Living in the Blue Ridge Mountains means waking up each day to the most beautiful and bountiful landscape nature has to offer. It’s where brilliant beams of sunrise shine morning’s first light on magnificent mountain ranges adorned with waterfalls and wildflowers. The exquisite scenery is a top reason people put “real estate in Lenoir NC” high on their wish lists. The mineral-rich soil, clean water, and favorable climate – plus the added bonus of having neighbors who are passionate about healthy living fueled by an abundance of fresh produce – are top reasons Lenoir has also become a community gardener’s paradise.
Community gardens – which are plots of land collectively planted and managed by a group of people with a passion for growing and harvesting produce – have been sprouting up in and around Lenoir for the past several years. It’s a growing trend that seems to be gaining more and more momentum among outdoorsy types and healthy lifestyle enthusiasts. And that’s a good thing!
Community gardening has obvious health benefits. Not only does it fill your diet with nutritionally rich foods that are superior in taste, quality, and freshness to anything you’ll find in a grocery store, it also provides a relaxing escape from daily stresses, and can boost your overall sense of wellness.
But did you know community gardening has a long list of additional benefits to your family, your community, and even the planet that most of us don’t realize? We did a little digging to find out just how valuable this enriching outdoor activity is. Here’s the dirt . . .
Community gardens are great for:
· bringing neighbors together
· developing community identity and increasing community spirit
· increasing property values
· promoting inter-generational activities (think ‘teachable moments’ for the grandkids)
· providing ‘horticulture therapy’
· improving life skills
· saving on your grocery bill
· donating to those in need
· sharing with friends
· filtering rainwater (keeps our lakes, rivers, and groundwater clean)
· restoring oxygen (helps reduce air pollution)
· recycling (tree trimmings, leaves, grass, and other organic waste goes back into the soil)
And the list goes on.
If you ask a Lenoir local how they first found their green thumb, many will say it started with their love of the food scene in the mountain towns of Western North Carolina. Lenoir foodies enjoy a variety of farm-to-table cuisine made from locally sourced ingredients in this area’s quaint rustic restaurants. These folks swear by the freshness and quality of NC’s local produce. Wouldn’t it be nice to eat this way all the time? That’s the million-dollar-question that led do-it-yourselfers to look for a way to enjoy the benefits of home-grown fresh produce on a daily basis. The solution? A community garden. It’s the best way to get your green fix. And, just like most things in life, it’s always better when you do it with neighbors and friends.
Isabel’s Garden in Lenoir is the perfect example of a community garden that does it right. Located inside The Coves Mountain River Club – a gorgeous gated community with prime North Carolina mountain homes for sale – Isabel’s Garden is perfectly situated in a sunny spot along the Johns River. This fenced English-style garden is lush and bountiful with two dozen individual plots and three communal plots for sharing. The garden’s lovely manicured dividers give a sense of flow rather than separation, and the gazebo at the center is not only a lovely visual focal point, it’s a perfect place to take a break between crops and sip a refreshing lemonade.
The fertile mountain-river terrain at The Coves has soil that’s nutrient-rich and a climate that’s pleasantly mild, making for a nice long growing season that starts in March and keeps the harvest coming as late as December. Favorite crops here are tomatoes, peppers, radishes, greens, berries, and watermelon. And there are plenty of herbs (basil, oregano, rosemary, sage, mint) and flowers (daffodils, tulips, lilies, sunflowers, and assorted mountain wildflowers) to balance out the bounty of Isabel’s Garden.
And then there’s the vineyard . . .
Located along the Johns River and just across Waterfall Park is Evelyn’s Vineyard. Residents at The Coves are proud to have had a hand in fostering this young community vineyard to fruition, and they enjoy their days planting, tending, and harvesting the fruits of their labor in this beautiful riverside setting. In Evelyn’s Vineyard, grass lanes are divided by craftsman-style trellises that support plentiful vines of white and red Muscadine grapes, a variety that thrives well in this mild climate and produces fruit that’s perfect for wines, gourmet jams, cobblers, and herbal glazes.
Gardeners of all experience levels work side-by-side in this tranquil community setting in Isabel’s Garden and Evelyn’s Vineyard. These horticulture lovers have the freedom to grow their own garden their own way, or get a hand from The Coves’ friendly garden committee who are always happy to help. Either way, the joy of community gardening always shines through.
In this same area of The Coves, residents enjoy a riverfront outdoor pavilion, barbecue area, fire pit and game courts. This is known as Coves River Park. One of its most striking features is Waterfall Park where four glorious cascading waterfalls provide not only a visually stunning display but hours of refreshing outdoor recreation. Photo opportunities abound as these are some of the most photogenic waterfalls of Western North Carolina:
· Penelope Cascading Falls is a stunning 40-foot layered waterfall with splash areas.
· Grandfather Gorge Falls is a 50-foot triple-tier waterfall that spills over large boulders and plunges into a pool below.
· Mila Cascading Falls is a dramatic stairway-like waterfall that cascades into the Johns River at Mila Park.
· Highland River Falls tumbles down a mountain hollow into the Johns River.
“To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow,” Audrey Hepburn once said. And there’s no place more perfect for gardening than in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. For that matter, there’s also no better place to plan your tomorrows. That’s why so many people look to North Carolina mountain homes for sale when it’s time to start thinking about retirement.
With amenities like Isabel’s Garden and Evelyn’s Vineyard, The Coves Mountain River Club is an idyllic mountain retreat perfect for anyone who wants to enjoy a combination of recreation and relaxation. Its mountain-river terrain is not only great for growing, it makes The Coves some of the most sought-after yet affordable real estate in Lenoir NC.
When you stop by to visit The Coves’ community vineyard and gardens, be sure to check out this community’s other fabulous amenities, including 39 miles of hiking and horse trails, a state-of-the art fitness facility, outdoor swimming pool and hot tub, a well-attended horse stable, and a centrally located community lodge with spectacular views of Lenoir’s majestic mountains and superb waterfalls.
Call us at 828.754.0700 to schedule your visit to our one-of-a kind mountain community.
If you’re exploring the area for the first time, ask for our 84-page complimentary Western North Carolina Visitor’s Guide, which gives you more information about living in the foothills.