Inspiring Painting Classes with Charlie Frye

painting classes Charlie Frye

If you’re plugged into the art community in the Blue Ridge Mountains,  you have surely had the good fortune to run into a bearded man, wearing paint-streaked overalls, walking the streets of Lenoir.  The mountain towns in North Carolina are fortunate to share a rich history of art and culture that celebrate the region, (just take a look at the painted quilt blocks along our roadsides), and artists like Charlie Frye, co-owner of Folk Keeper Gallery & Antiques in historic downtown Lenoir, make certain that this cherished tradition is continued in our NC mountain communities.

Many  enjoy driving from town to town and taking in the painted quilt blocks that adorn local homes and barns.  Frye is self-taught, and perhaps it’s this passion and drive that give his folk art such heart and soul.  Step into his studio and you’ll find color and whimsy all around you. 

Frye and his wife, Susan Frye, are a creative and productive team, so much so that they were named “Master Folk Keepers” by Carl White of Life in the Carolinas.  Not only is their own art displayed, but they also sell work by other Southern folk artists.  Frye paints on many different materials–rusted metal, wood, whatever suits his fancy.  Frye has an innate sense for color and expression, and when he teaches, he also knows how to convey all he knows to his students so they, too, can bring forth their artistic expression.

Frye is more than a talented artist, he has a strong gift for teaching people of all ages how to create artwork of their own, exploring many different mediums, including paint.  His work is representative of the charming life so many in the NC mountain communities lead—a simpler day to day existence and a slower Blue Ridge pace.  Look at his creations and you will see the animals and folks who make the mountain towns in North Carolina all that they are.  It’s clear that the Fryes adore their community and their home in the Blue Ridge Mountains.

He has shown his colorful artwork all over the mountain towns in North Carolina–at the Caldwall Arts Council, Wilkes Gallery, Morning Song Gallery, Burke Arts Council, Jo Sila Gallery, Root in Vine, Morganton City Hall, Caldwell Community College to name just a few. Frye was commissioned to create two painted quilt blocks at Round Mountain Ranch to contribute to a celebrated tradition begun in the region in 2001. Using colors and patterns to beautifully blend images of majestic mountains with free-flowing river waters, the design evokes all the natural wonder and charm of The Coves. The quilt blocks are named ‘Windows to Heaven’. Come take a look!

Folk Keeper Gallery is creatively hopping year round with Open Houses during the holiday season, artful collaborations with other galleries, and a varied summer art programs for kids from elementary through middle and high school, as well as adults.

Upcoming events at Frye Art Studio for those with children and grandchildren in the NC mountain communities:

  • Intro to Art Summer Camp (5-8 yrs); Tuesday, June 12, 9-11 am; drawing, painting and small sculpture; $85 includes instructions, materials and snack.
  • Collage & Mosaics Summer Camp (6-10 yrs); Tuesday, June 12, 1-3 pm; assemblage using various mediums including pictures, beads, tiles and more; $100 includes instructions, materials and snack.
  • Intro to Art Camp (5-8 yrs); Wednesday, June 13, 9-11am; drawing, painting and small sculpture; $85 includes instructions, materials, and snack.
  • Collage & Mosaics Summer Camp (6-10 yrs); Wednesday, June 13, 1-3 pm; assemblage using various mediums including pictures, beads, tiles and more; $100 includes instructions, materials, and snack.
  • Intro to Art Summer Camp (5-8 yrs); Thursday, June 14, 9-11am; drawing, painting and small sculpture; $85 includes instructions, materials, and snack.
  • Collage & Mosaics Summer Camp (6-10 yrs); Thursday, June 14, 1-3 pm; assemblage using various mediums including pictures, beads, tiles and more; $100 includes instructions, materials, and snack.
  • Funky Chicken Summer Camp (6-10 yrs); Tuesday, June 19, 9-11 am; fun drawings and paintings of various animals; $85 includes instructions, materials, and snack.
  • Mixed Media Montage Summer Camp (8-12 yrs); Tuesday, June 19, 1-3 pm; used of various mediums to create sculpture as well as 2D pieces; $90 includes instructions, materials, and snack.
  • Funky Chicken Summer Camp (6-10 yrs); Wednesday, June 20, 9-11 am; fun drawings and paintings of various animals; $85 includes instructions, materials, and snack.
  • Mixed Media Montage Summer Camp (8-12 yrs); Wednesday, June 20, 1-3 pm; used of various mediums to create sculpture as well as 2D pieces; $90 includes instructions, materials, and snack.
  • Funky Chicken Summer Camp (6-10 yrs); Thursday, June 21, 9-11 am; fun drawings and paintings of various animals; $85 includes instructions, materials, and snack.
  • Mixed Media Montage Summer Camp (8-12 yrs); Thursday, June 21, 1-3 pm; used of various mediums to create sculpture as well as 2D pieces; $90 includes instructions, materials, and snack.
  • Over the Moon for Owls Summer Camp (8-12 yrs); Tuesday, June 26, 9-11 am; drawing and painting for all kinds of owls; $85 includes instructions, materials and snack.
  • Sculpty Sculpt-Off Summer Camp (11-18 yrs); Tuesday, June 26, 1-4 pm; creating small sculptures using sculpy and paint; judged art show following final class (more details to come); $125 includes instructions, materials and snacks.
  • Over the Moon for Owls Summer Camp (8-12 yrs); Wednesday, June 27, 9-11 am; drawing and painting for all kinds of owls; $85 includes instructions, materials and snack.
  • Sculpty Sculpt-Off Summer Camp (11-18 yrs); Wednesday, June 27, 1-4 pm; creating small sculptures using sculpy and paint; judged art show following final class (more details to come); $125 includes instructions, materials and snacks.
  • Over the Moon for Owls Summer Camp (8-12 yrs); Thursday, June 28, 9-11 am; drawing and painting for all kinds of owls; $85 includes instructions, materials and snack.
  • Sculpty Sculpt-Off Summer Camp (11-18 yrs); Thursday, June 28, 1-4 pm; creating small sculptures using sculpy and paint; judged art show following final class (more details to come); $125 includes instructions, materials and snacks.

