November 26, 2021. Beech Mountain Ski Resort officially opened for the 2021-22 season on Friday morning with a good crowd of holiday weekend skiers and snowboarders on hand. “We have had a strong crowd today and we were able to open with four lifts and five trails,” said Talia Freeman, the Director of Marketing for Beech Mountain. “We’re still making snow and the customers seem really excited. The lifts opened at 8 a.m. for season pass holders. A DJ was out there playing music and there were even some prizes given away for people to take home from their first day on the slopes. Freeman said that the plan is to keep making snow with their new snowmaking equipment with the hopes of being able to open more trails next week as well as the terrain park. By Nathan Ham
November 24, 2021. Johnny Sanders of Zionville took a chance on a $5 Holiday Cheer scratch-off ticket and won a $150,000 prize the day before Thanksgiving. Sanders purchased his ticket at the Valley Grocery on U.S. 421 North in Zionville. He claimed his prize Wednesday at lottery headquarters in Raleigh and, after federal and state tax withholdings, took home $106,126.
November 24, 2021. Thanks to a generous donation of land, Blue Ridge Conservancy (BRC) will soon open 8.5 acres of river access along the Watauga River in Valle Crucis, NC. MaryAnn Mueller and Diana Travis gifted 6 acres, and the Tennessee Valley Authority and Watauga Tourism Development Association funded the purchase of the other 2.5 acres. This land, located just past the N.C. 194 bridge, will have a public parking area and create easier access to the Watauga River Paddle Trail.
November 24, 2021. Appalachian Ski Mtn. fired up the ski lifts on Wednesday morning to celebrate the opening of what they hope will be another great ski season in the High Country. “We are fortunate to have had some good weather here and be able to get a majority of the slopes open. It looks like winter around here again,” said Brad Moretz, owner of Appalachian Ski Mtn. The mountain is planning for 125 days of skiing this winter season “if everything goes well” according to Moretz. The first big event of the season will be the annual Appalachian Ski Mtn. Anniversary Weekend on December 4-5. This is the 60th year of operation for the mountain and as they do every year, ticket prices on those two days will be the same price as they were in 1962. By Nathan Ham
November 24, 2021. Casting Bread is ready to ease your stress by providing gift wrapping services this holiday season. From November 19 to December 18, shoppers can visit Suite 16 (formerly, Bass outlet) at Tanger Outlets in Blowing Rock from noon until 5:00 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays for a beautifully wrapped gift at a small price. Proceeds from the gift-wrapping service benefit Casting Bread’s work to increase food security for people in need. You may also drop off donations of shelf-stable food at the gift-wrapping station, as well.
November 24, 2021. W.A.M.Y. Community Action is asking the community to donate gifts to help spread holiday cheer to senior citizens who are shut-in, staying in assisted living or hospice care for WAMY’s third annual Santa for Seniors Gift Drive. In 2020, WAMY (Watauga, Avery, Mitchell, Yancey) delivered almost 800 holiday gift bags to senior citizens through the Santa for Seniors program. With hopes of exceeding last year’s goal, WAMY needs your help more than ever. Newly purchased Santa for Seniors items that are needed include socks with grips, blankets, lotion, lip balms, slippers, word activity books, sugar-free candy and winter accessories. Unwrapped gifts can be dropped of November 29-December 9th
November 24, 2021. Most cooks that I know will likely not be sitting in front of a computer today — or even have time to pull out their phones looking at a food column. Rather, they have had their menus and recipes chosen for weeks, and by the looks of local grocery store parking lots in the last few days, they have purchased all their needed ingredients for their family’s holiday feast, and are already in the process of some major prepping. Still, there are those who are able to pull something together at the last minute without the stress that many of us put ourselves through, and I applaud you if you have that ability. Regardless, there might be need for some leftover ideas to help rid the fridge of the other eight pounds of turkey your crew doesn’t eat on Thanksgiving Day. We’ll try to help with a few ideas to clear it out before we transition next week into the most festive holiday cooking marathon of the year: Christmas. I wish all of you a Happy Thanksgiving, filled with the comfort of family, food and fellowship. Special thoughts and prayers will be said for those of you who are missing loved ones around the table this year. I know what that’s like. By Sherrie Norris
November 23, 2021. The following are recent obituary notices from Austin and Barnes and Hampton funeral homes in Boone and Reins-Sturdivant in Newland.
