What’s New at The Coves Mountain River Club

Charlie Frye – Lenoir’s Hometown Inspirational Folk Artist

Charlie Frye Lenoir


Charlie Frye is a fifth generation North Carolinian artist with a deep love and respect for the people and the place he calls home, the charming town of Lenoir in the spectacular Blue Ridge Mountains.  His bearded face is a welcome sight in the heart of downtown where he and his talented artist wife, Susan, opened the unique Folk Keeper Gallery back in 2008. 

For all of us who live in the mountain towns in North Carolina, or who are lucky enough to visit Lenoir from time to time, they know that Frye’s place is far more than a gallery.  It’s a little bit studio, a little bit classroom, and also a whimsical place to shop for one-of-a-kind folksy art.  Charlie is self-taught and didn’t venture into life as an artist until he was twenty-five years old.  Perhaps it’s his raw talent and everyman persona that lends itself so well to all the artistic mediums he touches—from found art sculptures, to woodblock prints, to acrylic paintings and ink drawings—all that this guy creates is incredibly genuine and full of joy.   No wonder when folks are looking for things to do in Lenoir NC, the Folk Keeper Gallery makes the top of our list. 

Charlie’s award-winning work is everywhere throughout the south, whether his paintings are hanging in highly-regarded folk art galleries, are displayed at popular shows and exhibits, or throughout Lenoir’s cafes, restaurants and professional offices—it’s clear that his art brings this small town a great deal of cheer and reflects all that makes life rich in North Carolina. Some noteworthy shows—Kentuck Festival of Art, Finster Fest, and Fearrington Village Folk Art Show are where his work has been shown.

His resourcefulness and ability to repurpose scrap wood or metal, like pot lids, is a testament to his genuine soul and his love of the North Carolina land.  Susan also turns to old buttons, scraps of tin wood, and discarded kitchen utensils.  There is a sense of whimsical nostalgia in their work, and this is something people relate to…after all…living in the mountain towns of North Carolina brings out the nostalgia in all of us.  Charlie likes to create images from his memory; very often he chooses farm scenes, animals, and musicians and it’s no surprise that his regional art is collected internationally.

Charlie doesn’t run out of things to do in Lenoir NC—he is painting and teaching full-time.  Not all artists make good teachers, but Charlie relates to people of all ages with all levels of artistic abilities.  Often his workshop descriptions will read “no painting experience necessary to paint like a true folk artist.”  That’s the sort of atmosphere that draws the crowd into Folk Keeper Gallery and makes it a hub in downtown Lenoir.

Not only is Charlie receptive to his students, he is also inclusive of other artists in the region and he makes sure their work is represented beneath his roof.  Imagine browsing a good twenty folk artists in one gallery!  These are some of the best folk artists around, and viewing their work in one collective space enhances the entire experience.  Whether you’re just beginning your folk art collection, or you’re putting the finishing touches on your home in the mountain towns of North Carolina, this is the place to visit. Charlie’s website says, “We represent regional Folk Artists and their Folk Stories,” and they truly do.

Folk art is appreciated by people from diverse areas with diverse backgrounds because at its root it celebrates our very hearts and souls.  You may have seen Charlie’s work featured on local television networks, (they were named “Master Folk Keepers” by Life in the Carolinas), or YouTube, displayed at the Morganton City Hall, or Root and Vine, or perhaps his popular and gorgeous quilt blocks that he was commissioned to paint by The Coves Round Mountain Ranch.

Be sure to visit the Frye’s website (they can ship artwork), or their gallery on West Avenue in Lenoir, and take part in one of Charlie’s workshops or gatherings where you can meet a local artist and share the love of folk art.  You might get a glimpse of Minnie Pearl, Charlie’s famous old “owl” pickup truck.  Charlie’s upcoming event:  Love Bird Paint Night at Folk Keeper Gallery where he invites people looking for things to do in Lenoir NC to “Come and paint a pair of love birds with your sweetie” this Valentine’s evening, February 14 from 6-8 pm.  The fee is $30.00 per person, and feel free to bring your own snack and beverages.

If you’re simply looking to shop, here’s a bit of what you’ll find in their gallery:  folk art, pottery, sculptures, jewelry, antiques, cards, organic and fair trades teas sold by the ounce, essential oils with cool artistic labels by Eric Legge, knitted items, cutting boards, bees wax soaps, paper lanterns and so many more unique items for your mountain home.