To register for camps, call or message (828) 320-7819 or send a FB message to Folk Keeper Gallery located at 901 West Avenue, Lenoir, NC.

And remember…you’re never too old to pick up a paint brush!  As those at The Coves in the mountain towns of North Carolina discovered when they participated in Frye’s Wine & Design Class a couple of years ago, sipping and painting while Frye explained step by step how to apply color to their 12 x 12 wood board.  Amazing paintings were created in the fresh air of the Pisgah Mountain Lodge veranda at The Coves. 

Artist in residence programs are just one of the perks of living in such a vibrant and connected community in the Blue Ridge Mountains.  Take a ride through the quaint towns on your way to visit The Coves, and keep an eye out for the Quilt Trails in NC; there are nine trail routes to explore along the way. You’ll find two of Frye’s quilt blocks hanging on the Round Mountain Ranch barn, reflecting the natural beauty that surrounds the folks who live in The Coves. And be sure to stop in the Frye’s Folk Keeper Gallery to pick up a little folk art to adorn your new home at The Coves. 

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: Artist In Residence | Lenoir

Take the NC 100 Mile Hiking Challenge in 2018

hiking trails near Asheville NC

Every year, North Carolina State Parks challenges every state resident to complete 100 miles of physical activity.  It’s a great opportunity to get outside and enjoy the natural beauty and resources North Carolina is known for.  And of course you reap many health benefits as well, such as stress reduction, improved muscle mass, weight loss, better sleep and even disease prevention.

There are 42 trails close to The Coves Mountain River Club that offer not only the exercise you need but amazing views of the waterfalls of Western North Carolina and some of the area’s other most spectacular features.

So why not use this opportunity to become familiar with some of the popular hiking trails near Asheville NC?  Even if it’s just one or two miles to begin with, what’s important is that you’re getting started and participating.

Go to to sign up for the 2018 “100-Mile Challenge” and start logging your progress.

Here are some rules to keep in mind.  Be sure your footwear is sturdy, comfortable and well broken-in before you hit the trail.  Choose the right activity for your fitness level.  Bring a map.  Know the weather forecast and dress accordingly.  Take sunscreen, bug repellent, a hat, sunglasses, snacks and water.  For safety, hike or bike with a friend or family member.  Otherwise, let someone know where you’re going and when you should be back.  Finally, respect your surroundings, others in the park and the wildlife.

While you’re in Lenoir looking for North Carolina land for sale, plan a side trip to one of our three beautiful state parks:  Grandfather Mountain, Lake James and South Mountains.  You can find wonderful trails that accommodate any level of physical strength and stamina.

Grandfather Mountain State Park offers Nuwati Trail, which is peaceful and soothing, mildly challenging and good for all ages.  You’ll get a spectacular view of the Boone Bowl and Calloway Peak from Storyteller’s Rock.  Profile Trail is a longer and more strenuous walk, and Grandfather Trail is recommended only for very advanced hikers.

The Overmountain Victory Trail at Lake James State Park follows the route taken by American patriots who shadowed a force of marauding British loyalists across three states until they finally engaged in battle at King’s Mountain.  It’s an easy hike, mostly shaded under mature forest canopy.  Beginner and intermediate level bikers will like the Upper Tindo and West Winda Loops.

At South Mountains State Park, hikers often combine Possum Trail with Chestnut Knob Trail for a 7.7 mile loop that reaches the highest point of the park and includes a view of one of the loveliest waterfalls of western North Carolina, High Shoals Falls.  Also check out the Benn Knob, Horseridge, and Fox Trails.

The many hiking trails near Asheville NC make it easy to walk and stay in shape because there’s so much to explore that you never run out of surprises.  People who seek North Carolina land for sale know they’re buying a lifestyle that’s wonderfully different from the one they’ve been accustomed to. 

With so many ways to become and remain active – and the year-round mild weather – our residents at The Coves Mountain River Club find that the Lenoir area’s many attractions can keep them as busy as they want to be.

We look forward to your visit.  Find us on the Johns River near Wilson Creek with plenty of access to swimming, fishing, tubing and other water-related activities. Explore our four waterfalls, two community gardens and 16 miles of award winning hiking trails within our community.

