December 14, 2023 Sugar Mountain Ski Resort, North Carolina.
Wednesday, 13, 2023. – At Appalachian Ski Mtn. earlier today the North Carolina Ski Areas Association (NCSAA) announced the findings of an economic value analysis study of the North Carolina’s snowsports industry. The study, conducted during the 2022-23 winter season, found that North Carolina’s six ski areas, Appalachian Ski Mtn., Beech Mountain Resort, Cataloochee Ski Area, Hatley Pointe Ski Resort, Sapphire Valley Ski Area, and Sugar Mountain Resort generated a $244.3 million annual economic boom to rural communities scattered up and down the state’s mountainous western border and along the highest peaks of the Appalachian Mountain range, within the short window of four months.
December 14, 2023 Sugar Mountain Ski Resort, North Carolina.
October 25, 2023 Life can be rather uncanny in the way that at times, some things seem to come “full circle.” For about 40 years, our family (James and Cheryl, and then later to include our sons Jimmy and Jason) attended our favorite mountain crafts festival in Valle Crucis, NC. We all very much loved the crafts, the food, and the people, and looked forward to this special Fall event every year. This annual event is sponsored as a fundraiser by the Church Of the Holy Cross, an historic Episcopal Church in the center of Valle Crucis. Each year, we would see which local non-profit organizations were recognized and supported by these activities.
October 4, 2023 The High Country Breast Cancer Foundation is excited to announce the 5K Run for Breast Cancer Awareness, scheduled to take place on October 28, 2023. This event is a significant step in our ongoing mission to raise awareness and to provide support to local breast cancer patients and their families.The High Country Breast Cancer Foundation has been serving our community for 7 years, supporting individuals and families affected by breast cancer. Our commitment to this cause is unwavering, and the 5K Run is a testament to our dedication to making a difference.
September 25, 2023 WCNC-TV Chief Meteorologist Brad Panovich spoke at Grandfather Mountain Sept. 21 as part of the organization’s Grandfather Presents speaker series.Prior to the evening event at Grandfather Mountain, Panovich visited Newland Elementary where he spoke to kindergarteners through fifth graders.
June 29, 2023 Santa is on summer vacation. He will be HIKING through the Beech Mountain Farmers’ Market on Friday, July 7th. Come visit Santa from 4 – 6pm and learn what he loves to do on the mountain. FREE photo opportunities and children’s activity area.
PLUS…35 vendors will showcase their local fresh organic produce, honey, baked goods, ice cream, plants, flowers, microgreens, gourmet dog treats, art, homemade crafts, jewelry, body and hemp products, farm raised beef/poultry/eggs and much more.
May 25, 2023 BOONE, N.C. — National Geographic Society CEO Jill Tiefenthaler will give the keynote address at the 2023 Appalachian Energy Summit, hosted by Appalachian State University’s Office of Sustainability on Wednesday, June 7, at 7:30 p.m. at the Schaefer Center for the Performing Arts.The talk is free and open to the public, with reserved tickets available at the Schaefer Center box office. Attendees are encouraged to secure their tickets early.
May 3, 2023 Spruce Pine, NC – There’s something breathtaking and awe-inspiring about driving through the mountains of western North Carolina, nature herself showing that she is the original artist.It doesn’t matter if you live up the hill or across the state, the Toe River Arts Studio Tour, June 2-4, 2023, provides an adventure for the intrepid seeker of the art experience. The art is as diverse as the artists with the tour featuring the work of glassblowers, jewelers, printmakers, potters, fiber artists, ironworkers, painters, sculptors, and woodworkers.
May 1, 2023 On Thursday, May 4, Christians around the country will be gathering to observe National Day of Prayer, held each year on the first Thursday of May, with a focus on prayer for our nation and its leadership. This year’s theme is “Pray Fervently In Righteousness And Avail Much,” based on scripture found in James 5:16. By Sherrie Norris
January 31, 2023 With ringing in the new year, there is a lot of focus on resolutions – especially when it comes to wellness and its eight dimensions: financial, vocational, intellectual, social, environmental, spiritual, emotional, and physical. And there is a locally owned Avery County yoga studio that believes in the holistic and multidimensional approach to wellness and strives to provide an inclusive safe space for people of all ages. By Harley Nefe
January 12, 2023 BOONE, N.C. — Propelled by an enthusiastic reception in its inaugural year, the Boonerang Music & Arts Festival today announces its music lineup for the second annual free community event presented by the Town of Boone and supporting partners. The festival returns to downtown Boone Thursday through Saturday, June 15-17.
