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See wonderful hiking tails near the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina.

Historic Wild Barn, Madison County, NC

The time is getting close for us. We will head back to the NC mountains as soon as it seems safe and all the advisories look good. Today I am reposting one of my very early blog posts. I’m not sure what we will be able to do when we arrive, but certainly, we will be able to enjoy the mountain backroads we love to explore! Stay Safe, Karen Near Banner Elk… Read More

Take the Moonshine Express run of the Great Smoky Mountain Railroad, and I promise you will not be disappointed. After booking our tickets online, we picked them up at 9:30 the morning of the trip and boarded the Carolina Shine car around 10 AM.  Before we even started rolling, we were served three of the seven moonshine flavors we tasted.  Starting with the basic White Lightening, we moved quickly on to Apple… Read More

Historic Baker Barn, Madison County, NC

A few weeks ago, I wrote about buying a painting at a fundraiser for the Appalachian Barn Alliance, a group dedicated to documenting historic barns in this part of western North Carolina. My husband and I decided to take one of their self-driving tours and visit the barns of Walnut Township in Madison County. Once in Madison County, we followed winding country roads for about two hours to nine different barns the… Read More

  St. John’s Episcopal Church is a little gem tucked away in the woods down a gravel road in Sugar Grove, NC.  Not far from its parent church The Church of the Holy Cross Episcopal* in Valle Crucis, St. John’s was built in 1862. It came about through the fortitude and aspirations of William West Skiles who gave his life to the church and was deaconate in Valle Crucis.  He served the… Read More

You can’t drive through the green, pastoral country roads of Western North Carolina without seeing barns. It’s always fun to see a barn. Barns of all types and styles.  Barns mostly in a state of disrepair. Barns that aren’t going to be in existence for the next generation to enjoy. I can’t imagine these mountain landscapes without barns. The Appalachian Barn Alliance was created to preserve the memories of these barns and… Read More

Steps to a lookout at Wiseman's View.

See unparalleled views of the Linville Gorge from Wiseman’s View, near Marion. NC.  Looking down across the deepest gorge in the eastern U.S., you can clearly see the Linville River snaking through the forest 1500’ below. The trail itself is an easy, paved, 0.4-mile, handicap accessible path that even has a permanent port-o-potty-style bathroom at the trailhead. But, oh boy, the ride there is an adventure. It’s only four miles on a… Read More

Big Draft horses make the Horse Pull look easy.

Wherever you find yourself it’s always interesting to tap into the events going on in the local community.  Some of the most rewarding experiences are because you find out what is going on when you are in an area.  Case in point – I recently attended my first Horse Pull, in the mountains of North Carolina. We watched six beautifully groomed and well-cared for two-horse teams pull a cart filled with cement… Read More

Thanks to Hurricane Florence, New Bern has been in the news lately and not because it was the Colonial Capital of North Carolina. This charming historic town is not only the birthplace of yours truly, but also of Pepsi Cola. It’s a lovely place, founded in 1710, by Baron von Graffenried from Bern, Switzerland and jam-packed with history. Four historic districts include more than 160 sites listed on the National Register of… Read More

In Western North Carolina, just a few miles south of the Virginia border is a little slice of mountain life that is good for the soul (and the stomach).  Shatley Springs is a ramshackle collection of metal-roofed buildings and cabins, some dating as far back as 1923. Décor leans to early-barn, with colorful flowers planted in re-purposed kitchen pots and old equipment. Built over springs reported to have medicinal powers, a typical… Read More

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