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Get Ready for the Smoking in the Foothills BBQ Competition on Oct 19-20

NC BBQ competition

October brings many fabulous things to do in Lenoir NC as well as the other  towns of the Blue Ridge Mountains, from dreamy crisp fall days to our traditional and much-loved festivals.  This October 18-19 brings Lenoir’s Smoking in the Foothills Barbecue Competition and Festival. Attendance to this BBQ Festival continues to grow year by year.  No surprise since this festival is filled with amazing Southern BBQ, and a competition with many of the best BBQ chefs around.  BBQ festivals across the country are centered around the mouth-watering traditions of the Carolinas, Texas, Kansas and Missouri.  Spice rubs, thick sauces and even dips loaded with seasonings all play a role in the outrageously authentic and finger-kicking good BBQ.

If you’re searching for quintessential things to do in Lenoir NC, just remember that it doesn’t get more professional and downright delicious than this family-friendly event in downtown Lenoir.  Whether you love live music, raffles, the wood crafter’s showcase, or some of the purely fun activities and tournaments for children and adults, there is most definitely something for everyone.  This festival is a North Carolina State Championship Event, and is sanctioned by the Kansas City Barbecue Society.  That means fierce barbecuers cook up their ribs like nobody’s business!  With four categories of competition—chicken, pork ribs, and pork and beef brisket—you can pick your favorite meat and recipe to compete for the $20,000 prize.  Rest assured, KCBS judges and professional cook teams attend this esteemed event each and every year!

Stay tuned!  Professional BBQ Competition Schedule to be announced for Thursday, Friday and Saturday.  If you don’t feel quite ready to BBQ with the best of the best, then come and study the art of the smoky pit.  Ask questions about what sort of wood gives that perfect flavor, or how the ribs are cut, and don’t forget about the fun part–sample different recipes to see what tastes best to you!

General Schedule:

Friday, October 18

5pm—Festival event opens; opening remarks by Mayor Gibbons & board members. Smokey Barrel Beer & Beverage Garden opens.  Cash Cow 50/50 raffle ticket sales begin.
5:30pm—Live music on Downtown Stage; Andrew Massey & the Midnight Americans.
6pm—Cook Team BBQ People’s Choice—WINGS!  This event continues while supplies last!
8pm—Live music continues on the Downtown Stage—The National Reserve.
9:30pm—Smokey Barrel Beer & Beverage Garden closes.
10pm—Festival closes…see you tomorrow!

Saturday, October 19

10am—Festival opens to the public; opening remarks by Mayor Gibbons; poker run registration.
10:15—live music begins on Downtown Stage—the Harris Brothers.
10:30am—Poker Run begins.
11am—Smokey Barrel Beer & Beverage Garden opens.
11:30am—Cook Team BBQ People’s Choice—Pork! This event continues while supplies last!
12-1:30pm—Turn-ins for BBQ Competition.
12:30pm—Live Music continues on Downtown Stage—The Bryan Anderson Project.
2:45pm– Live Music continues on Downtown Stage—Chad Triplett & Two Lane Blacktop.
3pm—Fling the Wing Cornhole Tournament registration begins.
4pm—Fling the Wing Cornhole Tournament begins.
5pm—KCBS Competition Awards Ceremony on the Downtown Stage.
7pm—Live Music continues on the Downtown Stage—Jim Quick & Coastline.
8pm—Cash Cow Raffle, Foot in the Door Scavenger Hunt, and Fling the Wing Cornhole Tournament winners announced.
9pm—Event closes—see you next year!

And don’t forget the Cornhole Tournament now in its fourth year and taking place in the parking lot across from the 1841 Café.  The cost is $25 per team with 50% of proceeds going to the festival for local charities and the other half providing the cash prizes:
• 1st Place—50% of cash payout
• 2nd Place—25% of cash payout
• 3rd Place—15% of cash payout
• 4th Place—10% of cash payout

Workshops at the festival are another popular draw every year.  The festival works hard at preserving the strong tradition of craftsmanship, and especially the highly-regarded furniture industry of the region.  This year Chris and Janet Aiken will be leading an AikenControls Plant tour at 1028 West Avenue NW in Lenoir for those who want to learn about all the new technology behind today’s fine furniture.