Those who have settled at The Coves know and love Charlie Frye.  They get to appreciate his quilt blocks on the Round Mountain Ranch barn, they’ve taken art classes with him both at The Cove’s Pisgah Mountain Lodge, and at Frye’s gallery, and life is made more bright, colorful and genuine due to the simple brush strokes and camaraderie of this creative man.  Come and visit the Folk Keeper Gallery and The Coves and see how sweet life can be.

Tags: Artist In Residence | Lenoir

Your Foodie Cheat Sheet | Lenoir NC Restaurants

Lenoir NC restaurants

How much do you know about Lenoir NC? Here in the foothills, restaurants offer delightful surprises at every turn.  Any preconceptions that casual visitors bring with them soon vaporize, as they learn of the incredible opportunities for adventure, exploring, learning and just plain fun this area has to offer. 

It’s much the same for Lenoir NC restaurants.  In any town, you would expect to find a number of national chains represented, along with some lesser-known local favorites.  And we certainly have those here.  But dig a little deeper, and prepare to be amazed.

You’ll have a wealth of choices for ethnic cuisine, from Italian to Mexican to Central and South American.  Looking for simple pub food?  We have plenty of that, too.  Steaks and seafood?  No problem.  And of course there’s our famous, mouth-watering pit barbecue, and traditional American favorites served with a large helping of world-renowned southern hospitality.

Here’s a partial list of the Lenoir NC restaurants recommended most by locals:


Perkz Cafe

538 Wilkesboro Boulevard SE, Lenoir


family style recipes, southern comfort décor

Judy’s Cafe

2303 Morganton Boulevard SW, Lenoir

(828) 759-2200

southern home cooking

Bud’s Diner

129 Wilkesboro Boulevard SE, Lenoir

(828) 758-4459

a traditional American diner

1841 Cafe

117 Main Street NW, Lenoir


vegetarian-friendly, gluten-free options


975 Blowing Rock Boulevard, Lenoir



Cookout Grill

510 Blowing Rock Boulevard, Lenoir


American fast food


Loes Brewing Company

1048 Harper Avenue NW, Lenoir


Side Street Pour House and Grill

128 Main Street NW, Lenoir


Eola Beer Company

1048 Harper Avenue NW, Lenoir



Mayflower Seafood

303 Blowing Rock Boulevard, Lenoir


Sagebrush Steakhouse Lenoir

954 Blowing Rock Boulevard, Lenoir



Hannahs BBQ

137 Blowing Rock Boulevard, Route 321, Lenoir


Smokin Hogs BBQ

920 Wilkesboro Boulevard SE, Lenoir



Buffalo Mercantile Company & Cafe

6353 Buffalo Cove Road, Lenoir


Piccolo’s Pizza and Pasta

915 West Avenue NW, Lenoir


Italy Grill

1112 Morganton Boulevard SW, Lenoir



Cazuelas Dona Vicky

361 Harper Avenue NW, Lenoir


Pancho Villa

2153 Morganton Boulevard SW, Lenoir


Mi Carreta Mexican Grill

1146 Hickory Boulevard SW, Lenoir


Dos Amigos

528 Blowing Rock Boulevard, Lenoir



Fresh and Delicious Bakery

458 Harper Avenue NW, Lenoir


Los Izotes El Salvadorean Restaurant

1506 Main Street NW, Lenoir   


Consider this as just a starting point for your own culinary journey of discovery.  One thing we’ve learned at The Coves Mountain River Club is that just when you think you know all there is to know about living here, something new will knock your socks off.

Be sure to take a few minutes to give your favorite Lenoir restaurants a good review.  We like to support local businesses and our neighbors who work hard to make them successful.

From a bowl of diner chili when the weather turns colder to a sit-down dinner for a special occasion, our Lenoir NC restaurants offer just about any dining experience you might be looking for.

Bon Appetit!


Tags: Lenoir | Restaurants & Breweries

Get Ready for the Bootlegger 100 – WNC Mountain Biking

WNC mountain bikingGet ready for the Bootlogger 100! Pisgah Productions presents the most scenic and challenging bike ride you’ll do this year surrounding the gated communities near Asheville NC.  Register now for the “Bootlegger 100”, starting and ending in downtown Lenoir on Saturday, April 20, beginning at eight A.M.