There is no better way to immerse yourself in the splendor of the surroundings here in the foothills of North Carolina than to choose a trail, set off on an invigorating hike and begin your “100-Mile Challenge”.

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

Tags: Greenways & Trails | Lenoir

Where to Find a Great Cup of Coffee Near The Coves

Lenoir NC restaurants

Our American love affair with specialty coffees started back in the 1960s.  Baby boomers discovered that the local cafés and coffee shops were the perfect place to gather, chat, perform live music and poetry, and create a counterculture.  In Berkeley, California, Peet’s Coffee and Tea introduced artisan roasting styles that began setting trends, and in 1971 two business partners in Seattle first sold specialty roasted beans under the name “Starbucks”.

Of the roughly 100 million daily coffee drinkers in the United States, about a third would rather sip espresso drinks like cappuccinos and lattes than a simple cup of Java.  And another third like their coffee black.

The coffee culture has something for everyone and attracts new converts every day.  And residents of NC mountain communities are no exception.  If you think moving to The Coves Mountain River Club means giving up the coffee shop environment you’ve come to love, think again.

At one time, we might have called Highland Coffee House Lenoir’s “best kept secret”.  But it wasn’t secret for long.  Word quickly got around about this downtown gem, with its 39 flavors of coffee beans and 20 specialty teas.  And when the owners added fresh-baked breads and pastries, they earned even more praise. 

Soon, visitors looking for NC mountain cabins for sale will be delighted to discover that what they believed was only a fixture of urban life had become one of the most popular things to do in Lenoir NC.

Family-owned Highland Coffee House occupies a beautiful building right on Main Street, nestled in small town surroundings.  Inside, it’s warm and friendly.  A comfortable lounge beckons you to relax in front of the fireplace.  Read, chat or use the free wi-fi.  And there’s meeting space available.  The works of local artist Charlie Frye adorn the walls, and his studio is right upstairs. 

The air’s rich with the sweet aroma of cookies, cakes and fresh bread that regular patrons travel miles to savor.  The atmosphere’s very laid back, and the owner’s happy to answer your questions and discuss the finer points of their remarkable selection of beans.

In addition to the four coffee flavors featured daily, they serve smoothies and gourmet hot chocolate.  The brew at Highland Coffee House has been called the best you can find between Boone and Hickory.  They bake one of the moistest cakes in the mountains.  And their prices are very easy on the wallet.  Why spend more and get less somewhere else?

As one customer put it, her first visit to Highland Coffee House was like “finding a pearl in the sand”.

Of course, that could apply to much of what makes the foothills area so special.  No matter what your mental image of NC mountain communities might be, pleasant surprises await you around every corner.  Many who chose to build a mountain home at The Coves Mountain River Club in Lenoir were astonished to learn how much there is to do in the area.  And it just keeps getting better.

Our location on five miles of Johns River frontage near Wilson Creek provides easy access to popular fishing sites, boating, swimming and more.  Pisgah Mountain Lodge is the perfect finish to an exciting day. Our great gathering place for neighbors where residents enjoy special activities such as cooking demonstrations by local chefs, themed events and games. 

Living here, you really do get the best of both worlds.  The air is fresh, the skies are clear, there’s mild weather all year long, and the stress level is zero.  But we’re still close enough to mountain towns and metropolitan cities that you can easily get there if you need to.

If you’re in the area looking at NC mountain cabins for sale, be sure to stop by The Coves Mountain River Club for a tour and see what our design team has been able to create for others like yourself.

And be sure to treat yourself to a visit to Highland Coffee House, one of our favorite hometown things to do in Lenoir NC.

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: Lenoir | Restaurants & Breweries

A Weekend of Everything Blackberry in Western North Carolina

NC Blackberry Festival

The mountain towns in North Carolina are well on their way to celebrating the spring and making the most of this glorious region—from outdoor recreation, to mountain festivals—the hills are full of life. As we take part in all these glorious Lenoir NC events, it’s impossible not to look forward to what the summer months will bring, and of course who doesn’t have the North Carolina Blackberry Festival on their summer dream list?  This foodie festival in North Carolina is the perfect follow-up to our Fourth of July celebrations, and another sweet occasion to come together with friends, family and the tight-knit community.  For nearly two decades folks have gathered together for the Blackberry Festival, and this year promises to deliver three jam-packed days loaded with wholesome fun.

Here’s the full schedule of the blackberry events:


• 6-9 pm–A ticketed event kicking off the NC Blackberry Festival weekend on Lenoir’s Main St., featuring blackberry infused cuisine, drinks, music and dancing, and the swinging styles of The Starlighters.  Swing dancing class for those who want to really move!   Sample and vote on local restaurants blackberry appetizers, entrees and desserts, while you sip the finest from local breweries and distilleries from the mountain towns in North Carolina.  Tickets $35–Caldwell Chamber of Commerce, or (828) 726-0616.


• 5-10pm–Experience the tastes of our regional and local breweries on the Square in Historic Downtown Lenoir, during the Friday Night Blackberry Jam, featuring the Black “Beery” y Garden, and live music by contestants of The Blackberry Jam Competition and emceed by the Sycamore Bones band.