The residents of The Coves Mountain River Club enjoy the good life in their gorgeous homes in the scenic Blue Ridge Mountains.  Panoramic views of the majestic mountains just never gets old.  And what makes The Coves an idyllic spot is the blend of nature and things to do in Lenoir NC.  Proximity to so many charming and culturally-rich towns in the region means not having to travel far when you’re looking for great food, recreation or entertainment.  The folks at The Coves have no trouble finding award-winning BBQ whether they attend the annual festival in Lenoir or gather for their own intimate cook-off.

Visit The Coves this fall and bring your appetite to the BBQ Festival!

Tags: Festivals | Lenoir

Cheers to the 34th Annual Hickory Oktoberfest!

Hickory NC festivals

At The Coves Mountain River Club, we know that this is an especially wonderful time to visit the Blue Ridge Mountains.  As spectacular changing colors of the fall foliage start to appear in the mountains, they paint a beautiful backdrop for the many seasonal festivals that locals and guests alike look forward to attending.  And in Hickory, the premier Fall event is Oktoberfest.

Hickory has deep German roots, having been co-founded by Adolphus “Dolph” Shuford,   It’s home to the United States headquarters for several German companies and enjoys a sister city relationship with Altenburg, Germany.

Oktoberfest is a three-day outdoor festival that happens each year on the second weekend of October.  Covering five city blocks, it offers four stages of exciting live music by regional performers, along with two beer gardens.  The great shops and restaurants in Hickory NC welcome large crowds of enthusiastic customers, and the streets are packed with fun-seekers of all ages.  There’s also a juried arts and crafts show, featuring more than 100 vendors.

Hickory Oktoberfest is perfect for making new friends and memories as you sample locally-brewed beer and authentic German foods.  A special Kidsfest area has face painting, carnival rides, swings, games and more.  And, with a course highlighting the downtown area, the Oktoberfest Footrace offers a one-block fun run and a 5K, with the proceeds going to four area hospices.

Oktoberfest started in 1985, and it’s grown to become one of the premier festivals in Western North Carolina.  Of course, the city is known worldwide for its furniture-making and talented craftspeople.  But there’s so much more to see and enjoy. The Hickory Motor Speedway is a must for any racing fan, with a history of hosting NASCAR-sanctioned races that dates back to 1951.

This year’s dates for the festival are October 11 through October 13.  Food service begins at Noon on Friday, and the official start time is five P. M.  The fun continues till eleven that night.  Saturday’s hours are ten A. M. to eleven P. M., and the celebration winds down on Sunday from Noon till five.

Two lodging providers – Stay Here Instead and Flats on First – can provide accommodations within walking distance of the activities.

Here’s how to get to Hickory Oktoberfest:

I-40 from the east – Take Exit 125 to Lenoir-Rhyne Boulevard.  Go about a mile to 1st Avenue and turn left.  Drive to 3rd Street SW (about 12 blocks), turn right, go under the railroad overpass and look for a place to park.

I-40 from the west –  Take Exit 123 to Highway 321 North.  Stay in the right lane and turn right onto Highway 70.  Turn left at the second traffic light, which is 4th Street SW.  Bear right at the “Y” intersection and you’ll be on 3rd Street Drive SW.  Continue straight until you go under the railroad overpass.  Then you’ll find parking for the festival.

Highway 321 south from Lenoir – After you cross the Catawba River bridge, turn left at the first traffic light onto Old Lenoir Road.  That becomes 3rd Avenue NW.  Follow it to 3rd Street NW and turn right.  Park somewhere just before the railroad overpass.

Highway 321 north from Gastonia – Take Exit 44 to Highway 70.  Turn right at the top of the ramp.  Go to the second traffic light and turn left onto 4th Street SW.  The first road after the railroad tracks is Main Avenue.  Turn right there and continue to the stop sign at 3rd Street NW.  You should be able to find parking nearby.