You can choose one of two options:  107 miles with 9760 feet of climbing or 58 miles with 4583 of climbing.  Experienced riders call the longer route, which takes you up to the Blue Ridge Parkway, one of the most challenging in the country.  Both will wind down through beautiful Wilson Creek Gorge. 

The “Bootlegger 100” is an eagerly anticipated event for active residents in Western North Carolina.  It’s very well-organized, with all of the turns clearly marked so you know you’re still on course.  You’ll be required to wear a helmet and have both a front white light and a rear red light illuminated the entire time you’re riding.

You can sign up online until Noon on April 19.  Register in advance for just $70, a savings of ten dollars off the day-of-race cost.

Pisgah Productions was formed in 2003 by Eric and Erinna Wever with a simple idea:  to push people to go further than they knew they could go and to have a great party afterwards.   All of their race and ride events operate under special use permit from the U.S. Forest Service.  And a portion of the proceeds from the “Bootlegger 100” will be donated to two non-profit organizations:  the Asheville Humane Society and The Pisgah Conservancy.

Mountain biking’s a popular pastime in the foothills of Western North Carolina, because it’s an easy and pleasant way to get exercise and enjoy the clear, fresh air.  And you can do it alone or with a group.  There are 27 bike trails in and around Lenoir, including the single-loop Zack’s Fork right in the middle of town.  They all offer spectacular views, and there are riding challenges suitable for all ages and skill levels.

Rachel Carson wrote: “Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts”.  Studies have shown that the more you can remove yourself from the stresses of daily life and find solace in nature, the happier and more energetic you will be.

Those of us fortunate enough to live in gated communities near Asheville NC are never at a loss for opportunities to get out and enjoy the abundant beauty around us.  And your neighbors at The Coves Mountain River Club will tell you that once you experience mountain trail riding for the first time, it will become a passion.  There’s so much to see at higher elevations, with pleasant surprises at every turn.  You’ll hear the rustling of the leaves and the chirping of birds, and you’ll experience a profound sense of inner peace and pride of accomplishment.

Of course, the “Bootlegger 100” is just one of many group bike riding events held during the year, along with a full calendar of other activities.  Anyone who lives here in the foothills and says there’s “nothing to do” just isn’t paying attention.  At The Coves Mountain River Club, being located on the Johns River at Wilson Creek affords us a wealth of fishing and boating opportunities, and there are plenty of nearby trails that can easily be explored on foot.  We’re blessed with year-round mild weather, and being on the edge of the Pisgah National Forest gives us a front-row seat for the annual fall foliage change.

If you’re like most folks who are looking at gated communities near Asheville NC for retirement or just to get away from the pressures of city living, be sure to set aside time to visit picturesque Lenoir and explore The Coves Mountain River Club. Our mountain community has stunning views and rolling topography. Amenities include a mountaintop clubhouse, infinity-view swimming pool, river amenities, community gardens and so much more plus there are all kinds of mountain biking trails around The Coves!

Call 828.754.0700 to schedule a tour.


Tags: Greenways & Trails | Lenoir

Blowing Rock Winterfest – The Zany Side of Winter

mountain towns in North Carolina

The 21st Annual Blowing Rock WinterFest, January 24-27, 2019, is almost upon the mountain towns of North Carolina.  Travel & Leisure christened Blowing Rock as “one of America’s Prettiest Winter Towns.” The popularity of the WinterFest has grown steadily over the past two decades, and this year will surely bring out the folks of the Blue Ridge Mountains–as well as the joyous visitors who make Blowing Rock their fabulous winter destination. 

From the icy Polar Plunge in Chetola Lake, to the scrumptious WinterFeast and WinterBeer Garden–there will be plenty of reasons to attend!   This festival has  been chosen as one of the “Top Pick” events by AAA, and the Southeastern Tourism Society named WinterFest a Top 20 Event.  This gorgeous region always has amazing events to draw the community together, and what better occasion than WinterFest– a crazy-fun long weekend to usher in the High Country’s  2019!    

Here’s what’s happening during WinterFest’s snowy and beautiful weekend:

Shop Til You Drop–A Community that shops local keeps their local town strong!