6 pm—Blackberry Belle Pageant Preliminaries

7 pm–Live Music—Blackberry Jam Singer Songwriter Contest

7 pm—Blackberry Recipe Contests

9 pm—Glow Run 5K & Fun

Tickets and wristbands will be made available downtown during this event.


9 am-5pm—Black “Beer” y Garden, featuring local breweries and craft beers

10 am—live music all day

10 am—Blackberry Belle Pageant Finals

10:30 am–Blackberry Festival Blood Drive

11:15 am—Blackberry Eating Contests (Youth and Adult)

12 pm—Presentation of Colors Ceremony

12:15 pm—Colossal Cobbler Parade

12:30 pm—World’s Largest Patchwork of Cobbler

3:30 pm—Blackberry Jam Winners

This year’s Singer-Songwriter competition is one of the finest Lenoir NC events will have a great panel of judges and awards will be given: first place winner–$300 Grand Prize and a 30-minute performance on Saturday; second place winner–$150; third place–$75. The on-site live competition takes place at the Main Street Stage in Downtown Lenoir during the Blackberry Jam on Friday, July 13th. Each song in the finals must be performed live by the composer (and/or co-writer), with no more than one accompanist. When there are two or more songwriters, the limit on stage is three individuals. No pre-recorded tracks will be allowed. Songs which result in a tie will be decided based upon the highest score given to a song by an individual judge.

T-SHIRT DESIGN CONTEST—any questions contact Candice Simmons– 828-726-0616

Also be sure to bring your little ones to the Chick-fil-a “Blackberry Patch” Kids Area with Waterlife Church– a designated kids area featuring a variety of inflatables, arts & crafts activities, a puppet making area for the Colossal Cobbler Parade Brigade, and children-friendly music and more.

Shopping at the festival is one of the biggest draws with something incredible for everyone!


FOOD & BEVERAGES; Four Corners Grill; G&T;  Hot Diggity Dog; Java Sweets LLC; Kara’s Grill; Nectar of The Vine; Sherri’s Crab Cakes; SnoBar Southeast; Sweet Mornings Farm; That’s a Wrap; Turkish Grill; World Cuisine

RETAIL & CRAFTS–Alco Creations; Bamboo Pillows and Sheets; Carolina Legacy; Crafts by Janice; Creative Arts by Cathy; D & M Creative Designs; Greg’s Antiques and Garden Iron; Heather Leigh Designs; Jess Ann Smith; Lilla Rose Hair Accessories; Log Cabin Naturals; My Pillow; Ocean Palms Jewelry; Paparazzi/Precious Jewels; Rhineland Cutlery; Southern Soap Shop; The Mail Room; Salt Soothers; June’s Doggie Boutique; Lularoe; Splentique Fashion Boutique

ATTRACTIONS–Good Times Inflatables; Vacation Village Resorts

HOME & GARDEN–All American Gutter Protection; B&B Outdoors; Carolina Home Remodeling; Greg’s Antiques and Garden Iron; Henry Frye Mantles; KR Communications; Paradise Home Improvement; Security Force INC; SkyLine/ SkyBest; Tarheel Basement Systems; The Hickory Nut

AUTHORS–Jordan Greene

ORGANIZATIONS–Gideons International; Keychains for Cancer Research

Volunteer at this festival in North Carolina and feel the amazing sense of community —“We need everything from a Stage Emcee to a Beer Pourer; from a Cobbler Collector to Recipe Judge. Or maybe you’ve got big muscles…we need help moving and lifting too! Whatever your special skill, we need your help! There are many ways to get involved at the NC Blackberry Festival, so please consider volunteering at one of our multiple stations over the four days of the festival.” Please contact the Caldwell County Chamber of Commerce at 828.726.1616.

Our residents at The Coves Mountain River Club are sure to attend this amazing festival in North Carolina, one of the many perks of calling this majestic spot “home.”  Lenoir NC events are diverse and happen year-round, adding joy and adventure to The Coves’ community. 

This is an excellent time to take a gorgeous summer ride through the mountain towns in North Carolina, join the Blackberry Festival celebration, and discover first-hand the inspiring views and warm hospitality that await you at The Coves. While you’re here, check out our new tiny houses collection, floor plans starting in the mid $50s.

Whether as a second home or for downsizing a permanent residence, we are now offering, on a limited base, affordable tiny homes. These residences offer slightly more square footage than your typical tiny house plus all the benefits of living in an award winning mountain community. Come and select your homesite, floor plan and interior selections and we will make every effort to have you in your new home in 4-6 months.

Request the tiny houses information package by calling us at 828.754.0700!

Tags: Festivals | Lenoir

7 Exciting Western North Carolina Hiking Clubs

Western North Carolina hiking clubs

It’s no wonder that hiking clubs abound in Western North Carolina.  This region provides a gloriously varied landscape to those who enjoy heading out for a day, or maybe a week, heading down trails that range from tame to downright strenuous.

Western North Carolina is hands down the most sought after hiking grounds for those in the know.  For one thing, the 2,184 mile Appalachian National Scenic Trail graces this part of the state, and the Blue Ridge and the Smoky Mountains are an equal draw.