At The Coves Mountain River Club, we’re fortunate to be just 18 miles from Hickory.  While you’re in the area, come by and say “Hello”.  We’ll be happy to give you a tour and answer any questions you may have about living in this beautiful part of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Call 828.754.0700 now!

Tags: Festivals | Hickory

Don’t Miss the October Morganton Oyster and Shrimp Festival!

North Carolina oyster roast

There’s no denying that the folks who live in the Carolinas appreciate their annual seafood festivals.  Many of these festivals happen in the fall when our seafood is simply at its best and the crowds who happily attend prove just how delicious it is!  Whether you’re craving fresh shrimp, oysters, crab and more, you’ll be able to sample or dive into your favorite fare.  These festivals are distinct in their own way, but you’ll more than likely find foot-tapping music, lively entertainment, a variety of arts and crafts vendors, good-spirited contests, and plenty of skilled vendors who serve up seafood in many scrumptious ways.  Whether you’re hankering for steamed, raw, fried or stewed, you won’t be disappointed!   There’s something fresh and delectable for everyone.

Morganton’s annual Oyster and Shrimp Festival is taking place on the Old Court House Square, 115 E Meeting Street, on October 19.    From 12-7pm, the square will be filled with the aroma of freshly prepared seafood.  This Morganton festival  is a popular and free event run by the Burke Arts Council as a fundraiser.  There’s nothing better than having a blast while supporting the local community.  Continuous live music, performed by the Continental Divide, will be entertaining the crowd throughout the day while folks can choose from a menu of fried and steamed oysters, fried and boiled shrimp, salt potatoes, clam chowder, barbecue, and juicy hamburgers with all the fixings. Local craft beer and wine, soft drinks, coffee and sweet desserts made from scratch are also available.

All food and beverage purchases support a really good cause.  The Burke Arts Council was founded in 1977 with a mission to “enrich the quality of life in Burke County through cultural and artistic activities.”  The council encourages learning and experiences for people of all ages with art classes and workshops, as well as helping to promote individual artists with exhibitions and an artist sales gallery.  They collaborate in crucial ways with local nonprofits, schools, retail establishments as well as service organizations.  The October Oyster and Shrimp Festival is just one of Burke’s yearly events, bringing the community together to share wholesome fun with every penny supporting the arts council.

This is a magical time of year to visit Morganton in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Western North Carolina.  It’s an easy trip from Asheville, Greensboro and Charlotte.  For nearly two decades this Morganton festival has brought locals and visitors together to shuck and share some delicious food.  The gorgeous backdrop contributes to the celebration in this sweet place Southern Living Magazine deemed “a small town we love.”  No wonder this festival has received so much good press from respected magazines and newspapers, and as a result attendance has grown significantly throughout the years.

Besides this delectable Morganton festival that makes you feel as though you’ve entered seafood heaven, there are plenty of other reasons to visit Morganton from amazing dining and farmers markets, to live music and concerts, craft breweries, gallery crawls, unique shopping, and countless ways to celebrate fitness from yoga to outdoor recreation–not to mention plenty of festivals, carnivals, parades.

The folks who are settled into their cozy Blue Ridge Mountain homes at The Coves can hop on over to Morganton and enjoy all the town has to offer.  While the leaves are turning vibrant autumnal shades, there’s nothing like a gorgeous ride in this region along the peaceful roads and parkways.  Take a ride and enjoy the mountain vistas and be sure to visit The Coves Mountain and River Club where community and nature come together.

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 | Morganton

A Happy Life Surrounded by Beautiful WNC Arts & Crafts

WNC mountain crafts

It’s time once again for the Fine Art & Master Crafts Festival, presented by the Avery County Chamber of Commerce at beautiful Banner Elk for the last 26 years.

This unique, juried event is known and highly anticipated by local owners of Carolina mountain properties for its eclectic array of presentations and pleasant ambience.  Visitors will find more than 70 vendors on hand offering hand-crafted wares, including – but certainly not limited to – photography, paintings, jewelry, sculpture and pottery.

