What’s New at The Coves Mountain River Club

Grandfather Mountain Highland Games Return

Grandfather Mountain North CarolinaThe Scottish have a long history in mountain towns in NC and the North Carolina state at large. The first settlements began in 1746, after the end of Culloden battle that left most of the clans homeless and destitute. The local government attracted Scottish settlers through incentives such as land and tax holidays, making it the most famous destination of the time. Since then, their Scottish settlers kept their culture vibrant through numerous mountain festivals that highlighted their heritage.

Being part of the NC mountain communities celebrations, Grandfather Mountain Highland Games were founded by Agnes Morton and MacDonald in 1954. The two founded the games to replicate the Royal Braemar Gathering, which they had attended severally in Scotland. The 6000-foot Grandfather Mountain became the most favorite for the attendees as it resembled the highlands of Scotland where the gathering was held. The modern day celebrations aim at fostering the Scottish clan’s heritage through dances, drumming, music, Gaelic culture, and athletic contests all around the Blowing Rock real estate. Other than then highland games of Pleasanton, California, the Grandfather Mountain Highland Games remains one of the largest in the United States of America, attracting more than 30,000 participants.

The 2016 four day event kicks off on 7th-10th July 2016, with numerous games and activities organized by the NC mountain communities. The stunning mountain peaks surrounded by 170 colorful tents augments the Scottish tartan plaids while the tunes of bagpipes and kettledrums magnify their enthusiasm.

On Thursday afternoon, the event kicks off with the sheep and dog concert, Celtic entertainment and the bear festivals. About 800 people participate in the 5-mile race known as the bear. A torch light ceremony allows representatives of 16 societies and 100 clans to highlight their participation in the games, which is a sign of unity among the tribes. Another test of resilience, the 45th Grandfather Mountain Marathon occurs on Sunday.

If you are planning to attend the whole event or perhaps part of it, you need to know the day that carries the game that suits you. Often, Friday, Saturdays, and Sunday comes with numerous events such as bagpipe and parades, harp contests, Highland dancing concerts and Scottish athletic events. As if not enough, the sheep herding shows by the collies and Celtic music concerts keep the mountain towns in NC blissful.

Central to the athletic ceremonies are the old heavyweight contests namely the “Tossing the Sheaf” and “Turning the Caber”. Also, you cannot miss other olden tests of strength such as the highland wrestling, hammer throw, putting the stone and other forms of weight throws. On Friday night, visitors are treated to the ancient and modern Celtic music with Saturday night playing the Celtic rock genre. Additionally, the Scottish country dance Gala conducted on Friday evening between 8 p.m. and 12. A.m. keeps you engaged for the better part of the night. Dancers have to part with $30 with spectators paying $10 for admission.

Other than the concerts and contests, the popular open-air market next to the parade grounds allows you to buy tartan items, Gaelic gifts, and meat pies among others. In case you need to know much about the Scottish heritage, you need to visit a tent that offers comprehensive coverage about the same. You may consider taking a four-day ticket pass that costs $75 for adults and $20 for kids, or subscribe to daily tickets costing $15 on Thursday, $20 on Friday, $30 on Saturday and $ 15 on Sunday.

A visit to Grandfather Mountain brings close to the intermittent blend and natural wonders.  The state park in Blowing Rock is only 30 minutes from The Coves Mountain River Club, our 3,600 acre gated community bordering the Johns River connecting to Wilson Creek. Amenities at The Coves include 39 miles of hiking, biking and horse riding trails, four community parks, cascading waterfalls, an infinity-view saline swimming pool, fitness center and full service equestrian center. Folks searching for mountain property will find a diverse selection of property to chose from such as riverfront property, private wooded estates, equestrian land parcels or mountaintop homesites with stellar long range views. Approximately 100 homes are built to date to give you a variety of design ideas. HOA fees are low at less than $1,000 a year.

Make your way to The Coves Mountain River Club during the Grandfather Mountain Highland Games and see why folks are choosing the foothills over Blowing Rock real estate.

If you’re exploring the area for the first time, ask for our 84 page complimentary Western North Carolina Visitor’s Guide which will provide more information about the foothills.

Tags: Blowing Rock | Festivals

Round Mountain Ranch 4-H Horse Camp

North Carolina Equestrian CommunitiesSummer is almost here and Caldwell County is excited to remind folks about its 4-H Nature camps for kids and youth. The North Carolina 4-H Horsemanship Camp is held every June. The camp teaches children and youth how to enhance their horseback riding skills and improve their riding technique. The camp is situated amongst North Carolina equestrian communities where North Carolina mountain homes and attractive horse property lay the perfect backdrop for riding lessons, trail rides, and western gaming styles alike.Read More »