Thursday, January 24–10 am–Sunday, January 27, 2019—5 pm

Downtown, Main Street

“Put on a pair of comfy shoes and make room in your trunk!  Blowing Rock is one of North Carolina’s premier shopping destinations!”  Just some of the most awesome shopping possibilities:

Antiques & Collectibles–Blowing Rock Antique Center; Blowing Rock Estate Jewelry & Antiques; Carriage Trade Living; Hanna’s; Possum Hollow Antiques; Rug Company; Windwood Antiques

Apparel & Accessories—100 West Union; Almost Rodeo Drive; Blowing Rock Harley-Davidson; Celeste’s; Fig Leaf Ltd; Finley House Couture; J. Mclaughlin; J.W. Tweeds; Monkees; Sister Act; Sunset Tee’s & Hattery; Tazmaraz

Gifts & Crafts—Blowing Rock Cigar Company and Club; Brass Exchange; Cabin Fever of Watauga; Christmas in Blowing Rock; Cross Trade International; De Provence et D’Ailleurs; Final Touches; Gilded Lily by Patra; Handtiques; Heart of the Rock; High Country Candles; Last Straw; Marmalade; Mountain Laurel Floristry; Mountain Thread Company; Mrs., Brumbles; My Mountain Home; Neaco; Pandora’s Mailbox; Park Place Florist; Roey’s 12 Corners Custom Quilts; Rustic; Serves You Right; Take Heart; Tervis; Trillium; Unwound; We’re Good Sports

Galleries—Blowing Rock Frameworks & Gallery; Gaines Kiker Silversmith; Main Street Gallery/Expressions Craft; Martin House Gallery; Photos by Meta; Reinert Fine Art; Traditions Pottery 

Home Furnishings—Almost Rodeo Drive; Blowing Rock Furniture Gallery; Cabin Fever of Watauga; Gilded Lily by Patra; Gregory Alan’s; Last Straw; Moody’s Handmade Furniture; My Mountain Home; Rug Company; Rustic 

Brrrrahm—Thursday, January 24 10 am-Saturday, January 26—5 pm; free admission; Take the “brrrr” out of the chill and come to the Blowing Rock Art and History Museum (BRAHM).

Doodlebug Club at Brahm—Thursday, January 24, 10:30-11:30 am; or 1- 2 pm ;“preschool age children and a parent/guardian are invited to Doodlebug Club, a fun educational art program focused on basic art skills such as holding your paintbrush, the primary colors, or holding a pair of scissors while introducing them to different art mediums, from watercolors to clay. After clean up it is story time!” Free for Museum members, $5 for non-members.  Space is limited. Call 828-295-9099 to reserve a spot.

WinterFeast—Thursday, January 24, 5:30-10 pm; Chetola Resort; live music, cash bar, warm beverages will keep you entertained and happy, and after dinner the fun keeps on coming with desserts, coffee, tea and plenty more entertainment!  This is the most delicious and satisfying restaurant crawl under one roof.  Folks get to sample small plate selections prepared by the region’s top chefs for $40. 15 restaurants contribute mouth-watering fare to this event.  Get your tickets in advance since WinterFeast has sold out the past six years. Three cruise-style seatings to choose from—5:30; 6:45 and 8 pm.

Participating Restaurants for 2019:  Timberlake’s; Speckled Trout; Best Cellar; Chestnut Grille at Green Park; Bistro Roca; Restaurant at Gideon Ridge; Rowlands at Westglow; Town Tavern; Table at Crestwood;  Six Pence Pub; Storie Street Grille; Outback; Fireflies

Participating Bakeries:  The Backstreet Bakery; Timberlake’s; the Spice & Tea Exchange; WYNter Wonderland Cookies

Bonfire, S’mores and Entertainment at Chetola Resort—Thursday, January 24, 7-10 pm; Friday, January 25, 7-10 pm; Saturday, January 26, 7-10 pm; keep warm by the firepit overlooking Chetola Lake; cash bar with drink specials; gourmet s’mores ($5), and live entertainment as well as giant board games for family fun.

Pancake Breakfast at Sunny Rock; Friday, January 25, 7:30 am-1:30 pm; Saturday, January 26, 7:30 am-1:30 pm;  $5; “Come to Sunny Rock – Eggs and Things for a fantastic pancake breakfast!”  Tim’s outstanding pancakes served with one side of link sausage or bacon.

WinterFashion Show;  Friday, January 25, 10 am-1:30 pm; $35; hors d’oeuvres; mimosas, spritzers and cash bar accompany Blowing Rock’s retailers and the latest fashion for men and women; prize giveaways and gift bags for all attendees. “Come find out what you need in your closet and leave with coupons to go get it!”