The dates this year were Friday, July 19th through Sunday, July 21st and again August 9th through the 11th.

Locals also enjoyed the Fifth Annual Banner Elk DiscDogathon held on July 20th at the historic old elementary school. They saw all skill levels on display as teams compete for five places in the World Championships.  Any dog that is safe off-leash, was able to catch a frisbee and participate. All profits from the DiscDogathon benefit the Avery County Humane Society.

NC mountain communities enjoy so many wonderful art festivals and other events during the summer months.  At The Coves Mountain River Club, many of our retired residents have found a passion for creating artwork of their own in media such as watercolor, oil, metal sculpture, woodcarving, dried flowers and so many more.  And their interest provides welcome support for our arts community here in the foothills.

It’s fair to say that inspiration stems from happiness.  Once your mind is freed from the negatives of daily life, ideas can then start to flow and dreams can become reality.

Western North Carolina mountain properties offer a sea change from urban living and its many pressures.  Just being able to breathe fresh, clean air on a daily basis does wonders for your health and outlook.  As you settle into a new, far more peaceful environment, it’s as if a load is lifted from your shoulders.  And then you can think about what you really want to do with your life.

You can easily see the area’s natural benefits.  Hikers, bikers, water sports enthusiasts, photographers, campers and fishermen all take full advantage of our world-class trails, rivers, lakes, parks and scenery.

But for those who are less adventurous or unable to handle as much in the way of physical exercise, we have just as much to offer in terms of artistic, cultural, and educational opportunities.  You can stay as active and busy as you like and devote time to your own talents and personal growth.

It’s not uncommon for homeowners at The Coves Mountain River Club to dedicate part of their living spaces to their new-found artistic pursuits.  Our highly-experienced home design professionals are sometimes asked to include art studios, for example, that will incorporate plenty of natural light.

Living here, perhaps you’ll find a talent you weren’t aware that you had.  Sometimes, all it takes is one opportunity to see what others are doing.  NC mountain communities celebrate the arts in so many ways, and festivals are a great way to showcase the remarkable creativity that surrounds us.

Save the date for next year so you can enjoy the Fine Art & Master Crafts Festival.  And while you’re here, stop by The Coves Mountain River Club and let us give you a tour.  Stroll along our five miles of beautiful waterfront on the Johns River, play our golf course with its spectacular views around every turn, visit the Pisgah Mountain Lodge, relax and watch the sun set over the mountains…  We could go on and on.

Are you ready to see how great life in the foothills can be?

Call us at 828.754.0700 to schedule a tour!

Tags: Festivals | Lenoir | Shopping & Antique Hunting

64th Annual Grandfather Mountain Highland Games

hikes near Asheville

Summer visitors to the popular Highlands towns of Boone, Blowing Rock and Banner Elk and even many of the locals who enjoy hikes near Asheville NC are probably not aware that in the 18th century the state was the most popular destination for thousands of Scottish Highlanders migrating to the American colonies in search of a better life.

The first of them arrived in 1729, escaping laws enacted by the British aimed at destroying their culture.  The clan system was already in decline, and disruptions of the agricultural system they had relied upon led to poverty and unrest.  Ten years later, Gabriel Johnston, the Royal Governor of North Carolina (and a native Scotsman himself) began taking steps to encourage more immigration – and a heritage was established.

Donald MacDonald and Hugh Morton held the first Highland Games at Grandfather Mountain in 1955. Now, over thirty-five thousand people attend the event each July, often taking time for a visit to the picturesque and historic village nestled at the exhilarating 4000-foot Blowing Rock elevation.

This year’s Highland Games, at MacRae Meadows near Linville, begin on July 11th and run through the 14th.  They provide a great opportunity to see why those who enjoy their summers in the Blue Ridge Mountains, the Highlands towns and the foothills think it’s the best place to retire in North Carolina.