November 23, 2021. Blowing Rock’s traditional Christmas celebrations are back this weekend with plenty of fun on Friday and Saturday. Each year on the Friday after Thanksgiving, Blowing Rock invites residents and visitors to come out and be a part of the Lighting of the Town on Friday followed by the annual Christmas Parade on Saturday. Events begin at noon on Friday with a chance to get your photo made with Santa Clause until 3 p.m. Carnival games in Memorial Park start at 1:30 p.m. and will last until 4 p.m. Live music begins at 2 p.m. and will continue through 6:30 p.m. The main event of the evening will be the Lighting of the Town at 5:30 p.m. All events will be held at Memorial Park. By Harley Nefe
November 23, 2021. Tweetsie Railroad kicked off its magical holiday experience for guests as Tweetsie Christmas began its holiday tradition again this past weekend. “We are very excited to celebrate the holidays and make memories. This is the fifth year we’ve lit up the park and fired up our historic steam locomotive for Tweetsie Christmas,” said Cathy Robbins, Director of Marketing. Tweetsie Christmas will open select nights from November 19 through December 30. The park will be closed on Thanksgiving Eve, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve. The entire event calendar and details can be viewed at tweetsie.com
November 23, 2021. The Appalachian Theatre of the High Country (ATHC) will kick off their holiday programming with a 3 p.m. matinee concert on December 5 featuring Darin and Brooke Aldridge and their bluegrass band. With roots in the High Country (Avery County, in fact,) this husband-and-wife team promise inspired bluegrass just in time for the holidays. “Christmas with Darin and Brooke Aldridge” is a live and in-person concert is sponsored by Mast General Store. The Aldridge’s have placed several tracks at the top of the charts on Roots, SiriusXM, Bluegrass and Gospel charts. They have received multiple nominations from the International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) and Inspirational Country Music (ICM). Their music videos “Wildflower,” “Tennessee Flat Top Box,” and most recently, “Every Time You Leave,” all of which were heavily featured on media outlets including CMT, CMT Edge, GAC, Bluegrass Ridge TV and The Bluegrass Situation. Television appearances include PBS, Great American Gospel, The Bluegrass Road, RFD-TV, Blue Highways TV, Songs of the Mountain, Woodsongs, Larry’s Country Diner and Music City Roots.
November 23, 2021. Sen. Deanna Ballard (R-Watauga) secured critical improvements for Watauga, Ashe, Alleghany, Surry, and Wilkes counties in the compromise state budget approved by the General Assembly and signed by the Governor this week. The compromise state budget reflects considerable concessions to Democrats.
November 23, 2021. budget, signed into law by Gov. Cooper on November 18, includes $500,000 for the Middle Fork Greenway and $150,000 for the Watauga River Paddle Trail. Also in the budget is $50,000 for a Natural Heritage Program study of the Northern Peaks Trail corridor, which will help map the trail with minimal impact on rare plants and animals.
November 23, 2021. Grandfather Mountain is widely known for its lofty heights, offering guests a breathtaking vantage point to the natural world. But with the forthcoming opening of the park’s brand new Wilson Center for Nature Discovery, guests’ experience on the mountain will soar above and beyond the Mile High Swinging Bridge. The new facility is officially “under roof” and is expected to open in spring 2022. Under construction since fall 2019, the Wilson Center — part of an all new Conservation Campus — will nearly double the size of the park’s current Nature Museum with 10,000 square feet of education space, including state-of-the-art museum exhibits, three classrooms, restoration of the ADA-accessible auditorium, enhanced food service facilities to allow for catering and serving educational groups, and expanded capacity for hosting conferences, seminars, receptions and community events.
November 23, 2021. For those who need a little Christmas this holiday season, the Blue Ridge Mountain town of Banner Elk is the place to be the first weekend of December. The town’s three-day celebration known as A Small Town Christmas takes place Dec. 3-5, offering visitors a traditional holiday getaway wrapped in small-town charm.
November 23, 2021. Now in its sixth season, Boone’s Winter Farmers’ Market is returning for the 2021-2022 season to offer delicious healthy, fresh local foods and products all winter long! The farmers’ market will operate from 9:00AM-12:00PM Saturdays from December through March at the Watauga Agricultural Conference Center. We now have 33 vendors, which puts us at capacity, while last season we had around 20! We are also happy to announce that we’ll be hosting more special events and weekly kids’ activities!
November 22, 2021. Members of Watauga High School’s Interact Club spent last weekend working to split, stack and deliver firewood to families in need of heating fuel for the coming winter. The group partnered with members of Boone United Methodist Church’s Firewood Ministry to complete the day of service. Susan Irving, a business and marketing teacher at WHS who acts as the club’s advisor, said the Interact Club is a Boone Sunrise Rotary-partnered organization with 40 student members that works on two service projects each month, one that benefits their school community and one that helps the community at large. Irving said student officers in the club select a project each month that others can volunteer to participate in. For this month’s project, the Interact Club’s Social Media Manager Anna Grace Anderson chose to collaborate with the BUMC Firewood Ministry.
November 22, 2021. Carlton Gallery’s 39th Winter Group Exhibition and Small Works begins with a Holiday Open House on November 26 and 27 from 10 to 5. This exhibition offers fine art in Paintings, Glass, Sculpture, Wood, Clay Jewelry and Wearable Fiber by the local and regional artisans the gallery represents. Landscape paintings by Egidio Antonaccio depict Winter scenes with snow and the season’s light and shadows, while watercolor paintings by Freeman Beard ‘s show the beauty and stillness of Winter. Local artist, Egidio Antonaccio, paints realistic impressionist landscapes which express his love of nature and the scenic vistas of the High Country.
