January 25, 2024 The final word on 2023. Today we’re looking at the final numbers for 2023 for High Country Real Estate (Allegheny, Ashe, Avery & Watauga counties). All data, as usual, comes from the High Country Association of REALTORS Multiple Listing Service. There were a total of 2051 residential sales in 2023. That’s an average of 170.9 sales per month. Of course, if you’ve been following Real Estate in the High Country, you know some months it was well into the 200s and some months well below the 170 mark. By Andrew Plyler, REALTOR
December 12, 2023 BOONE — The ninth annual WYN Festival of Trees lit up the High Country beginning in mid-November, with brightly decorated Christmas trees and wreaths displayed in retail outlets, restaurants, hotels, dealerships and businesses across Watauga, Avery and Ashe Counties. By Jan Todd
October 20, 2023 There are many arts and craft festivals that take place across the High Country, especially in the summer, and at these events, there are various vendors who are excited to share their creations with others. Anything from drawing, pottery, tie dye, woodwork, jewelry, and more gives consumers lots to explore and appreciate. Ashe County resident Jessica Russell is just one local artist in the area; however, her products are more than just materialistic items – each piece holds a slice of history and a part of her personal story. By Harley Nefe
August 31, 2023 From Deep South juke joints to international venues to outdoor stages here in the High Country, the King Bees have been belting the blues for 36 — or maybe 37 — years. “I’m no good with dates,” said Penny “Queen Bee” Zamagni, lead singer of the renowned band she began with her husband, Rob “Hound Dog” Baskerville in the mid-1980s. The two have traveled the world sharing their American roots music, recording and touring in European capitals and across the United States, playing with blues icons, and appearing at New York’s famed Lincoln Center — but they always come back to Ashe County and the mountains they call home. By Jan Todd
August 3, 2023 Summer is for fun! Vacation! Enjoyment! Easy living! Trips to the beach and the river. Go to the park. Take a trip to the zoo. Take the kids on a picnic. Take the grandkids to a parade. Live it up! August is the last full month of summer and the start of school is looming. Frankly, in my world, once Labor Day hits, the rest of the year is a blur. By Hope Harvey, REALTOR
July 14, 2023 A recent report from Showing Time said that the U.S. Real Estate Market is facing mixed trends with an overall decline in existing home sales and a rise in home prices in certain regions. That is true with the market here in the High Country as we see sales down 16.2 percent compared to this same time last year.
July 3, 2023 Fifteen years ago, the Minford family was vacationing in Florida, looking for an outdoor activity they could enjoy together. There was a disc golf course nearby, and they decided to give it a try. “We had the best time,” said Jeri Minford, mother of three sons. When they returned home to Boone, her husband Rich started talking about designing their own disc golf course on their hundred-acre Christmas tree farm — located on Sugar Mountain off of Highway 181 between Linville and Newland. By Jan Todd
June 26, 2023 Find women doing outstanding work in their field via Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture, a female-led organization dedicated to fostering a sustainable and fair food scene in the High Country. To do this, the organization bolsters local producers and creates connections among the community that contribute to knowledge and excitement of eating farm-grown food—ultimately upping the local demand and desire for local fare. By Anna Beth Adcock
May 30, 2023 When strolling the streets of downtown West Jefferson, there’s a hidden gem of a business that visitors may miss if they don’t look closely – a place where imaginations run wild and paranormal beliefs are discovered. By Harley Nefe
May 24, 2023 Jefferson, NC– If you are looking for a fun filled day with family and friends, while learning about safety and interacting with emergency personnel and law enforcement, this is the event for you! The Ashe County Safety Day is an educational event that is free and open to all ages – families included! The event will be held Saturday, June 3rd from 10am to 2pm at the Ashe County High School.
April 27, 2023 On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic. Three years later, communities are still seeing the lasting effects of that global event. However, since then, groups have been emerging to overcome the challenges. By Harley Nefe
March 9, 2023 In the High Country Real Estate Market four-county area of Alleghany, Ashe, Avery, and Watauga counties the High Country MLS reports during February 129 Closed Sales of Residential Single Family, Condo/Townhouse properties. Those sales came to a combined total of $61.1 million. The Median Sales Price was $372,250, just over what the National Association of Realtors® reports the median for the nation, at $359,000. Median Days on Market for February shows 68 days. All these numbers are very similar to this same time last year where we saw 166 closed sales with a median sales price of $392,500.00 and 64 median days on market.