Tags: Events At The Coves | Lenoir

Lenoir NC Quest4Life Wellness Center

Western North Carolina Fitness Centers

Did you know the health care in Western NC rivals that of any other region and stretches beyond the hospital system? The state-of-the-art Quest4Life Wellness Center in Lenoir owned by Caldwell UNC Health Care is a health and wellness center we’re confident you’ll be impressed with.Read More »

Tags: Lenoir | Medical Care

Cozy Places to Stay in the Foothills NC

Coves Stay and Play Information

When American poet T.S. Eliot wrote “home is where one starts from,” he may as well have been writing about The Coves Mountain River Club, one of Western North Carolina’s most talked about NC mountain communities. When you live at The Coves in your cozy mountain retreat nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains, you are surrounded by so much living.Read More »

Tags: Lenoir

Tasty Culinary Events, Artist in Residence and Guest Lecture Series

Chef Corey Hooks

Back by popular demand, Chef Corey Hooks, Culinary Instructor at Caldwell Community College and Technical Institute (CCC&TI) returned to our Pisgah Mountain Lodge to demonstrate tasty ways to serve up authentic Shrimp Gumbo. The smells of garlic, paprika and sausage floating through the lodge were as savory as his dish. Upcoming cooking classes include popular food truck specialties, everything chocolate and international flavors.

Cooking demonstrations by award winning local chefs are some of the many culinary events that take place year round at The Coves Mountain River Club. Our residents have an appetite for good food and are quite competitive in the kitchen. 

Five times a year, we come together to compete for the first place title of The Coves Cook-off challenge and to listen to serenades by local musicians like Sarah Tucker. The four cooking competitions at the lodge:

  • March – Best International Dish
  • June – North Carolina BBQ Rib Challenge
  • August – Best Side Dish
  • October – Best Chowder
  • December – Chili & Apple Pie Cook-off

If you’re comparing the best retirement places in North Carolina, we’re confident you’ll be pleased with our social clubs and lifelong learning opportunities. In addition to cooking events, The Coves is the host of a seasonal Artist in Residence and monthly Guest Lecture series.

Charlie Frye is The Coves first Artist in Residence and is commissioned to create and paint two quilt blocks on our Round Mountain Ranch barn that will be unveiled in May. These meaningful masterpieces will be included on the Quilt Block Trail of North Carolina, a collection of more than 200 painted quilt blocks throughout the state of North Carolina.

Paint splattered jeans, rolled at the cuff. Doc Martin boots. Layers of bright colored shirts. Coffee mug and paint brush in hand, famous local artist Charlie Frye is the talk of Lenoir. During the summer season, Frye visits the lodge for a relaxed lecture about art, what inspires him and to showcase a private art exhibit. The Artist in Residence changes seasonally.

Our Guest Lecture series at the lodge includes educational presentations by local hiking guides, avid gardeners, wellness trainers, musicians and our equestrian director, Mona Houston. Whether folks want to learn about trout fishing, fauna and flowers or how to whisper to a horse, there’s always something to learn from our guest speakers.

Did we mention our residents enjoy friendly competition? During the first week of the month, our residents meet at the lodge for Coves Game Night. Whether it’s a game of cards, Chess or Scrabble, our residents know how to have a good time. If you’ve wanted a sense of belonging, you will find it and more at The Coves Mountain River Club.

We know we offer one of the best retirement places in North Carolina.

If you’re exploring the area for the first time, ask for our 84 page complimentary Western North Carolina Visitor’s Guide which will provide more information about living in the foothills.

More about our guest speakers:

GUEST CULINARY CHEF – Executive Chef Corey Hooks

Born May 5, 1984 in Hickory, N.C.; Chef Hooks was raised in Lenoir where his passion for great food began. The youngest of a busy family, his father working two jobs and his mother running a small business, the family still made time to come together for a great home cooked meal. This relationship between food and family sparked his love for the culinary arts, and his passion of bringing people together with great food.

After graduating from West Caldwell High in 2002, he, his father, and brother had the opportunity of opening a small restaurant, Porky’s Bar-B-Q, in Taylorsville, N.C. Helping operate this restaurant for five years, he sought to further his knowledge of the industry by enrolling in Johnson and Wales University Charlotte in 2008. Landing a job at Youseff 242 restaurant in Hickory, while attending JWU helped strengthen and refine his skill set.

He apprenticed as Sous Chef under distinguished 5 Diamond Chef Cory Mattson at Youssef 242. Chef Mattson led the Fearrington House Inn, outside of Chapel Hill, N.C., for 10 years receiving the AAA 5 Diamond Award each year. Chef Hook’s drive led him to become Matton’s Sous Chef at Youssef 242 until May 2012.

In May 2012, Chef Hooks was hired as Executive Chef of Bistro 127 in Hickory N.C. to help bring creativity, refinement, passion, and his overall skillset to the kitchen. In September 2012, Bistro 127 was awarded Catawba Valley’s Best Chef.