November 21, 2021. Appalachian State offense exploded by scoring the last 42 points versus homestanding Troy University and the Mountaineers defense held the Trojans scoreless the last 51-plus minutes of the game enroute to a 45-7 Sun Belt Conference romp Saturday afternoon at Veterans Memorial Stadium in Troy, Alabama. With the victory, the Mountaineers clinched the Sun Belt East Division title outright and a spot in the December 4 league championship game at West Division champion Louisiana-Lafayette. By Tim Gardner
November 21, 2021. The Beaver Moon partial lunar eclipse began early Friday morning, which meant the moon passed into the shadow of the Earth, resulting in a red-brown hue covering the moon. Local photographer Todd Bush took this occurrence as an opportunity to leave in the early hours to attempt to capture the event at his favorite mountain — Grandfather Mountain. Running on only a couple of hours of sleep, he arrived at the parking lot for the Mile High Swinging Bridge around 3 a.m. Friday and found “crazy high winds with car-rocking, knock-stuff-over gusts.”
November 20, 2021. An Avery County man has been charged with murder exactly one week following the death of an Avery County female native along with two additional charges. According to a press release Friday evening, November 19 by Tim Barnett, Chief of Police for the Town of Beech Mountain, the Beech Mountain Police and the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation have been investigating the death of Betsy Dellinger as reported on November 12, 2021. The press release further revealed that as a result of the investigation, Levi Hicks, age 33 of Elk Park in Avery County, has been charged with one count of Murder, one count of Felony Possession of a Stolen Motor Vehicle and one count of Felony Possession of Methamphetamine. By Tim Gardner
November 20, 2021. On Friday Appalachian State University announced the purchase of a 225,800-square-foot building to establish the App State Hickory Campus in the state’s largest metro area without a public university. The former Corning Optical Communications building at 800 17th St. NW in Hickory is five stories and is larger than any building on App State’s Boone campus. The building sits on 15.7 acres of land and features large open spaces, a cafeteria and nearly 700 parking spaces. Recognizing that App State’s growth potential in Boone is limited, the university has been looking for areas that have growth capacity and market potential for both on-campus and online programs. The Hickory-Lenoir-Morganton Metro Area — with a population of more than 370,000 — was identified as the largest metro area in North Carolina without a state university presence.
November 19, 2021. Skaters in the High Country have been able to check out the recently opened Boone Greenway Skatepark after phase one of the project was finished. The skatepark was opened on Saturday, November 13. “We worked hard these past years raising money, we got a good grant and we got enough funding raised to get the first phase complete. It is open and in use,” said J.P. Pardy, an avid skater who owns and operates Recess Skate & Snow on Highway 105 in Boone. “I don’t think I’ve been there when there wasn’t somebody out there even at 8 a.m. From the start of the day to the end of the day, somebody is using it.” Even with a delay in fundraising and construction due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the skatepark idea kept finding supporters and money to make this dream become a reality. One of the biggest contributions to the project came through a $72,500 grant from North Carolina Parks and Recreation that matched the amount of money raised by the community at that time in September of 2020. Pardy has been a major advocate for the skatepark over the last few years, including volunteering his time to help the town apply for that state grant early in 2020. The Town of Boone has also been supportive of the project, donating the land that the skatepark is being constructed on as well as $25,000 towards the project. Overall, the first phase of the project cost $150,000. By Nathan Ham
November 19, 2021. Beech Mountain Resort implemented several upgrades for the 2021-22 ski season to allow plenty of space for guests to enjoy the great outdoors, whether on the snow or just relaxing. The core of the alpine village at the base of the slopes has been transformed into a park-like plaza. A pavilion and social area with multiple fire pits replaces the ice-skating rink (which returns in the future to a new location). The renovation adds several outdoor seating areas connected by walkways, a direct response to people’s changing preferences in the wake of the pandemic. A bit closer to the slopes, in the area between the Lodge and ski school, a new food & beverage outlet debut. Play Yard Provisions is a “snack shack” for warm food, hot chocolate, coffee and cold drinks. Guests can purchase items to grab and go, or eat on the Lodge deck without setting foot inside.
November 19, 2021. This week’s road matchup against Troy has a little extra on the line for Appalachian State. With a victory, the Mountaineers would clinch a spot in the Sun Belt Championship Game where they would face Louisiana on December 4. Appalachian (8-2, 5-1 SBC) comes into this week off of a 31-7 victory over South Alabama at home last week. Chase Brice completed 14-of-26 passes for 195 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions. He also added a rushing touchdown and 17 yards on the ground. Thomas Hennigan led the team in catches with five of them for 37 yards and a touchdown. Corey Sutton had three receptions for 34 yards and a touchdown. Jalen Virgil had the most receiving yards with 57 on two catches. Malik Williams added one catch for 50 yards. On the ground, Camerun Peoples led the Mountaineers with 90 yards on 23 carries. Nate Noel was held in check with just seven carries for 22 yards. By Nathan Ham