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2013 Watauga Home & Garden Tour Will Feature Several Properties in Scenic Valle Crucis

June 10, 2013. The 2013 Watauga County Home & Garden Tour will feature seven total properties in the scenic Valle Crucis community, including both very large and very small homes, two active bed-and-breakfast establishments, and a valley-floor garden locally famous for sharing its produce.

Tour tickets (more information below) will include lunch, which will be served at the Valle Crucis Community Park. The tour hours will be 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and is go-at-your-own-pace and self-guided. Ticket-holders will be given a map and instructions.

Among the tour properties are two very large homes owned, respectively, by Holly and Chase Ambler and Melanie Bullard and Randy Waters. The Ambler house contains seven bedrooms in the main building with a detached garage/apartment. It sits on four acres in the heart of Valle Crucis with long-range mountain views.

The Bullard-Waters colonial salt-box is a story of reclamation and restoration, as the home had sat empty for several years before the owners acquired it. They began evicting the invasive wildlife, plugging holes in the roof, and restoring the gardens. With 75 acres of surrounding landscape, this house has the air of a true country estate.

imgres-1The smallest house by far on the tour is the whimsically named “Le Mansion,” a vacation get-away of only 650-square-feet which shows a creative flair for maximizing available space and for using the adjoining garden areas as outside “rooms.” This house sits directly on the banks of the Watauga River and features a covered belvedere beside the river.

Also directly on the Watauga River is the home of Sandra Oldendorf, an 1,800-square-foot rustic log cabin with many custom touches including an open staircase to the second floor, built-in cabinets, and oak, maple, birch, hickory, cedar, pine, and fir used in the walls and floors. The garden was originally landscaped to include edible plants, raised beds, strawberries, flowers, and an 8-foot fence to foil the deer.

The garden of Francis and Sibyl Pressly also features a quite successful deer fence to protect Sibyl’s riot of summer flowers and Francis’s successive plantings of many different vegetables. Sibyl and Francis are known locally for generously sharing the products of their garden with the local community.

The Inn at Little Pond Farm and the Lazy Bear Lodge are two actively operating bed-and-breakfasts in the valley with contrasting styles and amenities. The Inn at Little Pond Farm has expanded on a restored 1900-period farmhouse, redecorated in a French country style, and features a culinary school in its expansive kitchen where master-chef cooking demonstrations occur on a regular basis during the summer. In fact, ticket-holders need to have cleared this site by 3 p.m. to make way for a cooking-school event.

The Lazy Bear Lodge was designed and built specifically as a small, five-guest-room hotel with a spa room, private balconies with valley views, wide porches, and a plethora of world-wide antiques that the owners have gathered in their travels. The woodland landscaping features a water course that falls into a koi pond, meandering walks with secluded seating areas, and lush summer flowers.


Tickets to the Home & Garden Tour are $25 each, which includes lunch (with vegetarian option), and must be purchased in advance. Tickets are available at the Appalachian Antique Mall in downtown Boone, at the Watauga County Farmers Market on Saturday mornings, or you may call 828-264-9955 or 828-262-5119 or write [email protected]. The tour is organized and sponsored by the Watauga County Democratic Party, and all proceeds go to support the party.