Cork & Canvas at BRAHM; Friday, January 25, 4-6 pm; Saturday, 10 am-noon; $40-$45; trained art instructors help attendees paint Wassily Kandinsky’s “Winter Landscape.”  Take home your finished work of art. Canvasses, paint, brushes, and aprons provided. Wine, beer and light snacks are complimentary.  Online ticket purchase required in advance for those over 21 with valid ID; under 18 artists welcome with an adult.

Contact Jennifer Garonzik at 828-295-9099 ext. 3004

WinterFest Sip and Stroll; Friday, January 25, 4-7 pm; stroll Main Street and enjoy the amazing tastings along the way; participating businesses will be announced.

Hands-On-Ice Carving; Friday, January 25, 4-6 pm; Saturday, 11 am-3 pm; Memorial Park; free admission; children and adults come and help  artist, Cathleen Gallagher, create an ice sculpture with supplied hand chisels and safety goggles.

WinterCraft:  An Outdoor Handmade Market; Friday, January 25, 4-8 pm; Martin House; local artisans and the Mountain Thread Company look forward to seeing you!

WinterFest Ice Stroll; Friday, January 25, 5-7 pm; 20 creative ice sculptures will be on display in front of businesses; a map of locations will be available.

Music on the Lawn; Friday, January 25, 5:30-8:30 pm; local musicians will entertain you at the Inn at Ragged Gardens; food and drinks available for purchase; music to be announced.

Polar Plunge at Chetola Resort; Saturday, January 26, 8-11 am; a tradition and highlight of WinterFest.  Plungers wear costumes and“Golden Plunger”is awarded to the best costume.  On-line pre-registration is advised (www.chetola.com); proceeds benefit local charities Western Youth Network and Hospitality House.

Polar Plunge Brunch; Saturday, January 26, 10 am-noon; Timbers Room, Chetola Resort; live feed of Polar Plunge; $22 adults; $16 children 12 and under; drinks not included.

Hayrides; Saturday, January 26, 10 am-4 pm; 132 Park Avenue; free!

Silent Auction & Raffle; Saturday, January 26, 10 am-4 pm; American Legion Building; beautiful items and gift certificates donated by area retailers and businesses; proceeds go to Mountain Alliance to provide Watauga County high school aged kids a safe and supportive environment.

Rotary Charity Chili Challenge; Saturday, January 26, 11:30 am-2 pm; $8—12 years and above; $5 for kids 5 and up; Blowing Rock School Gym; taste and vote!

K9 Keg Pull; Saturday, January 26, 11:30 am-4 pm; American Legion Building; proceeds benefit Partners! (Canines).  Dogs pull empty beer kegs on sleds; free to watch for all!

Ice Carving Demonstrations; Saturday, January 26, noon-4 pm; Memorial Park; a must-see event!

Artic Art at BrrrAHM; Saturday, January 26, 1-2:30 pm; free crafts for all!

WinterFest Beer Garden; Saturday, January 26; 1-4:30 pm; $30; 15 vendors—local and regional breweries and distilleries “Hops and Barley Pops” outside the American Legion Building.  “Can you think of a more unique way to celebrate winter than by enjoying beer and spirits while watching cute dogs compete and bidding on items to support a local charity–all in one spot?  All attendees receive a commemorative WinterFest pint glass, while supplies last.”

WinterTastings & Auction at The Green Park Inn; Saturday, January 26; 3-5 pm; $30; tastings followed by auction.

Sunday Brunch at Foggy Rock; Sunday, January 27; 11am-3 pm; brunch and sangria specials!

WinterPaws Dog Show; Sunday, January 27; 1-3 pm; $5; Blowing Rock Elementary School;  sponsored by The Watauga Humane Society; “Show off your four-legged best friend or just come to see the cutest dogs around…” Proceeds go to the Watauga Humane Society, a local non-profit, serving approximately 2,000 abandoned animals each year; entertainment by The Carolina Snowbelles.

For those of us who live in our cozy mountain homes at The Coves, taking the pretty ride to Blowing Rock’s higher elevations can be a sweet excursion, especially when you get to return to your charming paradise at the end of an exhilarating day.  Come explore the mountain towns of North Carolina and make sure The Coves is top on your real estate list. 

Remember while you’re having a snowy blast at WinterFest in the mountain towns of North Carolina, you’re also making valuable contributions to many local charities. So  as they say in the High Country, “Don’t Hibernate.  Celebrate winter in Blowing Rock!”

