Hickory NC Makes Top 10 Most Affordable Retirement Towns List

Hickory, North Carolina has a knack for repeatedly making the affordable retirement towns in the country’s A-list.  Most recently, Realtor.com released it’s report after rating the 500 largest metro areas; they considered where sixty-year olds and up were moving over a four-year span from 2011-2015.  Hickory came in at number six for affordable retirement locations

As if all that amazing press isn’t enough, Reader’s Digest named Hickory the 10th best place to live and raise a family in the country.

So what does retirement look like in Hickory, one of the charming mountain towns in North Carolina?  According to topretirements.com “The median price of a home in Hickory was about $135,803 in early 2018, according to Zillow.  The Hickory area and all of western North Carolina has many active adult and 55+ communities.”  And that’s amazing… considering there’s plenty of things to do in Hickory to keep these active folks busy and content.

There is a vibrant community in this growing town of just over 40,000.  Located in Catawba County, in the foothills of the Blue Ridge, it’s only an hour from Charlotte.  Hickory has an array of restaurants–from traditional southern fare to savory international–as well as cafes, pubs, and live music and entertainment, like TheatreWorks.  There’s also an art museum, an aviation museum, a university, eclectic shops, and its own choral society and symphony.  For all your health needs, there are two medical centers—Catawba Valley and Frye Regional.  What more could you ask for?

Just like the other quaint mountain towns in North Carolina, Hickory’s setting is picture-perfect for those folks who can’t get enough of the majestic Blue Ridge Mountains.  Of course, this gorgeous landscape also provides an exhilarating array of things to do in Hickory, from hiking, to skiing, to bird watching, and all the paddling, fishing and water recreation you desire.  Lake Hickory is expansive–nearly 4,223 acres!   There are rivers in the region too, so if fresh water is your passion—this is your town.  If you’re looking for affordable retirement  locations with golfing galore, Hickory has 24 golf courses within 20 miles from town.

No matter where we live, it’s unlikely not to be aware of the renowned furniture that is crafted in the Carolinas.  The Hickory Manufacturing Company is one of the oldest and most successful.  But Hickory has kept up with the changing times as well as continuing to embrace its history—high tech industries have flourished in this region, like Apple’s billion dollar data center.

Folks with cozy mountain homes at The Coves understand the value of affordable retirement locations.  The Coves Mountain River Club is where so many have found all their needs are fulfilled and more. There are endless possibilities of things to do in Hickory, and the residents of The Coves are able to benefit from this vibrant environment and the warm community that lives there. No wonder Hickory is one of the favorite mountain towns in North Carolina. Come and visit The Coves and discover how your retirement plans can fall into place with ease in our friendly mountain community. 

Call 828.754.0700 to schedule a tour!

Tags: Hickory

Wild Fungi Forage Classes Near The Coves

community gardens

You may be surprised to learn that North Carolina is home to more than three thousand varieties of mushroom.  About two hundred of those are edible, and you can find a major concentration of those growing wild in the Asheville and Blue Ridge foothills area.  Taking forays into the woods to gather them is a popular pastime for the residents of mountain towns in North Carolina

In addition, the cultivation of gourmet and medicinal mushrooms began decades ago in the region.  As interest in locally-grown products increased, many landowners, farmers and gardeners took advantage of our abundance of forested land to gain expertise in the growing of some of the more popular mushroom varieties.  Now, you can easily find them at Lenoir Downtown Farmers Market and venues in Conover, Collettsville, Boone, Spruce Pine, Vilas, Banner Elk and other nearby towns.

Any list of things to do in Lenoir NC for the mushroom aficionado would have to include wild fungi foraging through the woods of the Patterson School campus with local expert Ken Crouse.  Bring your basket and take home a collection of rare delicacies.  Afterward, there’s a cooking demonstration and tasting.  The Patterson School Foundation’s mission is to provide educational opportunities with a strong commitment to environmental stewardship, sustainable agriculture, historical preservation and the community.