September 17, 2022 BOONE, N.C. — Watauga High School Principal Chris Blanton speculated after the Sept. 16 “Homecoming” football game that it was probably the largest crowd at least in the Pioneer grandstands in quite some time. And, by the way, they had a lot to cheer about with Boone’s favorite sons running away with a 55-21 win over regional rival, Ashe County. By David Rogers for HighCountrySports.net
July 13, 2022 On Monday, Governor Cooper signed into law the new state budget. The budget contains exceptional news for the North Carolina Land and Water Fund (NCLWF) and the Parks and Recreation Trust Fund (PARTF). Both will now receive $24.2 million annually, essentially doubling their annual appropriation. Blue Ridge Conservancy (BRC) will receive a $950,000 appropriation for the Middle Fork Greenway (MFG) to develop the Boone Gorge Park, and
$100,000 for the development of Paddy Mountain Park in Ashe County, a cooperative project of BRC, the Town of West Jefferson, and Ashe County.
July 6, 2022 West Jefferson’s Ashe Civic Center will come to life when singer, songwriter, and musician Clint Roberts takes the stage on Saturday, July 9. Roberts hails from Asheville, and his combination of Folk, Americana, and Roots-rock music will have something for everyone to enjoy. Roberts was born and raised in Brevard and went to school at App State for an extensive time before moving to Asheville. “This is my first show coming back to the App State area. I know it’s Ashe County, but it’s my first time coming back to West Jefferson, and it’s great to come back,” Roberts said. “It’s been a long time since I have come to the High Country of Western North Carolina. I wanted to come back because there’s a sense of home with it being my college town. I spent some time in West Jefferson myself, and I think it’s really beautiful there. I figured it’s about that time to start going back to where a lot of my musical roots came from.” By Harley Nefe
May 20, 2022. Ashe County Habitat for Humanity received a $25,000 donation from a runner in the Blue Ridge Relay, which is an annual event that passes through Ashe County every fall. After running parts of the Relay through the county and meeting Habitat volunteers helping with the race over the past few years, he began to feel a connection with Ashe County. The donor runner, who wishes to remain anonymous, was impressed with the work of the mostly volunteer-run affiliate and knows his money will help increase the organization’s impact on the affordable housing shortage in the county. His donation will help break ground and lay the foundations for the next two homes in the Hickory Hill community, speeding up Habitat’s ability to build decent, affordable homes in partnership with hard-working Ashe County families.
March 3, 2022 Blue Ridge Conservancy (BRC) recently transferred 217 acres to Pond Mountain Game Land in Ashe County managed by the NC Wildlife Resources Commission (WRC). The property will create a new public access to the game land bringing the total access points to four. Located on the southern slopes of Pond Mountain with elevations reaching 4,200 feet, this property protects the headwaters of Big Laurel Creek, classified as “Outstanding Resource Waters” and “Trout Waters” by the NC Division of Water Resources. It is located in the Pond Mountain Natural Heritage Area protecting significant natural communities and wildlife habitat.
January 25, 2022. Hunter Joel Radford, 22, of Crumpler was arrested and charged with three counts of trafficking opium or heroin and felony possession of marijuana, according to Ashe County Sheriff B. Phil Howell. On Wednesday, January 19, Ashe County Deputies along with the North Carolina Highway Patrol initiated a stop on a vehicle in Glendale Springs. Officers identified Radford as one of the passengers and during the traffic stop, officers located 40 grams of Fentanyl. Detectives with the Ashe County Sheriff’s Office, North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation, Boone Police Department, Watauga County Sheriff’s Office, Alexander County Sheriff’s Office, Mooresville Police Department and the Department of Homeland Security were conducting an investigation on Radford.