WinterFest tickets can be purchased at the Blowing Rock Chamber of Commerce, 132 Park Avenue, by phone 800-295-7801 or 828-295-7851 or online.

Be sure to check the complete schedule and make the most of this year’s experience while helping to support our much-loved community.

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

Craft Enrichment Classes in Blowing Rock at ASU (Appalachian State University)

classes in Blowing Rock

Springtime may seem far away, but not at Appalachian State University where enrollment for craft enrichment classes in Blowing Rock began December 3!  The Craft Enrichment Program is an incredible way to continue lifelong learning in a beautiful setting.  There are many inspiring classes to choose from, taught by professional artists, instructors and crafts people in a professional environment.

“Come and discover your artistic signature.” Some daytime classes to consider for Spring 2019:

• Felt Workshop: Wet Felted Vessels from Valentines to Vases

“Indulge your creativity through fibers!  In the workshop, you will create one or more 3-dimensional wool vessels.  Embellishments can be added such as silk hankies, silk roving, wool fibers and yarns ….to  decorate your one of a kind vessel.”

This is a physically active workshop; standing requires comfortable shoes and be sure to wear clothing that can get wet; bring 2 or 3 old bath towels.  For beginners & all levels.

Instructor: Jane Campbell

Enrollment: 16

Date:  Saturday, February 2 (1 day)

Time:  10:00 am – 1:00 pm

Cost:  $80  (Materials included in course fee)

Location:  Edwin Duncan Hall,  TBA

• Watercolor…Exploring Nature Up Close

“JoAnn Pippin, a signature member of both the Southern Watercolor Society and the Watercolor Society of North Carolina, will teach a 5-session watercolor class that will help you see and paint what you love.  During these classes you will work on a painting that you will be proud of while learning how to compose an effective painting, how to use color for pizazz, and how to work with and without brushes for interesting effects.”

Bring the supplies you have, but DO NOT go out and buy materials until after session 1.  Also be sure to bring pictures or ideas of what you would like to paint.

Instructor: JoAnn Pippin

Enrollment:  10

Date:  Wednesdays, January 30 — February 27

Time:  3:00 – 6:00 (pending final classroom confirmation)

Cost:   $145

Location: Edwin Duncan Hall,  TBA

• Advanced Bowl Turning

“This course will continue the art, science, and techniques needed to turn a block of wood into functional sculpture. We will explore some rough-edge and green-wood spindle turning, wood curing, selection, and tool sharpening. You may never look at a pile of firewood the same again!”

Be sure to bring safety glasses or shield and earplugs

Instructor: Phil Armstrong

Dates:  Saturdays,  January 26 — April 6  *no class 3/9  (10 weeks) 

Time:  9:00 am – 11:30 am

Enrollment: 5

Cost:  $230

Location: Katherine Harper Hall Room 146

Registration for all classes begins at noon on December 3 and remains open until the class fills or until three working days before the class begins.

For more info: call Jack Chambers at 828-262-2933

Other possible classes offered throughout the year include pottery/ceramics, drawing and painting, weaving, jewelry-making, photography, videography, fiber and glass arts, basket-making, wood turning, beekeeping, batik and metalworking.  The mission of ASU is to “provide settings for novices, hobbyists and advanced students to use professional-level equipment and receive individual attention from instructors who are committed both as teachers and craft artists.”  No wonder lifelong learning is such a pleasure up high in this scenic Blowing Rock elevation.  The classes are affordable and accessible to everyone over 16—a reflection of the true community-mindedness and spirit in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina.

This esteemed program has been enriching folks’ lives since 1999.  There is no doubt that traditional and contemporary crafts and arts are valued in the communities that dot the high mountains. 

Most enrichment classes take place on the campus of Appalachian State University in Boone which is perfectly situated in the picturesque mountains at Blowing Rock elevation.  The university was founded in 1899 and is one of 17 prestigious educational institutions in North Carolina that helps foster lifelong learning as well as providing degrees to both undergraduates and graduates.  “Appalachian is a special place. Our location in Boone, North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains, a place of great beauty abundant with cultural and recreational opportunities, profoundly shapes how our community lives, works and learns together. Once you become a part of our community, you never really leave.”  There is a true connection between the campus and the community which benefits everyone.