But there are so many other wonders—dramatic 360- degree views, fir forests, the bursting beauty of the natural growing Catawba rhododendrons,  sheer rock faces and other geological features that stop you in your tracks before you reach the crest of a summit.  Some seek the waterfalls of western North Carolina, loving nothing more than a hike in spring with one thing in mind– feeling the cool spray of a majestic waterfall.

There are many great resources online to assist your excursions.  Be sure not to forget to pack sunscreen, water, snacks, and of course your camera.

The Blue Ridge Hiking Club is an informal group of hiking enthusiasts who love meeting new friends while enjoying the outdoors of north-western North Carolina.  They welcome residents who live in Carolina mountain homes as well as visitors. Hikes of all levels, all year long  through the Blue Ridge Parkway, the Mountains-to-Sea trail, the Appalachian Trail, Linville Gorge, Roan Mountain (Tennessee), and the Virginia Creeper Trail (Virginia) for $10 a year, two hikes weekly.

The Monday hikes are easier than the Wednesday and Saturday hikes. Just show up at the trail head on Monday morning at 9:30. “We always have fun – no matter the weather, and we invite you to join us!”  Upcoming hikes:

  • Wednesday, April 25 – Watauga Dam via AT. (Carter/Johnson Co., TN)–7 miles, 4+ hrs. Rated moderate. Contact Carol Ann Mitchell at 423-772-4280, text 423 957-1207.
  • Saturday, April 28–Price Lake plus Boone Fork–approximately 7 miles; 4 hours; moderate to strenuous. Contact Roger Bodo–828-260-2019.
  • Monday, April 30–Trout Lake to Rich Mountain: 5 miles or less; relaxed pace.
  • Wednesday, May 2–Wildflower Crawl on the Lower Profile Trail; moderate–about a mile round trip. Contact Susan Moore at 828-733-5748.
  • Saturday, May 5–Hawksbill Mountain: Moderate to strenuous 1.8 miles, with 670 ft. elevation gain; approximately 2 hrs. Contact Bob Heath–828-773-0471.
  • Monday, May 7–Price Lake plus; 5 miles or less. Wednesday,
  • May 9–Mountains-to-Sea Trail; about 5 miles; contact Pam Hoffman, 828-262-9779.
  • Saturday, May 12–Appalachian Trail from US 321 to Watauga Dam; about 7 miles, 4 plus hrs; rated moderate; contact Carol Ann Mitchell–423-772-4280, text 423-9957-1207.
  • Monday, May 14–Green Knob Trail; 9. 5 miles or less, relaxed pace.
  • Wednesday, May 16– Laurel Fork Falls Hike; approximately 5 miles; moderate; contact Sheryl McNair at 443-360-9933.
  • Saturday, May 19–Table Rock and Crest Trail, 2 mi; moderately strenuous hiking; Mountains To Sea trail approximately 4-5 mi. Contact Skip Rackmill–828-355-9303.
  • Monday, May 21–Old John’s River Road to Price Lake–9. 5 miles or less, relaxed pace.
  • Wednesday, May 23– Hughes Gap to Roan High Knob on the AT–10 miles; moderate; contact Carol Ann Mitchell at 423-772-4280, text 423 957-1207.
  • Saturday, May 26–Story Teller Rock and Flat Rock; 5 mi., some parts strenuous and rocky; contact Bob Heath–828-773-0471.
  • Monday, May 28–Flat Top Observation Tower + Cone Memorial; 1. 5 miles or less, relaxed pace.
  • Wednesday, May 30– Glen Burney: Annie Cannon Gardens parking lot on Laurel Lane in Blowing Rock; 3.2 miles; contact Sherrey Murray at 828-737-0248.

 There are many opportunities to get involved with the Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy and Pacolet Area Conservancy—whether you want to volunteer, donate, or take on a hiking challenge.  For $35 dollars a year, there are plenty of hikes and activities throughout the month!  This organization has “deep roots and strong histories of preserving lands, joined together to build a larger community of advocates to further our common missions to protect and conserve natural resources in our burgeoning region for generations to come.”

Some upcoming hikes to usher in spring:

  • Friday, April 27, Craven Gap; 8:30-4; enjoy the scenery of WNC with your friends and family!
  • Monday, April 30, 9:30-1:30; celebrate Earth Day with a hike!
  • Friday, May 11, 8:30-4; the spectacular Lone Ridge of Pinnacle Mountain.
  • Saturday, June 30; 10:30-12; the first Tails and Trails with your four-legged friends!

Pisgah Hikers is a private hiking club with a number of hikes of various levels each week.  These hikes are free on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

Please Note that effective May 9 Pisgah Hikers returns to the “Summer Schedule” with hikes starting at 8:30 and updates will be issued every Tuesday morning before the Wednesday hike.   Upcoming hikes to get your blood pumping:

Friday Easy Hikers; hikes are generally 3 miles, 3 hours long with no more than about 300 feet of climb. We meet every Friday at the BiLo Assembly Area in the parking lot  in June 9:15 AM departure; emails every Thursday to members of this group with weather forecast and hike description.