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.”
July 26, 2021. Many people gathered in Blowing Rock on Friday to attend the highly-anticipated event of the summer, the 34th annual Symphony by the Lake at Chetola Resort. The return of the beloved event after last year’s symphony was canceled brought forth lots of smiling faces to be seen as friends had the opportunity to reunite with each other. This year’s theme was Music from around the World, and uplifting music filled the atmosphere. With beautiful weather as well, it was hard to ask for a better day for the musical symphony. Longtime photographer Lonnie Webster captured some great photos of the event that he was willing to share with the High Country Press.
May 12, 2021 As Watauga County and the High Country continue to grieve in the wake of the events of April 28, the community has been displaying blue ribbons and shining blue lights in observance of Sgt. Chris Ward and K-9 Deputy Logan Fox. Here are a couple photos from Tuesday night showing the welcome to Boone sign and the Watauga County Administration Building.
February 15, 2021 Photo contributor Tara Diamond shared this photo of heart shaped rocks she has been collecting from the California coast for the past several years. For Valentine’s Day she arranged them for a photo to share with her friends – and now with our readers.
November 3, 2020 President Donald Trump stopped in Hickory to speak at a ‘Make America Great Again’ campaign event on Sunday, Nov. 1, which will be one of his last election rallies during his presidency. Trump Campaign officials made the announcement of the rally just a day before it took place. This event followed Vice President Mike Pence’s visit to Boone to attend a Sunday worship service at Alliance Bible Fellowship on the same day. By Harley Nefe
October 23, 2020 While there are some colors still hanging around in areas of the High Country, the place to be in the next week are areas with an elevation at 3,000 feet and below, according to the latest update from Dr. Howard S. Neufeld, Appalachian State’s own Fall Leaf Guy. “I think you will have one more good week and the next weekend to see good colors in the High Country. After that, you’ll have to focus on sites located at lower elevations, like Stone Mt. State Park, Chimney Rock State Park, Hanging Rock State Park, and Gorges State Park. The Smokies should also be good this week and next, as will be places north on the Parkway up into Virginia,” said Dr. Neufeld. “Once you get above 3,500 feet though, the colors quickly drop out and by 4,000 feet, most of the leaves are gone or barely hanging on.” Some leaves have been able to hang on to their color a little longer than usual due to the unseasonably warm temperatures this week according to Neufeld. By Nathan Ham
October 23, 2020 Ski season is just around the corner and the Alpine Ski Shop is ready for customers with the 23rd year of its annual preseason sale. The sale began last Friday and will continue through Sunday, October 25. “The response from our customers has been extremely positive and there has been lots of excitement about getting on the slopes this winter! We have made numerous changes this year to be COVID compliant to make things safe for our staff and customers for our preseason sale,” said Brenda Speckmann, who operates the ski shop. Each year, the Preseason Sale and Swap at the Alpine Ski Shop is located in the downstairs lobby at the base lodge. The sale offers customers some great deals on clothing, ski and snowboard equipment, and accessories. By Nathan Ham
October 19, 2020 In a winner-take-all virtual woolly worm race Saturday afternoon, it appears that we could be in for a cold and snowy start to the 2020-21 winter season. The two leading sponsors for the annual Woolly Worm Festival, the Avery County Chamber of Commerce and the Kiwanis Club of Banner Elk, each had one worm competing for the top spot, the Chamber Charger and the Kiwanis Kicker. Even with the annual festival being canceled because of COVID-19, the race had to go on. “We use this festival not only to raise money for the Kiwanis Club and Avery Chamber, but the winning worm is used to predict the winter weather,” said Adam Binder, who handled the play-by-play call for the race. “One of the most important things and one of the biggest reasons why it was so difficult to cancel this festival is that we raise about $125,000 and that goes back into the community. Half of that money is used by the Kiwanis Club and we give Woolly Worm grants and the Avery County Chamber of Commerce uses the funds to promote tourism in our area so losing a festival for a small county and a small town like this is very serious. Obviously, there was no question with what is going on, having that many people together was not the right thing to do.” By Nathan Ham
October 14, 2020 A new business startup created by an Appalachian State alumnus hopes to boost technology careers and help start businesses right here in the High Country. Robert Huddleston, a member of Appalachian State’s graduating class of 2000, moved back to Boone about two and a half years ago and brought along with him his own IT consulting company, Avoda Group, from Raleigh. “We moved it here because we wanted to see if we could chase App State students and bring them on board, train them up in Cloud Technology and get them in our consulting group,” Huddleston explained. Not long after this came the idea of Boone Underground, a 4,000-square-foot facility on State Farm Road with modern technological upgrades to offer clients meeting spaces, high-speed internet, private desks, and numerous valuable resources to develop business plans and ideas. By Nathan Ham