The Coves is only a half hour’s drive along scenic route 321 North to Boone and ASU’s gorgeous campus.  No wonder so many folks at The Coves take the short journey to Blowing Rock elevation where they participate in the artistic community.  ASU provides convenient free parking.  The Coves often has its own at-home artistic offerings, like painting wine and design with local artists as well as cooking festivities to enhance our culinary arts and satisfy our appetites!  We share and appreciate a remarkable community at The Coves where the beauty begins with the foundations of our stunning mountain homes and reaches far and above into the pristine landscape of the Blue Ridge Mountains. 

Come and visit The Coves and discover the charming and artistically-enriched life that awaits you!

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

North Carolina Christmas Tree Farms Near The Coves

Christmas tree farms


Those of us who cherish memories of trips to the woods to cut down just the right Christmas tree and proudly bring it home should feel lucky.  Most people never have that experience.  It’s far more common now for families just to head to one of the lots that pop up at this time of year and settle for an okay tree trucked in from many miles away.  Like many traditions, the annual trek into nature has largely gone by the wayside as urbanization has pulled us further away from our roots and traditions. 

But there’s good news for residents of NC mountain communities such as The Coves Mountain River Club.  We’re surrounded by some of the finest Christmas trees available, growing in three of the state’s large national forests. 

Pisgah National Forest is primarily a hardwood forest with whitewater rivers, waterfalls, abundant wildlife and hundreds of miles of trails. It’s very close to The Coves Mountain River Club.  The largest of the state’s four National Forests is Nantahala, with elevations ranging from 1200 to 5800 feet.  Living here, you’ll also have access to the 650,000 acres of Cherokee National Forest.

You’ll find an abundance of popular tree species to choose from, including Fraser fir, eastern white pine, Virginia pine, balsam fir, blue spruce, Norway spruce, Canaan fir, Douglas fir and Leyland cypress.  And, as a bonus, you get to spend time in the clean fresh air, enjoying the scent of pine needles moving gently in the breeze.  REMINDER:  Be sure to get the required permit from the U. S. Forestry Service.

Here in Caldwell County, you can cut your own tree at Brickyard Nursery, at 2592 Pisgah Church Road in Lenoir.  Call them at 828-758-8940 or 828-499-6269.  Down in Burke County, there’s Jonas Ridge Tree Farm at 8040 Joe Poore Road in Jonas Ridge.  Call 828-733-4654.  They’re open from nine to five Wednesday through Sunday.

The many tree farms over in Avery County serving North Carolina mountain homes include:

  • A White Christmas, at  097 Davenport Road in Newland.  Phone 828-765-8629.  Open every day from 8:30 PM to 5:30 PM.
  • Babe Clark’s Sugar Grove Nursery, 294 Everett Clark Road in Newland.  Phone 828-733-5272 or 828-387-1140.  Open Monday to Friday from 8 AM to 7 PM, Saturday from 8 AM to 8 PM, and Sundays from 1 PM to 7 PM.
  • Carolina Tree Farms, 3733 Flat Springs Road, Elk Park.  Phone 828-297-4168.  Open Sunday through Saturday from 8 AM to 5:00 pm.
  • Christa’s Nursery, 376 Logan’s Lane in Newland.  Phone 828-733-3353.
  • David Pittmans Farm, at 986 Licklog Road in Newland.  Phone 828-295-2545 or 828-387-1734.  Open weekends till Christmas. 
  • Elk River Evergreens, at 121 Brooks Shell Road in Elk Park. Phone 828-387-7695.  Open: Sunday through Friday from Noon to six and Saturdays from nine to six through mid-December.
  • Evergreen Ridge, 299 Tower Road, Newland. Phone 828-733-9606.  Open seven days a week from 8 AM to 5 PM.
  • Franklin Tree Farm in Linville Falls.  Phone 828-765-2518. Open Saturday and Sunday from 9 AM to 6 PM through December 18.
  • Fraser Forest Christmas Tree Farm, at 697 Old Jonas Ridge Road, Pineola. Phone 828-733-9613.  Open Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays from 9 AM until dark and other times by appointment.

That’s just a partial list, and it’s always a good idea to call before you go to make sure they’re open and have what you’re looking for.

Closeness to nature is just one of the many benefits of living in NC mountain communities.  Another is that such great memories are made here. Picture North Carolina mountain homes celebrating a traditional Christmas, with the family gathered around the hearth, admiring a beautifully-decorated tree that they cut by hand in the nearby woods.  Sounds nice, doesn’t it?

We’d like to see the perfect tree you found for your home this holiday season.  Send us a picture!

Tags: Lenoir