Spring 2018 Schedule:

  • April 27– Arboretum along Bent Creek
  • May 4— Carl Sandburg Hse
  • May 11–Pisgah Inn for Breakfast E38B. (8:15amDeparture)
  • May 18– Holmes State Park
  • May 25–Pink Beds via Barnett Branch
  • June 1— Daniel Ridge
  • June 8–Cradle of Forestry E14C
  • June 15–Pisgah Ridge E35H
  • June 22–Cove Creek
  • June 29–Corn Shoals in Dupon

The Monday Rollers’ hikes are in the medium range of difficulty. Regular departure time and place: the Lowe’s Assembly area in the Lowe’s parking by US64.  Please be there by 8:50 am; contact Maggie DiRocco  862-4618.

  • April 30–to be announced.
  • May 7–M21A; John Rock; 700 feet; 4.5 miles; R5;$1.50.
    May 14–M14B; Pink Beds; Long Loop; 500’; 5.5 miles; R5; $2.50.
    • May 21; M66B; Upper Whitewater Falls; 900’; 5 miles; R6; $5.50; starting at Bad Creek parking lot.
  • May 28; Memorial Day; M80A; Wintergreen Falls; 450’; 4.5 miles; R3; $2; starting from the Sky Valley Parking area.
  • June 4; M16A; Promontory Stump; 300’; 5 miles; R3; $3.
  • June 11; M81G; 3 Lakes Trail in DuPont State Forest; est.300’; est.4.5miles; R3;$2.
  • June 18;M23A; Daniel Creek/Lanning Ridge; 900’; 5 miles; R6 $2.
  • June 25; M38C; Buck Springs Lodge Loop; 300; 3.5 miles; R2; $3.50.

 The Monday Milers is a companion hiking group but slightly more challenging than the “Monday Rollers” with an average moving pace of 2 to 2.5 mph and distances of 4 – 8 miles with moderate elevation changes. Regular departure time and place:  Lowe’s Home Center near US 64—9 am; arrive by 8:45. Contact Richard Mayberry; 828-884-4398 (h) 704-236-4398.

The Monday Milers Spring Schedule:

  • April 30—Bearwallow Mountain/Trambore Trail; 5 miles estimated, 800’ climb estimated, R6, car fee:  $4.
    May 7—Flat Laurel Creek/Big Slam Loop; 4.5 miles, 900’ climb, R5, car fee:  $5.
    May 14—Cat Gap Loop/John Rock; 6.6 miles, 1,200’ climb, R7, $2.
    • May 21—Pisgah Ridge/Skinny Dip Falls via Graveyard ;4.6 miles, 500’ climb, R4, $4.50; shuttle, start at the intersection of 816 and the BRP.
  • May 28—Black Balsam/Tennant Mountain; 5 miles, 700’ climb, R6, $5; start at Big Sam parking.
  • June 4–Hike with “Rollers”
  • June 11— Hike with “Rollers”
  • June 18— Hike with “Rollers”
  • June 25—Mountains to Sea, Green Knob Trail; 6 miles, 700’ climb, R5, $5.

Wednesdays Striders: a faster pace and with less stops than the Monday Pisgah hikes.  Hikes range from 5 to 8 miles.  We have three different assembly areas depending upon the location of the hike—St. Philips Church parking lot, BiLo, and the Cedar Rock Community Center. Contact: Jay Hinze–828-553-6533 or Craig Smith–240-416-5971.

Wednesday Striders Spring 2018 Schedule:

  • April 25–Jones Gap – Rainbow Falls; 5 mi, 1300’cl, R5, $5; meet at Cedar Mountain; $5 for park admission.
  • May 2–Pisgah Ridge – Graveyard Fields Upper Falls; 5 mi, 900’ cl, R5, $4; meet at BiLo; from the junction of FS816 and the Blue Ridge Parkway.
  • May 9–Pilot Mountain; 5 mi, 1900’cl, R8, $3; meet at BiLo.
  • May 16–Bearwallow Mountain; 5 mi, 1700’cl, R10, $7; meet at BiLo or Ingles I26 & US64.
    May 23–Panthertown Waterfalls; 8 mi, 1500’, R8, $6; meet St. Philips.
    • May 30–23 feature hike – East Loop; 6 mi, 1300’cl, R8, $4; meet at BiLo;16- feature hike starts from the Big Sam parking lot at the end of FS816.

The Friday Hoofer hikes are the longest and most strenuous of the five groups. Contact Jay Hinze 828-553-6533 or Vince Castello–828-458-4489.

Friday Hoofer Hikes Spring Schedule:

  • April 27– Flat Creek Falls Panthertown; 8 mi, 1440’cl, R5, $5; meet at Catheys Creek Road.
    • May 4–Bennett Cove/Big East Fork; 8 mi, 1800’ cl, R8, $3; meet at BiLo.
    • May 11–Buckeye Gap – Haywood Gap; 9 mi, 1600’ cl, R8, $5.50; meet at Catheys Creek Road.
    • May 18–Buck Spring – Pisgah Inn; 12 mi, 1500’ cl, R7, $2.50;meet at BiLo.
    • May 25–Avery Creek – Buckhorn Gap Loop; 10 mi, 2000’, R9, $1; meet at BiLo.

Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy

“SAHC conserves unique plant and animal habitat, clean water, farmland, scenic beauty, and places for people to enjoy outdoor recreation in the mountains of Tennessee and North Carolina.”  There are many ways to be involved with SAHC whether you enjoy lacing up your hiking boots or you long to help preserve the hiking trails in Western North Carolina.

Hikes and Outings almost every day for $40 a year:

  • April 25—April Wildflower Wednesday—11 am-3.
  • April 29—Golden-winged Warblers!At Yellow Mountain State Natural Area, NC;6:30 am-3:30 pm–$100.
  • May 3—2018 Leave No Trace Tainer Course; Highlands of Roan; 10 am; May 4 at 3 pm.
  • May 30—2018 May Wildflower Wednesday; 11 am-3 pm
  • June 8—2018 Roan Highlands Birding Hike; 9 am-12 pm; Highlands of Roan
  • June 9—2018 June Jamboree—Free Highlands of Roan
  • June 27—2018 June Wildflower Wednesday; 11 am-3 pm

The Smoky Mountains Hiking Club is nearly 100 years old and has over 600 members who are “hikers and outdoors enthusiasts who love the Smokies and the mountains of East Tennessee.”  There are weekly hikes in the  Great Smoky Mountains National Park as well as other gorgeous nearby areas, and membership fees are only $20 a year.  For those of you who have settled into your Carolina mountain homes and find you’d like to contribute to the community, SMHC appreciates volunteers to help maintain trails and shelters.

Upcoming SMHC Outings and Events:

  • April 28—Sat; Little Cataloochee
  • April 28-29—Sat & Sun; New Backpacker Orientation
  • May 5—Sat; Appalachian Trail Work Trip
  • May 6—Sunday; Big South Fork; Grand Gap Loop and Angel Falls Overlook
  • May 10—Thurs; Ten Mile Greenway
  • May 12—Sat; Spence Field/Russell Field Loop
  • May 16—Wed; Ace Gap and Beard Cane
  • May 19—Sat; Kanati Fork/Thomas Divide/ Newton Bald
  • May 19-20—Sat & Sun—Welch Ridge/Cold Springs Backpack
  • May 20—Sun—Kuwahi Scar Off-Trail
  • May 23—Wed—Rich Mountain Loop; Indian Grave Gap and Crooked Arm Trails
  • May 26—Sat—Ace Gap
  • May 28—Mon—Memorial Day; Cataloochee Divide Trail to PurchaseKnob

Mountains to Sea Trail is an essential organization for folks who care about our hiking trails in Western North Carolina.  For $35 a year you can support this 1,175 mile trail that allows hikers to cover the state and “is as diverse as North Carolina. Along the trail, you may see mountain vistas, rolling Piedmont farms, picture postcard colonial towns, weathered tobacco barns, old textile villages, country churches, rushing mountain streams, coastal swamps, hardwood and pine forests, lighthouses, sand dunes, miles of seashore, and friendly people.”  Some of the ways to get involved from the comfort of your Carolina mountain homes—join the friends, attend an event, share your photos, keep up-to-date with the newsletter, purchase a MST license plate, or volunteer.

Upcoming events to support the trail:

  • April 27—Fri—2:30; Trail Grand Opening at Guilford County Farm
  • April 28—Sat—Intermediate Trail Maintenance at Rockingham Community College
  • May 5—Sat—Eno River Section Annual Picnic at Fews Ford area, Eno River State Park
  • May 12—Sat—Upper Haw River Section Workday
  • June 5—Sat—Eno River Section Annual Picnic
  • June 12—Sat– Upper Haw River Section Workday

Friends of the Smokies was begun in 1993, and with hard work and devoted members and volunteers, more than $53 million has been raised to fund worthy projects in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park—historic preservation, wildlife management, environmental education among them.  If you don’t yet know about this amazing park, it spans more than 800 square miles of Western North Carolina and eastern Tennessee, and is where you are sure to find some of the most cherished views from mountaintops, as well as the wildlife we adore.  Find out for yourself by getting involved and have an incredible outdoor adventure while making life-long friends.

Upcoming Spring Hikes and events:

  • May 2—Pint Night at Bearden Beer Market
  • May 8—Classic Hike of the Smokies—Ramsey Cascades
  • June 11—Classic Hike of the Smokies: Cades of Cove Overnight Experience
  • June 12–Classic Hike of the Smokies: Cades of Cove Overnight Experience
  • June 19—Friends Day at Frugal Backpacker

It’s no secret to the folks who appreciate hiking trails in Western North Carolina that The Coves Mountain River Club delivers 13 miles of groomed hiking and horse trails. This is just one of the many perks that draw people in search of Carolina mountain homes to The Coves.

The Coves’ location is perfect, providing variation in elevation, with 3,600 acres ranging from 1,040 to 1,700 for our active residents to strut their stuff… and all without leaving home!   There are trails that suit a leisurely stroll by a magnificent waterfall, and challenging climbs to work your quads.   If you adore waterfalls of Western North Carolina, there are four dramatic waterfalls throughout these trails; it’s a hard act to follow!   Here’s a glimpse at what awaits you at The Coves:

Switchback Trail – 3.5 miles of trail over several streams, ending along Mila Cascading Falls.

