeply that they quit their careers in New Jersey and pull up stakes to come here and learn all there is to know about winemaking.

Soon, Silver Fork Winery became a favorite site for weddings, picnics and business meetings. Tours are popular, of course, and wine tastings on the patio are a regular feature.  Silver Fork wines are available for purchase by the glass, bottle and case.

Co-owner Jennifer Foulides says they meet people who sample their wine and comment that it “doesn’t taste like a Napa Cab”.   It could be manipulated in the winery to mimic a California cabernet but would then lose its North Carolina characteristics.  The range of annual rainfall allows for dry farming, and vintners have the additional advantages of 1,200 feet of elevation, southern-facing slopes and great drainage. There are no cold nights here to increase tannin levels, so Silver Fork’s cabernet is better as a wine to pair with food.

Larry Kehoe, who sold them the property, was well-known as a pioneer in North Carolina viticulture.  His vineyard dated back to 1992, and he was happy to help them begin the journey of learning and experimentation that led them to today’s level of success.

Silver Fork Winery hosts live music, Movies Under The Stars and other exciting events on a regular basis.  Check their web site for more details (http://www.silverforkwinery.com/events) or call (347) 739-2052.  You’ll even find your favorite food truck there on Saturday and Sunday.  If you’re looking for fun things to do in Morganton NC, make your way to 5000 Patton Road in Morganton.

We at The Coves Mountain River Club have a special affinity for Silver Fork.  Some of our residents make a visit there part of their annual wine tours in the mountain towns in North Carolina during the fall harvest season.  And our friend Chef Corey Hooks, a local celebrity chef, pairs their wines with locally grown food during the monthly cooking demonstrations at our Pisgah Mountain Lodge.

If you’re exploring Western North Carolina land for sale, we offer one of the best places in the state to retire.  Our location in Lenoir is just a short drive from a multitude of exciting adventures, from outdoor activities to entertainment to local culture and traditions. Many of our residents prefer to stay in Lenoir and enjoy the small town friendliness. Downtown Lenoir has a number of family-owned restaurants, home decor boutiques, breweries and one of the country’s largest displays of public art sculptures.

Come by and meet our first Artist-In-Residence, colorful Charlie Frye.  You’ll always find him in overalls covered in paint from the day’s creativity. He’s was commissioned to paint two quilt blocks on our Round Mountain Ranch barn and did a beautiful job! We’re hoping they’ll become part of the Quilt Block Trail of North Carolina, a collection of more than 200 such artworks across the mountains.  Charlie’s frequently at the lodge talk and teaching about art, what inspires him and showcasing a private art exhibit to property owners.

There’s always something to enjoy at The Coves Mountain River Club. From our guest lecture series, to 39 miles of hiking trails in Western NC with its breathtaking views and elevations and the limitless opportunities for outdoor activities of all kinds. Image every day having the chance to close your eyes, breath in fresh mountain air and realize you’ve finally found exactly the right place to live life to its fullest.

When you’re in the Lenoir area, come on by and take a tour.  We’ll have a glass of wine waiting for you and a chair, where you can sit, relax and watch the sun set over the mountains.

If you’re exploring the area for the first time, ask for our 84 page Complimentary Magazine

Tags: Morganton

Prime Time – Fall Foliage Social Events at The Coves

Fall Foliage Events at The Coves

Who doesn’t love the fall foliage season? The time of the year when pumpkins arrive and everything smells of sweet apples and cinnamon. Perfect Lenoir North Carolina weather, when the air becomes crisp and refreshing.

At The Coves, fall foliage season becomes ‘prime time’ as the mountain ranges change into a kaleidoscope of color visible through floor to ceiling glass or on the wrap around veranda at our Pisgah Mountain Lodge. It’s a wonderful time to explore hiking trails in Western NC, community gardens at The Coves and NC mountain land. Meet friendly neighbors while you’re here during one of the many monthly social events at the lodge. Here’s what’s coming up in September and October:

Lenoir Downtown Farmer’s Market Visits The Coves

Hosted by Jeff Crane and Linda Holland West

Wednesday, September 14th 6:30-8:30pm

Attendees will be treated with Lenoir-style chicken wings, frog legs, twice baked sweet potatoes, jalapeno peanut butter poppers and apple crumble. The Lenoir Downtown Farmers Market motto is Buy Local, Buy Fresh, Buy Quality. Many of our farmers are Appalachian Grown certified through ASAP (Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project).

Annual Coves Chowda Cook-off Competition

Sponsored by Blossman Gas

Saturday October 15th 1:00-4:00pm

Homeowners and guests will cook up their special chowder recipes and be judged by three local friends of the community. Property owner, Patti Brandenburg, is graciously providing the winning prizes (colorful aprons or towels). Blossman Gas is sponsoring food for the event and is the largest family-owned propane business in America. They have been providing propane gas and appliance services to The Coves and owners of NC mountain land for years.

Are you a golfer? Don’t miss playing in The Coves 6th Annual Golf Tournament happening that weekend. Friendly competitions during the day will include closest to the pin, longest drive, and longest putt near some of the finest hiking trails in Western NC.

Chef Corey Hooks Cooking School

Guest Lecture Series

Wednesday October 26th 6:30-8:30pm

Chef Hooks will demonstrate preparing southern comfort foods with an Asian twist. His menu this month includes meatloaf, potatoes and asparagus. Guests will be treated to a “sweet’ surprise while enjoying the mild Lenoir North Carolina weather.

Last month, we had a wonderful audience when Chef Corey Hooks demonstrated cooking seared salmon and citrus fennel salad. About a dozen Coves’ residents attended for the first time. Chef Hooks started the evening with plating the dishes, an art of entertaining. Attendees enjoyed seared salmon with savory white beach puree, arugula, shaved fennel, orange supreme, and a citrus vinaigrette. It was delicious!

Hooks explained the importance of letting the pan heat up before adding your oil/fat. He continued by skillfully searing the salmon and sharing with everyone the best local shop in Morganton where he purchases his fish. He then revealed each of the tasty herbs in his vinaigrette. Chef Hooks is a great teacher and attendees asked a lot of questions.

The Annual Side Dish Cook-off on August 20 was a smashing success with almost 60 attendees! Competitors brought their most delicious dish from their collection of secret family recipes to battle against the other dishes in this high stakes competition. No wagering is allowed, but everyone is encouraged to attend with a hearty appetite to taste all the scrumptious side dishes.

Attendees were treated to BBQ by Hannah’s BBQ in Lenoir serving up the best barbecue in the foothills NC since 1982. Acoustic guitarist and pianist, Holden Bare, serenaded attendees with soft rock and music from the 60’s & 70’s. The first place side dish prize went to Paul Brandenburg, 2nd to Lori Gibeau and 3rd to Barbara Russell.

Other events at The Coves include Social Sunday NFL football, Monday Morning Yoga, Thursday Ladies Golf and Friday Movie Night. 

If you’re exploring the area for the first time, be sure ask for our 84 page complimentary Western North Carolina Visitor’s Guide which provides information about living in the foothills and life at The Coves. You’re always welcome at any of our social club events.

Tags: Events At The Coves | Lenoir