January 4, 2022. High Country residents outside of Boone now have another location where they can pick up food orders placed through the High Country Food Hub. Starting on Wednesday, January 5, residents in Ashe County will be able to get their high-quality, locally-sourced food orders at the Ashe County Public Library in downtown West Jefferson. “Over the last several years, we’ve recognized that more people would love to access fresh, healthy local food, but that it’s just not convenient. The pandemic shed new light on this situation,” said Katie Cavert Ferrell, the Satellite Coordinator for the High Country Food Hub. Ferrell said that orders increased by as much as seven times the normal volume from February through May of 2020. “However, when stay-at-home orders ended, many customers found it hard to make it to the Food Hub’s downtown Boone location. We had significant interest in having more pickup locations outside of Boone, and so the idea of satellite locations hatched,” Ferrell said. “That’s when the Food Hub found support from the Golden LEAF Foundation and the Conservation Fund to purchase a delivery vehicle, hire additional staff and build out an additional walk-in cooler. Ashe County is a natural place for us to expand our delivery operations and will be our fourth satellite location to open since August 2021.” By Nathan Ham
October 21, 2021. For the third time, Ashe County tree farmers Rusty and Beau Estes will be providing the Christmas Tree that will be displayed in The Blue Room of the White House this year. The 18.5-foot-tall Fraser fir tree was chosen by White House Grounds Superintendent Dale Haney on Wednesday morning at Peak Farms, owned by the Estes family. Rusty and his son Beau provided the Christmas tree for President George W. Bush in 2008 and President Barack Obama in 2012. Peak Farms also supplied the tree for Vice President Mike Pence in 2018. This is the 56th year that the National Christmas Tree Association has presented the official White House Christmas tree. Each year, growers enter a contest where growers, experts and consumers vote on who will provide the official tree. Rusty and Beau advanced through the competition by competing among other North Carolina Christmas tree growers. In August, they competed in the national contest with growers from all across the country and they were chosen as Grand Champion. By Nathan Ham
October 20, 2021. On Monday, October 18, at approximately 7:15 p.m., the NC State Highway Patrol responded to and investigated a fatal collision in Ashe County on US 221 near Shatley Road in Jefferson. A 2005 Honda CRV was traveling south on US 221, drove left of center, and collided head-on with a northbound 1988 Ford Mustang. The initial investigation indicates the driver of the Ford swerved to the left in an attempt to avoid the Honda. The driver of the Honda, William Calhoun, 65, of Laurel Springs, was seriously injured and transported to the hospital by medical helicopter. The driver of the Ford, Hunter Luther, 23, of Jefferson, was not injured. The front seat passenger, Harley Marie Taylor, 22, of Jefferson, succumbed to her injuries at the scene. The rear seat passenger, Bentley Taylor, 3, was transported to Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem with critical injuries but died early Tuesday morning. Bentley was the child of Harley Taylor, and he was properly restrained in a car seat. Neither Luther nor Taylor were restrained by a seatbelt.
August 17, 2021. Music fans from all across the region are invited to the small community of Grassy Creek in Ashe County during Labor Day weekend to enjoy the North Carolina Mountain’s only celebration of authentic Blues hits from legendary artists with the return of the New River Blues Festival. Claimed as “one of the top 10 ways to spend Labor Day” by Our State Magazine, the annual New River Blues Festival will be celebrating its 19th year on Sunday, September 5 at the River House Inn, which is just a short, scenic ride away from nearby Jefferson and West Jefferson. “It’s a relaxing drive and an adventure to get there, and that’s what we like about it,” said Rob Baskerville, who is a member of the band The King Bees and is happy to be back again this year presenting the New River Blues Festival. By Harley Nefe
January 4, 2021 Ashe County Sheriff B. Phil Howell announces the arrest of a Reginald Steve Elledge for the shooting death of Leonicio Ramos Guerrero in the Fleetwood area. At approximately 7:40 P.M. on Saturday, January 2, Ashe County 911 Dispatch received a call advising that an adult male had just shot another adult male at a home in the 400 block of Little Gap Road. The caller advised telecommunicators that the suspect shot the victim and fled the scene in a white Ford Explorer Sport Trac. Law enforcement officers were given a description of the suspect’s vehicle. West Jefferson Police Officer Mike Miller observed a vehicle matching the description pull into the parking lot of Lowe’s hardware in West Jefferson where Miller was able to stop the vehicle and take Elledge into custody without incident.
August 27, 2020. The Avery County Chamber of Commerce announced its Avery Chamber Golf Classic, which is a fall golf tournament to benefit the Avery County Chamber of Commerce. The morning event will be hosted by the Mountain Glen Golf Club on Friday, Oct. 16 in Newland. The price of registration is $140 per player and $560 per four-player team. The cost to be a hole sponsor is $100. The format of the play is scramble, in which everyone plays and moves to the best ball played. The 2020 Avery Chamber Gold Classic is sponsored by SkyLine SkyBest & Carolina West Wireless. The team player gifts are sponsored by The Lodges at Eagles Nest. The breakfast goodies and box lunches are sponsored by Stonewalls & Crossnore School & Children’s Home. The on-course activities are sponsored by Friendship Honda of Boone. By Harley Nefe
May 6, 2020 Ashe County Sheriff B. Phil Howell announced the successful end to an early morning multi-agency manhunt in the Baldwin area which eventually netted the arrest of two suspects on narcotics charges and outstanding warrants. At approximately 5:30 A.M. on Tuesday, May 5, 2020 detectives from the Ashe County Sheriff’s Office initiated a traffic stop in the 400 block of NC Hwy 194 South in the Baldwin community of Ashe County. Detectives immediately, and without incident, arrested the female passenger of the vehicle but the male driver of the vehicle fled the traffic stop on foot, sparking a manhunt. Law enforcement officers from the Ashe County Sheriff’s Office, the West Jefferson Police Department and the Jefferson Police Department immediately responded to the scene and set up in strategic locations in an attempt to contain the suspect in the area.