Growing gourmet mushrooms such as shiitake and oyster on freshly-cut logs is not a difficult process, but it’s necessary to pay attention to certain details in order to be successful.  Whether you’re doing it entirely on your own or working with one of the area’s community gardens such as the one we enjoy so much at The Coves Mountain River Club, you can always get assistance from the NC Cooperative Extension at the Caldwell County Center in Lenoir and the Wautauga County Center in Boone.  It’s just another one of the many opportunities for lifelong learning you’ll discover here in the foothills. 

Many people who live in mountain towns in North Carolina and have a common interest in learning about, collecting, growing and eating the local fungi join the Asheville Mushroom Club.  They meet on the last Thursday of the month, from March through November.  The group ranges from beginners to professional mycologists and includes photographers, artists and nature enthusiasts.  There are guest speakers and special events to enjoy, and the more experienced members are happy to share their knowledge with anyone who wants to learn.  One – Charlotte Caplan – is the author of Cooking with the Asheville Mushroom Club,

We find no shortage of things to do in Lenoir NC. People move here for the clean mountain air, the year round mild weather, the outdoor activities, the natural beauty, the local history and culture…the list goes on and on.  It’s safe to say that most aren’t aware at first that this is the wild mushroom capital of the world.  But it’s not long before they meet someone who’s found great satisfaction in working with others in community gardens or carefully tending a private patch of edible or medicinal mushrooms.  It’s easy to get caught up in the enthusiasm, and so you take yet another step in your journey of lifelong learning.

At The Coves Mountain River Club, our Isabel’s Garden is nestled in a sunny spot adjacent to the Johns River, with dividers that create an English-style ambience.  Residents have the option of maintaining their own garden plots or asking for help from our garden committee.  Tomatoes, peppers, radishes, greens and watermelon do well in the nutrient-rich soil, along with herbs such as rosemary, basil, oregano, sage and mint.  You’ll also see daffodils, tulips, lilies, sunflowers and assorted mountain wildflowers. 

Please plan to stop by and take a tour of The Coves Mountain River Club when you’re in the area.  We’d love to show you around.

There’s so much to see and do here that it’s easy to understand why it’s an ideal place to retire and enjoy your life to the fullest.

Call 828.754.0700 now!

Tags: Guest Lecture Series | Lenoir

Smoking in the Foothills BBQ Festival and Competition

barbecue competition

BBQ is one seriously delectable pastime from coast to coast in the United States. Over the years the culinary tradition has migrated to places where folks were not reared on the saucy, finger-licking fare.  But for those of us who have roots in the mountain towns of North Carolina, we have adored this savory dish so far back we cannot remember. 

No wonder Steven Raichlen wrote “The Barbecue Bible” ( a best-seller), and gave a lecture at the Library of Congress, “Barbecue:  A History of the World’s Oldest Culinary Art.”  These days folks who live in NC mountain communities don’t just have dog-eared copies of our grandmother’s cherished BBQ sauce, we have recipes that have come from food programs and competitions, like the popular Smoking in the Foothills BBQ Festival & Competition in Lenoir, NC on October 19th and 20th, 2018.

This yearly event “combines the fun of a family-friendly festival with the excitement of a sanctioned barbecue competition!” for those of you who want to turn up the heat.  There’s so much more than sharing amazing and mouth-watering BBQ with your friends, family and neighbors…live music, poker run, corn hole, a wood-crafter’s showcase, kids’ activities, raffles, competitions and more will keep you more than happy during these gorgeous fall days.

The Festival Schedule at a Glance:

Friday, October 19, 2018; 5 pm-10 pm

• Festival opening with Mayor Gibbons; Smokey Barrel Beer & Beverage Garden; Cash Cow 50/50 Raffle; Kids’ Que Competition; Playful Piglet Kids’ Area opening; live music; Cook Team BBQ People’s Choice–Wings

Saturday, October 20, 2018; 10 am-10 pm

  10 am—Poker Run Registration

• 10:30 am—Poker Run

• 11 am—Smokey Barrel Beer & Beverage Garden Opens

• 11:30 am—Cook Team BBQ People’s Choice—Pork!

