Back by popular demand, Chef Corey Hooks, Culinary Instructor at Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute (CCC&TI) returned to our Pisgah Mountain Lodge to demonstrate tasty ways to serve up authentic Shrimp Gumbo. The smells of garlic, paprika and sausage floating through the lodge were as savory as his dish. Upcoming cooking classes include popular food truck specialties, everything chocolate and international flavors.
Cooking demonstrations by award winning local chefs are some of the many culinary events that take place year round at The Coves Mountain River Club. Our residents have an appetite for good food and are quite competitive in the kitchen.
Five times a year, we come together to compete for the first place title of The Coves Cook-off challenge and to listen to serenades by local musicians like Sarah Tucker. The four cooking competitions at the lodge:
- March – Best International Dish
- June – North Carolina BBQ Rib Challenge
- August – Best Side Dish
- October – Best Chowder
- December – Chili & Apple Pie Cook-off
If you’re comparing the best retirement places in North Carolina, we’re confident you’ll be pleased with our social clubs and lifelong learning opportunities. In addition to cooking events, The Coves is the host of a seasonal Artist in Residence and monthly Guest Lecture series.
Charlie Frye is The Coves first Artist in Residence and is commissioned to create and paint two quilt blocks on our Round Mountain Ranch barn that will be unveiled in May. These meaningful masterpieces will be included on the Quilt Block Trail of North Carolina, a collection of more than 200 painted quilt blocks throughout the state of North Carolina.
Paint splattered jeans, rolled at the cuff. Doc Martin boots. Layers of bright colored shirts. Coffee mug and paint brush in hand, famous local artist Charlie Frye is the talk of Lenoir. During the summer season, Frye visits the lodge for a relaxed lecture about art, what inspires him and to showcase a private art exhibit. The Artist in Residence changes seasonally.
Our Guest Lecture series at the lodge includes educational presentations by local hiking guides, avid gardeners, wellness trainers, musicians and our equestrian director, Mona Houston. Whether folks want to learn about trout fishing, fauna and flowers or how to whisper to a horse, there’s always something to learn from our guest speakers.
Did we mention our residents enjoy friendly competition? During the first week of the month, our residents meet at the lodge for Coves Game Night. Whether it’s a game of cards, Chess or Scrabble, our residents know how to have a good time. If you’ve wanted a sense of belonging, you will find it and more at The Coves Mountain River Club.
We know we offer one of the best retirement places in North Carolina.
If you’re exploring the area for the first time, ask for our 84 page complimentary Western North Carolina Visitor’s Guide which will provide more information about living in the foothills.
More about our guest speakers:
GUEST CULINARY CHEF – Executive Chef Corey Hooks
Born May 5, 1984 in Hickory, N.C.; Chef Hooks was raised in Lenoir where his passion for great food began. The youngest of a busy family, his father working two jobs and his mother running a small business, the family still made time to come together for a great home cooked meal. This relationship between food and family sparked his love for the culinary arts, and his passion of bringing people together with great food.
After graduating from West Caldwell High in 2002, he, his father, and brother had the opportunity of opening a small restaurant, Porky’s Bar-B-Q, in Taylorsville, N.C. Helping operate this restaurant for five years, he sought to further his knowledge of the industry by enrolling in Johnson and Wales University Charlotte in 2008. Landing a job at Youseff 242 restaurant in Hickory, while attending JWU helped strengthen and refine his skill set.
He apprenticed as Sous Chef under distinguished 5 Diamond Chef Cory Mattson at Youssef 242. Chef Mattson led the Fearrington House Inn, outside of Chapel Hill, N.C., for 10 years receiving the AAA 5 Diamond Award each year. Chef Hook’s drive led him to become Matton’s Sous Chef at Youssef 242 until May 2012.
In May 2012, Chef Hooks was hired as Executive Chef of Bistro 127 in Hickory N.C. to help bring creativity, refinement, passion, and his overall skillset to the kitchen. In September 2012, Bistro 127 was awarded Catawba Valley’s Best Chef.
ARTIST IN RESIDENCE – Charlie Frye
Paint splattered jeans, rolled at the cuff. Doc Martin boots. Layers of bright colored shirts. Coffee mug and paint brush in hand. Conversations with passersby. Art lessons being taught to children ages 5 to 85.
This is what you’ll find on any given day at Frye Art Studio in downtown Lenoir, NC. The owner of the studio and artist at work ~ Charlie Frye ~ known by many as just “Frye”.
It wasn’t until the age of 25 that he first picked up a paintbrush. But don’t let the lack of years fool you. This self-taught, 35 year old artist is a native of western North Carolina and a full time creator of all things art. Aside from his painting, he carves block prints and creates unique sculptures. Recycling is a way of life for him, so he uses repurposed objects in his creations. His canvases include unusual items, such as old maps, projector screens and burlap sacks.
What he is most known for though, are his acrylic Americana paintings. These compositions depict life in rural Appalachia, including many of farmers and musicians with the Blue Ridge Mountains as the backdrop.
Charlie has participated in several group art shows throughout Western North Carolina and the Southeast. Frye is currently represented by Wickwire Gallery in Hendersonville, Taupe Gallery in North Wilkesboro, and 87 Ruffin Street Gallery in Linville.
EQUESTRIAN DIRECTOR – Mona Houston
A gentle spirited woman, we nickname her the ‘horse whisper’ because of the incredible way she communicates with horses. On staff for more than 9 years, Houston has managed Round Mountain Ranch and is an avid rider. Her outreach efforts include an annual Kids Camp for 4-H Saddle Clubs.