Paint splattered jeans, rolled at the cuff. Doc Martin boots. Layers of bright colored shirts. Coffee mug and paint brush in hand. Conversations with passersby. Art lessons being taught to children ages 5 to 85.

This is what you’ll find on any given day at Frye Art Studio in downtown Lenoir, NC. The owner of the studio and artist at work ~ Charlie Frye ~ known by many as just “Frye”.

It wasn’t until the age of 25 that he first picked up a paintbrush. But don’t let the lack of years fool you. This self-taught, 35 year old artist is a native of western North Carolina and a full time creator of all things art. Aside from his painting, he carves block prints and creates unique sculptures. Recycling is a way of life for him, so he uses repurposed objects in his creations. His canvases include unusual items, such as old maps, projector screens and burlap sacks.

What he is most known for though, are his acrylic Americana paintings. These compositions depict life in rural Appalachia, including many of farmers and musicians with the Blue Ridge Mountains as the backdrop.

Charlie has participated in several group art shows throughout Western North Carolina and the Southeast. Frye is currently represented by Wickwire Gallery in Hendersonville, Taupe Gallery in North Wilkesboro, and 87 Ruffin Street Gallery in Linville.

Tags: Artist In Residence | Events At The Coves | Guest Lecture Series | Lenoir

The Coves Certified as Firewise Community

The Coves Certified Firewise Community

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) established their Firewise Communities Program to encourage property owners to take individual responsibility for safeguarding their homes against the risk of wildfire.

We’re happy and proud to announce that The Coves Mountain River Club is the first and only community in Caldwell County to achieve official recognition as a North Carolina Certified Firewise Community. Many thanks to our residents, who have worked extremely hard to make this happen.

Owners of North Carolina mountain real estate understand the vital importance of fire stewardship, and the key to success is working together with others so that everyone reaps the benefits. Protecting lives and property has to be a community effort, and it’s far better to take action before a fire occurs.

Following the NFPA guidelines, property owners at The Coves analyzed their community’s wildfire risk and developed a plan to combat it. Then they educated their neighbors and encouraged 100 per cent participation. Here are the requirements The Coves had to meet in order to be certified:

Five Steps to Firewise Recognition

• Obtain a wildfire risk assessment in writing from the state forestry agency or fire department

• Form a board or committee, and create a detailed action plan

• Conduct a “Firewise Day” event

• Invest at least an annual $2.00 per capita in local Firewise actions

• Submit an application to the state Firewise liaison.

At The Coves, we’re served by two volunteer fire departments in Lenoir and Collettesville. That’s a total of 64 full-time, highly-qualified personnel working in the areas of fire suppression (24 hours a day), fire code enforcement, fire education and administration. Various individuals staffing the stations are state-certified as Firefighter Type II, Instructor, Rescue Technician, Fire Life Safety Educator and Hazmat Operations.

As we take advantage of the amazing lifestyle our wonderful Lenoir North Carolina weather provides, it’s comforting for our residents to know that if fires do occur we are well-prepared to handle them.

People looking at North Carolina mountain homes for sale in The Coves are surprised to discover that we get four distinct seasons, great for year-round outdoor living – with no major snow events, biting winds or sweltering summers. That’s because Lenoir is nestled in a valley, sheltered by the Blue Ridge Mountains to the west and the Brushy Mountains to the east.

Outdoor recreation facilities are available for our residents to enjoy year-round. And there’s great snow skiing just minutes away in Beech Mountain, Blowing Rock and Banner Elk.

Anyone who’s considering the purchase of North Carolina mountain real estate will instantly recognize that buying in The Coves offers tremendous value. Just compare the prices on custom-built homes, cottages, home sites and estate properties to those in the High Country. Consider the easy access to fishing, hiking, swimming, horseback riding and other outside activities. And living in The Coves Mountain River Club puts you just minutes away from both the Pisgah National Forest and Wilson Creek Gorge, a federally-designated wild and scenic river.

For all the natural beauty and splendor of its surroundings, The Coves isn’t so isolated that you can’t easily get to high-quality health care, shopping and entertainment whenever you want. You’re just ten minutes from downtown Lenoir and not far from the mountain village of Blowing Rock.

We just can’t say enough about Lenoir North Carolina weather. Whether you’ve endured the bitter cold of winters up north or the Deep South’s oppressive heat and humidity, imagine being able to be outside all year round, with more choices of things to do than you can take advantage of. The Coves is a social community, and there’s always something fun going on.

There are plenty of reasons that North Carolina mountain homes for sale are purchased by so many people. What everyone says is true. Retirement living in the Lenoir area really is the best of all possible worlds.

We hope you’ll plan a visit to the area and spend some time at The Coves Mountain River Club just to see how perfectly it matches the image of how you want the rest of your life to be.

If you’re exploring the area for the first time, ask for our 84 page complimentary Western North Carolina Visitor’s Guide which will provide more information about living in the foothills.

Tags: Home Building | Lenoir