Sugarfest – NC Ski Resort Kicks Off the Winter Season

NC Ski Resorts

One of the many nice things about living in the foothills is that you don’t need to be at Blowing Rock elevation year-round to enjoy the excitement our nearby ski slopes have to offer.  The mountain homes for sale in NC at The Coves Mountain River Club offer us easy access to natural wonders such as Sugar Mountain and the annual weekend of winter fun called “Sugarfest”.

Sugar Mountain rises at the eastern side of Avery County, in the middle of High Country.  Surrounded by the Appalachians, it has picturesque streams, plenty of native foliage, and spectacular views.  No matter the time of year, it’s a peaceful, serene getaway for locals and visitors alike.  Families love mountain biking on the trails, taking scenic rides on the chair lifts, playing golfing and tennis and enjoying the local spas, shopping opportunities, performing arts venues and wonderful restaurants.

In the winter, Sugar Mountain is our destination for incredible downhill and cross-country skiing, snowboarding, tubing and ice skating.  There are 125 acres of skiable terrain on 21 slopes, with 15 of those lit for night skiing and snowboarding.  Sugar Mountain has great accommodations, with a range of amenities and views.  After a day of skiing or snowboarding, taking in that wonderfully brisk, fresh air, you can rest and rejuvenate in front of a crackling fire, sipping hot chocolate and re-living the day’s adventures.  Sugar Mountain is one of the more popular NC ski resorts, and we highly recommend “SugarFest” as a symbolic way to start the winter season.

This year’s dates are December 7, 8 and 9.  And you can save up to 30 per cent on lodging if you book now through participating agencies, so don’t hesitate.  Activities planned for Friday night include a session with 1992 Olympic figure skating medalist Paul Wylie.  He’ll perform a show on ice, followed by an ice-skating clinic, a meet-and-greet session and your chance to hold a real Olympic silver medal.

Also, two-time Olympic Super G medalist Andrew Weibrecht will head up a three-day preseason ski clinic for adults.

Saturday, enjoy food, drinks and dancing to live music by Glen Harlow and North Fork band. You won’t want to miss the fireworks, presented by the Village of Sugar Mountain, starting at 5:45 P. M.  And “Sugarfest” is your chance to try out the latest ski and snowboard equipment from top names like Salomon, Volkl, Nordica, Burton, Head, Never Summer, K2, Atomic, Rossignol, Ride and Line. For a detailed schedule of activities, visit Sugar Mountain’s website.

Sugar Mountain is less than an hour’s drive up State Road 1557 from The Coves Mountain River Club.  When you reach Blowing Rock elevation, you’re about halfway.  Residents say their grandkids really look forward to going there when they visit.  And there’s something about watching the youngsters have so much fun snow skiing, tubing and ice skating that brings out the kid in the older folks, too.

Our mountain homes for sale in NC are ideally located for you to take advantage of a wealth of outdoor activities.  NC ski resorts are some of the finest in the country, and the mild weather we enjoy in the warmer months is perfect for fishing, boating, swimming, hiking, biking, golf and anything else you want to do.  The Coves Mountain River Club is right on the Johns River at Wilson’s Creek, close to the city of Lenoir.  When you tour the property, it’s easy to imagine yourself living here.  And we can make that happen.  The members of our design team are experts at bringing dreams to life.

We’d love to show you around when you’re in the area.  Come and see all we have to offer, and then just kick back in a chair on our Pisgah Mountain Lodge deck, enjoy a glass of wine and watch the sun set over the mountains. 

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: Blowing Rock

Heat Saving Design Ideas in Western North Carolina

North Carolina mountain homes

As the brilliant colors of fall light up the mountains and the clear crisp air settles in, it’s time to plan for our winter season in our North Carolina mountain homes.  Whether you’re new to the region, just now building a mountain home, or if you’re already settled into your dream house in one of the perfect gated communities near Asheville NC,  there are many effective ways to save as you heat your cozy place before a light blanket of snow falls outside your door.