August 28, 2020 The App State football team led a peaceful protest against racial injustice through downtown Boone and the college campus on Friday evening that began around 5:30 p.m. Members of the team carried a sign at the front of the group that read, “End injustice together.” This is the same message the App State Football Facebook account posted on its page Thursday. The App State football team also posted a video on its Instagram page where App State defensive lineman Elijah Diarrassouba said, “And if we’re going to do it, we got to do it together, and I’m not just speaking about Black athletes, I’m speaking on behalf of the Black community because we are struggling right now.” By Harley Nefe
August 28, 2020 Beech Mountain’s recreation center has a new name honoring two of the town’s most avid supporters. The Buckeye Recreation Center is now known as the Fred and Marjorie Pfohl Buckeye Recreation Center after a surprise event honoring Fred and the memory of his late wife Margie. “It was a great surprise. There are a lot of other people that deserve similar and there are a lot of other people that got me to the point I got to. I’ll accept the honor for all of the folks that have helped make Beech Mountain what it is,” said Fred. “I’ve enjoyed the Buckeye Rec Center, I was around when it was built and I helped initially with a lot of different things. Fred remembers back to when the recreation center was completed, the parking lot doubled as a basketball court and they started adding landscaping and planting to make the area stand out even more. By Nathan Ham
August 28, 2020 A newly-paved scenic drive will connect people in Beech Mountain to neighboring Tennessee much quicker and easier than in years past after Thursday’s special ribbon cutting celebrating the paving of Buckeye Creek Road. The 2.7-mile road has 40 curves and takes drivers across the back of Beech Mountain into Tennessee near Watauga Lake. This project has been discussed multiple times in years past, but finally happened this summer. “At one time the DOT wanted to extend N.C. 184 through here and they said they’d pave it, but there were people that didn’t think that was best at the time,” said longtime Beech Mountain resident and business owner, Fred Pfohl. “Now it’s all done and it’s wonderful. We’ve got the town council and especially Bob Pudney (town manager) to thank for all of this. This road got paved in such a short period of time it was amazing.” By Nathan Ham
August 12, 2020 The Gamekeeper Restaurant will officially reopen on Wednesday night with a new deck, additional outdoor seating, and a beautiful new rock retaining wall to add to the rugged look that so many customers have become accustomed to over the year. Owners Ken and Wendy Gordon are excited to reopen and see their favorite customers and hopefully some new guests that want to venture out and try the unique food offerings at The Gamekeeper. “All the wonderful things we have wanted to do for 20 years, we finally did them,” Ken said. “It never seemed to be the right month and when it was the right month, it was always wet and rainy.” The downtime from the COVID-19 pandemic allowed crews to come in and be able to work through the spring and early summer to get the new looks completed. Nathan Ham
August 10, 2020 It took a little longer than expected, but the transition from the Louisiana Purchase to LP on Main in Banner Elk is finally complete for Laurie and Patrick Bagbey. LP on Main combines the storied history of the Louisiana Purchase restaurant and the Bagbey’s initials to create a new dining spot in the High Country. “It’s a spin on who we are and who we have grown to be and who we used to be,” said Laurie. “We have been a fixture in the Banner Elk community for three decades, going on four.” The Bagbeys previously owned Louisiana Purchase for 14 years and made the decision to close the location at the end of 2019 to focus on opening their new spot. LP on Main is located at 171 Main Street East in Banner Elk, which is about a block away from the old Louisiana Purchase location. By Nathan Ham
June 8, 2020 Once the crowd reached the Watauga County Courthouse, Raheim Andrews, a University of North Carolina at Charlotte student who organized the protest, led chants and spoke out to the group along with his family members and other individuals from the Boone community. Andy Le Beau, interim police chief of Boone Police Department spoke to the crowd and said, “It’s quite an honor to be asked to speak at a Black Lives Matter rally. It’s not only our duty, but our honor to facilitate all of you being able to express your First Amendment rights.” In addition to Le Beau, Reggie Hunt, pastor at Cornerstone Summit Church, and Toussaint Romain, deputy general counsel at Appalachian State University and civil rights activist also had their turns speaking to everyone. See the speakers of the event and the crowd’s reactions in the photos below. Photos by Ken Ketchie