The area’s year-round mild weather is a bonus for anyone who enjoys outside activities.  Enthusiasts consider hikes near Asheville NC some of the best in the country, and the waterways offer world-class fishing.  Boating, swimming, biking and golf are even more enjoyable in this uniquely beautiful natural environment.

On your way to the Highland Games – maybe about the time you reach Blowing Rock elevation – you’ll start noticing how just breathing the fresh mountain air invigorates your body, mind and soul.

Plan to arrive early on Thursday for the whiskey tasting at  Best Western Mountain Lodge in Banner Elk.  Other activities on the first day include a picnic, sheep herding demonstrations and the torchlight Opening Ceremony.  You’ll hear traditional Celtic music performances, and over 800 runners will start up the Old Yonahlossee Road in the five-mile Assault on Grandfather footrace.

Friday brings a wealth of cultural events and entertainment for all ages, ending with a Celtic rock concert at MacRae Meadows and a Scottish Country Dance gala at Lees-McRae College.  Saturday and Sunday are packed with competitions, demonstrations and traditional music and dance.  You won’t want to miss the impressive and moving Parade of Tartans, where all members of the sponsoring clans are invited to march behind the massed pipe bands.

To make sure you don’t miss any Highland Games activities and presentations, be sure to check the detailed schedule at the event’s website for dates, times and parking information.

Anyone looking for the best place to retire in North Carolina needs to spend a few days exploring the Lenoir area.  It’s the ideal location for easy access to everything wonderful this part of the state offers its residents.  Grandfather Mountain State Park is just one example, with its incredible scenery and breathtaking ecological diversity.

Living at The Coves Mountain River Club means having a long menu of summer and winter sports, cultural celebrations and leisure activities to fill your time.  It’s all right there for the taking, with no long drives or traffic hassles to mar the experience.

This is the lifestyle you’ve dreamed of.  This is your reward for a lifetime of hard work and sacrifice.  Bring us your ideas for the home you’ve always wanted, and we’ll work with you to make it happen.

The design team at The Coves Mountain River Club is used to bringing dreams to life.  Take a tour and see examples of how our innovative designs both reflect and respect their surroundings.

Then, at the end of the day, kick back at our Pisgah Mountain Lodge with a glass of wine and watch the sun set over the mountains.

Close your eyes.  Take a deep breath.  Relax.

You’re at home!

Bullet point key events, what and when, Give tips on parking etc.

The connect the story to The Coves. Tell readers why The Coves location is excellent being so close to a broad variety of winter sports and summer mountain events.

Saturday, July 13th

6:30 AM Mountain Marathon begins in Boone, NC. Runners will arrive at Games track around 9:30 AM. Among the most strenuous marathons in the nation.

7:30 AM MacRae Meadows Opens

Amateur Heavy Athletic Qualifying Begins

Competition begins for Highland Dancing Atlantic International Championship, piping, drumming, Scottish athletic events, track & field events, Scottish country dancing and Scottish harp.

  • Scottish Fiddling Competition at Marathon Tent
  • Scottish Cultural Village
  • Children’s Highland Wrestling Competition
  • Sheep Herding
  • Massed Bands on track
  • Opening Ceremonies
  • History & Genealogy Studies at Clan Tents
  • Children’s Tent Activities
  • Celtic Grove Music
  • Highland Wrestling
  • Harp Competitions
  • Pre-Premier Highland Dance Competition
  • NC Provincial Gaelic Mod

4:00 Days events end. Preparation for Celtic Jam

6:30 – 10:30 PM Celtic Jam at MacRae Meadows.
$15 Adults / $5 Children age 5-12

Sunday July 14th

AM MacRae Meadows Opens

  • Scottish Heavy Athletic Demonstration and Clinic
  • Prelude Music for Worship Service Begins
  • Scottish Worship Service Outside main gate, bring a folding chair. Includes Kirkin ‘O’ the Tartans.
  • Scottish Cultural Village
  • Children’s Border Collie Demonstration on the main field.
  • Celtic Grove
    Entertainment Begins
  • Scottish Fiddling Workshop at the Harp Tent followed by a Jam session for fiddle and other instruments
  • Atlantic International Highland Dance Championship Competition

Competition takes place throughout the day for Scottish athletic events, sheep herding, kilted miles, children’s events, Scottish country dancing, Scottish harps, Clan Tugs-of-War. Celtic Grove entertainment continues.