Even though the snow may melt not long after it’s fallen, the winter season is still the time to ensure our North Carolina mountain homes are kept warm without unnecessary cost.  Here are some easy and effective ways to conserve energy and protect your savings if your home is already completed, or you’ve begun the amazing journey of building a mountain home:

  close shades and curtains at night but let the sunlight in during the day, especially the windows that get direct southern light

  purchase energy efficient window treatments

• tightly install plastic sheeting inside window frames

• program your thermostat comfortably low during the day, and at night turn it down 10 degrees to save at least 10% on your fuel bill.  Remember for every degree your thermostat is lowered, you will save a percent off your bill

  change air filters once a month to allow better flow and require less effort from the furnace for cleaner air and better efficiency– as well as protecting your furnace

• keep hot water heater set at 120 degrees

• seal the leaks in your home with caulk and weather stripping—around doors, unfinished spaces, windows, pipes, chimneys, wires and vents to save up to 20%

• add insulation from the ground floor up–to keep warm air in and cold air outside where it belongs

• make sure all heating ducts are properly sealed and insulated to save 10% on your heating bills

• choose LED holiday lights to illuminate your home in the gated communities near Asheville NC

  use space heaters in bedrooms after you’ve turned down the thermostat for just the right amount of warmth when you’re sleeping

• use humidifiers; the moisture in the air will retain the warmth and keep your skin from getting dry

• maintain or program a moderate setting on your heat pump

• install an air vent booster or fan for problematic rooms that run too hot or cold

• explore air sealing—both when building or in your existing home

• schedule yearly service of your heating system

• regularly clean wood and pellet burning heaters

• keep damper closed on fireplace when not in use; lower thermostat to 50-55 degrees when you light a fire, and consider glass doors and a system to circulate the hot air around the room

For those who live in gated communities near Asheville NC, or who are building a mountain home, these simple practices will help you save while being environmentally-minded.  Lucky folks in the process of building North Carolina mountain homes at The Coves have all the guidance and support they need to construct a house that is not only aesthetically pleasing, but is also cost efficient and helps them save on heating bills.  And that leaves plenty of cash for fun around The Coves–no matter the season! 

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: Home Building | Lenoir

Fabulous Landscape Lighting and Outdoor Audio Systems

North Carolina mountain homes

Building a mountain home in one of the gated communities near Asheville NC affords you the opportunity to enhance both the structure and its surroundings with carefully chosen lighting features that blend with the scenic beauty.

The idea behind landscape lighting is to create a treat for the eyes. It’s smart to highlight your home and property in a way that presents an attractive and interesting picture to people driving by.

There’s a huge gap between what the average person tries to do and a well thought out, professional approach to lighting installed outdoors.  And it all boils down to a few simple principles.

Lets start with path lighting. That’s something we rarely do well.  The availability of inexpensive solar-powered lights prompts many people to illuminate the approaches to their front doors for the sake of additional safety and enhanced appearance.  Unfortunately, almost everyone installs more lights than are aesthetically pleasing and ends up replicating the look of an airport landing strip.

This is definitely a case in which “less is more”.  What you want to do – especially with our North Carolina mountain homes that are nestled in such interesting natural settings – is provide just enough artificial illumination to guide your eye.  Keep the lights relatively far apart, and even use different styles for variety.  Some can be right on the path, while others may simply cast light onto it.  Remember that there will be moonlight to help, as well.  Check occasionally for burned-out bulbs and new plant growth that may be in the way.  And consider that uplighting trees and downlighting your house may be sufficient to illuminate the walkway as well.  As a rule of thumb, don’t overdo the use of path lights.

Another concept you might want to embrace is “moonlighting”.  Install lights 30 or 40 feet high in the trees on your property.  That provides the dual benefits of keeping the fixtures hidden from view and augmenting the “woodsy” feel we want to maintain when building a mountain home.  And using a blue filter will intensify the green of the foliage.  Moonlighting eliminates the “on stage” effect of ground-level illumination and produces a much more intimate ambiance for you and your guests.

Hardscape features such as outdoor kitchens and fireplaces, hot tubs, walls, etc., are perfect for the application of LED tape, which is encased in silicone to prevent moisture intrusion.  It’s a subtle, indirect lighting product with uses that are limited only by your imagination. 

If you have a water feature on your land, take into account the entire view when deciding how to highlight it.  Keep in mind that water found in nature is never illuminated from within.  Here, soft downlighting is your best option.