• 12-1:30 pm—Turn-ins for BBQ Competition

• 3 pm—Registration for Fling the Wing Corn Hole Tournament

• 4 pm—Fling the Wing Corn Hole Tournament

• 5 pm—KCBS Competition Awards Ceremony on the Downtown Stage

• 7 pm—Live Music; FracXured

• 8 pm—Cash Cow Winner Announced

• 10 pm—Festival Closing

Festival Music Line-Up

• Friday, October 19, 5-7 pm; Andrew Massey & the Midnight Americans

• Friday, October 19, 7-10 pm; Jim Quick & Coastline

• Saturday, October 20, 10-11 am; Terry Edwards

• Saturday, October 20, 11 am-1 pm; The Classics

• Saturday, October 20, 1-3 pm; Rooted

• Saturday, October 20, 3-5 pm; Chad Triplett & Two Lane Blacktop

• Saturday, October 20, 7-9 pm; FracXured

Fourth Annual Foothills Corn hole Tournament

• Saturday, October 20, 4 pm at the parking across from 1841 Café; $25 fee per team with cash pay outs.   50% of proceeds benefit local charity, and the remainder goes to first through fourth place winners.

Workshops; learn how to smoke, grill and carve meats like a pro, learn about new technology, or tour local furniture factories—it’s all there for residents and visitors in the mountain towns of North Carolina.

• Friday, October 19

   Where There Is Smoke, There’s Flavor!  A Smoking How-to Workshop

   Slice It Right—The butcher does it better!  A How-to Workshop on carving meats

   Seared and Sizzled—Our Lenoir Fire Fighters share their grilling secrets & fire safety tips

• Saturday, October 20; Workshop on new tech driving the furniture industry

   Furniture Factory Tours and Hayride

And of course it wouldn’t be the tradition festival for the NC mountain communities without the Professional BBQ Competition—a State Championship event sanctioned by Kansas City Barbecue Society.  Four categories include scrumptious—chicken, pork ribs, pork and beef brisket.  Come and win the $15,000 prize and be surrounded by KCBS judges and professional cook teams from across the country.

Professional BBQ Competition Schedule:

Friday, October 19

8 am–Cook Team Check In

10 am-4 pm—Meat Inspection

1 pm—Cook Team Lunch @ the Distillery

4 pm—Cook Team Meeting @ the Distillery

7 pm—Private Cook Team Social @ the Distillery

Saturday, October 20

7:30 am—Private Cook Team Breakfast

12 pm—Turn Ins for BBQ Competition

12:30 pm—Pork Rib Category

1 pm—Pork Category

1:30 pm—Brisket Category

5 pm—Awards Ceremony; Corn hole Winners Announced; 10-First Place Announced; Reserve Grand Champion Announced; Grand Champion Announced.

Contact Information:  Smoking In The Foothills–c/o Mike Kilby, 309 Sheldon Street, Hudson, NC; 28638; 828-310-2953, Festival Contact 828-757-4451, BBQ Competition Contact 828-310-2953

Venders are most welcome; download the application and mail in with fees as well as obtain your required permit.  Cooking spaces, ice and utilities will be provided.

For those of you lucky travelers coming to visit the mountain towns of North Carolina, the Comfort Inn in Lenoir is the host hotel for the festival and will provide you and your friends and family with a “foothills” discount.  Volunteers are also welcome!  The people who come together in the NC mountain communities are who make these festivals and events not only possible but also incredibly special.

Folks who have made The Coves Mountain River Club their home, nestled in the sweet and breath-taking Blue Ridge Mountains, live the idyllic life day after incredible day.  There’s no amount of time that will take away your gratitude when you awaken in your dream house and peer out upon the natural beauty that surrounds you—an inspiring vista no matter where you turn! 

And when the residents at The Coves venture out to the downtown of Lenoir, there’s plenty of community and goings on to fulfill their every desire.  Those who have settled blissfully into their custom home at The Coves get to enjoy the Foothills Barbecue Festival each and every year—a tradition that adds comfort and fun to all.  North Carolina has been a BBQ haven forever, with flavor and savory sauces that melt in your mouth.  Come and visit The Coves this fall, take part in the festival or simply dive into some of the most spectacular BBQ in the country.  You will find in just one tasty weekend why this is the place you should next call home.

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: Festivals | Lenoir