Spine Trail – 3.5 miles of pasture trail over streams abutting a fishing pond and wildlife viewing area.

Winding River Trail – 2 miles of trails along the Johns River, past Coves River Park, the community gardens and stables and ending at Coleton’s Swimming Hole.

Magnolia Trail – 1.5 miles of trail up to 100ft overlooking river, winding into the serene woods and ending at Coleton’s Swimming Hole.

Tranquility Vineyard Trail –  a 1 mile trail into the woods along several small streams ending in the vineyard.

Little Waterfall Trail –  a .75 mile trail from Table View Lane, meandering past several waterfalls and into Waterfall Trail.

Cedar Cove Trail –  a .5 mile trail from the Waterfall Trail to the lovely community gardens and stables.

Waterfall Trail – a .5 mile trail down to Waterfall Park and into the community gardens for residents who just can’t get enough of the waterfalls of Western North Carolina.

Hawks Nest Trail – a .5 mile trail down from Waterfall Lane by a spring fed stream, into the Waterfall Trail and back to the community gardens and stable.

Lace up your hiking boots and then come explore the variety of hikes that bring fitness, relaxation and good old-fashioned outdoor adventure in our mountain community.

Call us at 828.754.0700 to schedule a tour and a hike!

Tags: Greenways & Trails | Lenoir

Buffalo Mercantile Company – Circa 1897

Lenoir NC Restaurants

When you’re in the market for North Carolina mountain homes for sale, you need to explore the Blue Ridge Mountain region and discover first-hand how enchanting life can be.  There are a host of vibrant towns filled with caring communities to entice you to make the move you’ve long imagined become a reality.

For those who live in the gated communities near Asheville, The Buffalo Mercantile Company is surely on their list of local favorite restaurants.  And if your family has enjoyed life going back generations in this gorgeous region of North Carolina, then they are familiar with the rich history of this local treasure.

Lenoir NC restaurants are just one of the undeniable draws to living in the Blue Ridge Mountains, and this historic landmark is reflective of all that matters to those who decide to make Western North Carolina their permanent home—love of tradition, culture, community, fine food, and gatherings with those you care most about.

The Buffalo Mercantile Company has had its roots here since 1897 when it was opened to provide all the basic necessities to local folks.  In 1924 John C. Todd and his wife Pearl purchased the store and named it Todd’s Place, running it until the mid 1980s.  Their daughter took their place over, added a kitchen and dining area, and kept it open until she retired.

That’s when Tom Kassab, a frequent visitor to the gorgeous region for two decades, saw the store for sale, and made an offer.  He understood the importance of this old-time establishment to the gated communities near Asheville.

Tom decided to restore its original name, and to carry on the country store tradition while making the necessary improvements, ensuring The Buffalo Mercantile Company’s success alongside other fabulous Lenoir NC restaurants.

Now it’s the perfect blend of past and present.  There are hundreds of nostalgic products in the store to browse, and when you settle down with a cup of fresh coffee, Wi-Fi will fulfill your modern-day needs.

You and your friends can gather around the fire on the gorgeous stone patio, or stroll over the bridge that spans the creek.  Spend a little more time and take in some of the local entertainment–like legendary Doc Watson.  The  motto of The Buffalo Mercantile Company is “Join us, step back in time, it’s a destination worth the drive!”

When you’re traveling to the region to search for North Carolina mountain homes for sale, here are some of the menu’s savory highlights made from the finest and freshest ingredients:

  • assortment of starters to kick start your appetite
  • handmade pizza created with the finest and freshest ingredients; endless toppings anddeep dish too!   Your choice—red or white, thin or thick!
  • burgers—1/3 lb. ground steak
  • specialty subs
  • meatball or Italian sausage calzones
  • selections for “Little Buffalos”
  • hand-dipped ice cream

“The Buffalo Mercantile Company and Cafe offers General Store Merchandise, Coffee Shop, Candy Store, Ice Cream Parlor, Cafe with outdoor seating/entertaining along the rushing creek complete with large fire-pit. This Restaurant is Ranked #1 On TripAdvisor!”

Here’s where to find it and business hours:

Buffalo Mercantile Company

6353 Buffalo Cove Road

Lenoir NC

Hours—Closed Mondays

Open 11-8 Tuesday-Saturday


Call (828) 758-9879

Come visit our charming towns in Western North Carolina where you’ll find a welcoming haven for those of us who appreciate a relaxed pace within a vibrant community of entrepreneurs, artists, and professionals.

Lenoir NC restaurants are just one of the many perks of living in the region that add genuine southern hospitality and of course incredible culinary fare.

Why not make The Coves Mountain River Club your first destination when you are ready to select a home near the gated communities of Asheville NC?  Whether you build a new mountain home, choose a new home package, or find the ideal resale, The Coves will inspire you to embark on your idyllic next chapter.

What could be better than waking up by the Johns River surrounded a frame of majestic mountains?  The Coves has a number of stunning North Carolina mountain homes for sale within easy access to all the quaint and happening towns.  Take a life-changing journey and come visit us at The Coves.

Call us at 828.754.0700 to schedule a visit. 

Tags: Home Building | Lenoir | Restaurants & Breweries