Balance is paramount when you’re lighting the exterior of your home. Illuminating trees behind the house helps to avoid the “shoebox effect” you get by putting all of your efforts into the structure itself.  Uplighting trees and statuary can add depth and softness.  Here again, moderation and the overall look you want to create should guide your decisions.  And don’t forget that shadow can be as interesting as light.

Some of the gated communities near Asheville NC are blessed with year-round mild weather, and that means folks at places like The Coves can spend a lot of time outside.  And state-of-the-art technology allows us not only to take our music out of the house but to do so in a way that offers breathtaking, audiophile-level performance that can fill nearly any space. 

We’ve come a long way from the days of simply hanging up a few speakers.  North Carolina mountain homes can now have 10” and 12” below-ground subwoofers that, when coupled with an array of smaller satellite units, deliver a jaw-dropping, smooth blanket of sound directed exactly where you want it.

When looking at outdoor audio, take into account what kinds of music you enjoy.  Will you be playing it at near top volume, or is a background effect more your style?  You’ll want to get some professional advice before deciding what to install.

Your home at The Coves Mountain River Club will be a virtual palette for design ideas.  Like most of us, you may have developed mental lists of what you didn’t like about where you lived before and what you would do if you had the chance to start from scratch.  Here, your property’s beautiful features will spur your imagination.  You’ll see what others have done and start to think in terms of “what if”.

From creating your dream home to deciding how to spend today, tomorrow and the next day, life here in the foothills is rich with possibilities.

Just stop by The Coves Mountain River Club when you’re in the area and let us show you examples of fantastic outdoor light and designs.

Call 828.754.0700 to schedule a tour!

Tags: Home Building | Lenoir

Caldwell Art Council – A Community Gem in the Foothills NC

art classes Western North Carolina

There’s something about the onset of autumn that inspires folks to come together on a late afternoon or early evening as the air turns cooler and the sun sets a little earlier.  What better reason than the wide array of artistic events that are never-ending in Lenoir, North Carolina?  Community and the arts go hand and hand in this region, bringing us all together while fulfilling our cultural needs.  This is the perfect time of year to plan an excursion to Lenoir, and maybe check out some of those desirable Carolina mountain properties you’ve been dreaming about.

The Caldwell Arts Council, a non-profit organization, located at 601 College Ave SW, Lenoir, North Carolina, has been essential to the mountain towns in North Carolina since 1976.  For those of us who adore finding cultural things to do in Lenoir NC, this historic Fidelity building in Lenoir’s quaint downtown is the place to visit; whether you admire contemporary or traditional paintings, or amazing and unique pottery–the four gorgeous gallery spaces will suit your artistic fancy.  The Caldwell Arts Council is one of the many strong cultural draws for folks exploring Carolina mountain properties who crave an idyllic natural setting enhanced by a little sophisticated art.  In the CAC’s own words, “we are active players in the life and vitality of this county.”

Those who live in the mountain towns of North Carolina already know there’s so much more than art happening at CAC—an Artist-in Schools Program presents a wide array of theater, dance, and music to the lucky kids in the county. The performances enhance learning in all the basic subjects as well as foster  “making healthy choices.”

And the annual Sculpture Celebration has an ever-growing following with visitors who come from both near and far.  The mission of the CAC is “to establish and maintain an awareness and appreciation of cultural arts, to encourage participation in arts events, and to offer various educational opportunities and administrative services in support of artists, arts agencies, and audiences.”

For those hankering for things to do in Lenoir NC…here’s the fall schedule:


October 24—Hudson–CCC&TI’s Associate of Fine Arts Music’s the App State Trumpet Choir, 1pm; room B-100; free and open to the public

October 25–Morganton Comma Auditorium; Keith Allynn: A Neil Diamond Tribute 

October 27—Lenoir–JE Broyhill Civic Center–Catapult

October 27—Hickory–Western Piedmont Symphony’s Chamber Series with the Tesla Quartet: Famous Last Words, Chamber Classics II, 7:30pm

October 28—Boone–Joe Shannon’s Mountain Home Music; Mountain Treasures – Bobby McMillon and Glenn Bolick at 2pm at Harvest House Performing Arts Venue


November 1—Lenoir–CCC&TI Culinary Arts program presents Spain, 6pm

November 1—Lenoir–JE Broyhill Civic Center presents Chanticleer

November 1–Morganton Comma Auditorium; Bits and Pieces Puppet Theatre: Three Billy Goats Gruff