History & Genealogy Studies at Clan Tents

Sheep Herding Demonstration

4:00 PM Closing Ceremonies

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 | Festivals

The TGIF Summer Concert Series is Back!

things to do in Morganton NC 2019

Morganton’s foot-stomping concert series will be entertaining folks of all ages in the High Country throughout the glorious days of summer. The TGIF Concert Series has become a popular event for those who want entertaining things to do in Morganton NC—both locals and music lovers from afar. The TGIF event brings an average of 1,800 people to each concert. Crowds can double when there are special events that combine with TGIF.

This summer the free concert series runs from May 3-July 26th with a wide variety of performances to enjoy. The live bands perform from 7-10 pm. Arrive at six o’clock with a hearty appetite and you’ll find fabulous fare served up by the food and beverage vendors by the Historic Burke County Courthouse lawn. Spread out your blanket and gaze up at the starry night while the music fills the air. Rain or shine, the shows go on.

Here’s the amazing family-friendly TGIF line up:

• May 3; The Extraordinaires; Variety and Car Cruise In

• May 10; Grandmas Medicine; Rock n Roll

• May 17; Rooted; Americana

• May 24; Gotcha Groove; Soul

• May 31; Fox and Company; Dance

• June 7; Surf Cavalier; Indie Rock and Car Cruise In

• June 14; Sweet Revenge; Classic Rock

• June 21; Throw Down Jones; Rock

• June 28; Tuatha Dea; Celtic

• July 12; N-Spire; Party/Variety and Car Cruise In

• July 19; The Night Move Band; Beach

• July 26; Buick MacKane; Southern Rock

The twelve free concerts are produced by the Historic Morganton Festival, Inc., and its fifteen-member board, who work with gusto. In addition, the HMF produces the Historic Morganton Festival in September, farmers markets on Saturdays from May thru October, and various fundraisers for public art. HMF also collaborates with the community and other worthy organizations to offer the State of Origin Craft Brew Festival with Fonta Flora Brewery in June, and the October Oyster Outing with Burke Arts Councils each fall. The economic benefit to the local community is tremendous. Many volunteer to make these events happen, and any profit made is reinvested so that the community can continue to count on these cherished yearly traditions.

This sort of community spirit and camaraderie are among many reasons folks love Morganton. There is a pride in this town and a deep care for history as well as the charming town’s path moving forward. Morganton received the 2014 Great Main Street Award from the American Planning Association of NC. Stroll down Main Street and you’ll understand why folks cherish this quaint downtown with so much to offer and awesome things to do in Morganton NC. Whether it’s shopping, dining, sipping cocktails with your friends, catching professional entertainment, or attending an lively gala…there’s something for your every mood.

The Coves is just a town away from Morganton, which allows its lucky residents simple ease in attending all the town’s carnivals, festivals, food, art and brew crawls, parades, farmers markets, concerts, chili cook offs, fitness challenges and on! The Coves Mountain and River Club is a friendly gated community with a heart, and the folks who have made their home in the gorgeous Blue Ridge Mountains sure do appreciate a good thing…like the mountain towns and communities that surround them.

Come and visit The Coves when you’re looking for things to do in Morganton NC and take the short drive to Morganton to discover why living in this region is truly idyllic. You’ll find plenty of unique handmade gifts and have an incredible selection of restaurants to choose from– Greek, Italian, American, French, Japanese, Sushi, and after your savory meal– tapas rolled ice cream or a Costa Rican bakery with fresh confections. If you’re thirsty there are cafes, breweries and wineries where you can relax and socialize with your friends. A visit to Morganton and The Coves will be the highlight of your summer.

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 | Morganton