November 2 – Hiddenite–31st Annual Quilt Workshop; Hiddenite Arts & Heritage Center

November 3—Hickory Western Piedmont Symphony Masterworks II

November 3–Hiddenite Arts & Heritage Center; Barn Quilt Workshop with Carol Mitchell

November 8—HUDSON–CCC&TI’s Associate of Fine Arts Music’s Warren Wilson Gamelan Ensemble performing Java and Bali in Indonesia, 1pm in room B-100; free and open to the public

November 16-December 2 – Newton–Scrooge!; the Green Room Community Theatre

November 17–Morganton Comma Auditorium; Yesterday: A Tribute to the Beatles

November 23-24–West Jefferson–Florence Thomas Art School’s Christmas Market, 1-8pm

November 24—Boone–Joe Shannon’s Mountain Home Music; A Celtic Christmas with Jamie Laval, Scottish Fiddle Champion at 7:30pm – Harvest House Performing Arts Venue

November 29–Morganton Comma Auditorium; Lightwire: A Very Electric Christmas

November 29-December 2—Lenoir–JE Broyhill Civic Center and Foothills Performing Arts’ The Adventures of Santa Claus

Ongoing events:

Through October 30—Valdese–New Windows Gallery; Robyn Smiley photographs

Through October 31–the Lucas Mansion Gallery in Hiddenite “Celebrating Life, Work, and Play” watercolors by Zan Thompson and paintings by Terra Gedeon

Through November 25–Hickory Museum of Art; BlowUP Inflatable Contemporary Art in the Shuford & Coe Galleries

Through November 30–Arts In the Morganton City Hall Lobby; Carol Turner “To See Clearly”–figurative, still life, landscape and abstract–305 East Union Street=

Here’s a little run down on the other happenings at the CAC:

Youth Programs

• Artists-in-Schools– curriculum-related touring theatrical productions

• Caldwell Junior Appalachian Musicians (JAM) Program

• Middle School Poetry Recitation Competition–an annual competition for Middle School students in Caldwell County–announced in January and held in April

• High School Shakespeare Monologue Competition–for students in Caldwell, Avery, Alexander, Ashe, Burke, Watauga, and Wilkes counties; announced in January and held in April each year.

• Young Art Student Art exhibits and competitions

• Summer Camps:  Sculpting Our Future, JAM Camp, Summer JAM, Art-in-Motion Dance


• Caldwell Arts Council Gallery exhibits Sculpture

• Public Sculpture Collection (over 80 pieces on display)

• Sculpture Celebration (70-plus sculptors with over 200 sculptures in competition for cash awards)

• Tucker’s Gallery—sculptural art for sale


• Happy Valley Fiddlers Convention—competitions and concerts

• Caldwell Visual Artist Competition (annually in June and July)

• Exposures Photography Competition (January)

Artist Grants and Scholarships, Opportunities

• Grassroots Grants

• Regional Artist Project Grants

• Stevens Family Scholarship

• Artists in Schools Grants Programs

• Art Around Caldwell Studio Tour

Other Programs and Services

• Satie’s Gift Shop

• Artistically Speaking Calendar of Area Art events

• Poetry Caldwell–October 18—free and open to all with esteemed poet Jonathan Kevin Rice

Fundraising Events

• Comedy Club

• Hues and Brews

Parties Series–Come party year round!   All parties benefit the Caldwell Arts Council.

• Annual Fund Drive

The Coves Mountain River Club is the chosen home for many who explored Carolina mountain properties and discovered why our community has everything a family could desire–whether they choose to build a custom cottage home, selected a gorgeous resale or a new home package—we still have dream-like options for each unique owner’s needs. 

There is a simplicity that defines life at The Coves and creates a laid back style along the meandering Johns River originating from Grandfather Mountain. The pace is relaxed, and the folks who live within our peaceful gated community are genuine and welcoming to newcomers.   

With a vibrant downtown in Lenoir, and the CAC’s performances, music and art, there’s a variety of things to do in Lenoir NC within 20 minutes of The Coves. So come and visit the mountain towns of North Carolina and see for yourself why The Coves should be the next place you call home.

Call 828.754.0700 now to schedule a tour!

Tags: Lenoir | Performing Arts

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, 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 “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