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September 2023 High Country Magazine Has Arrived; Pick Up Your Copy Today!

Alac Wall and her family enjoy using their Tarpestry to lay out in the grass. Photo by Josh Floyd.

By Harley Nefe

The September 2023 edition of High Country Magazine, which is published by High Country Press Publications, is officially back from the printer and can be picked up in many locations across Ashe, Avery, and Watauga counties.

In this issue of High Country Magazine, we pay homage to our High Country Heroes by recognizing our local veterans, service organizations, and nonprofits. Included in this acknowledgement is the deep appreciation for our local first responders – law enforcement, firefighters, and EMT personnel – as well. On September 23, Ashe County will be supporting those who keep our community safe by celebrating its second annual Hometown Heroes Day. We at High Country Magazine invite you to participate in events around the area like this one honoring those who choose to serve our country.

Veterans present the American flag, folded 13 times, symbolizing many patriotic principles. Photo by Ashley Poore.

For months following September 11, 2001, people came together to grieve family, friends, and strangers. More than 20 years later, we still do. Sometimes called “Patriots Day” or “Day of Remembrance”, September 11 has become an annual day for many Americans to remember, reflect, honor, and mourn. As the 22nd anniversary of 9/11 comes around, High Country Magazine wants to pay tribute to the victims of the terror attacks and commemorate the sacrifices that were made that day as well as the united service that continues to be done by community members, first responders, and members of the armed forces and their families.

Joshua Biggers served several years in Afghanistan, Kuwait, and Kyrgyzstan.
Photo by Josh Floyd.

As the first day of fall approaches, there are many other events to look forward to, too. New River Conservancy is sponsoring the 41st Annual New River Canoe Race and Family Float – a long lasting tradition in Jefferson. And in speaking of traditions, the Autumn at Oz Festival on Beech Mountain is celebrating its 30th anniversary.

Photo courtesy of The Land of Oz.

Community members from near and far always coming together to support great causes is a part of what makes this area so special, not to mention the rich history of the region. Standing the test of time since first being settled in the late 1800s, the Coffey family farm in Boone has been designated by the North Carolina Department of Agriculture as one of the few “Century Farms.”

A bird’s-eye view of the Coffey family farm, one of the area’s few designated as a “Century Farm” by the North Carolina Department of Agriculture. Photo submitted.
Rangers give a talk for children at Price Park. Photo by Peter Morris.

This month, High Country Magazine places a large focus on the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains by featuring the national park service rangers, who are dedicated to environmental education, as well as Tarpestry, a family-owned small business that was made for outdoor enthusiasts. No matter the adventure – camping, picnicking, or attending music festivals – bringing one of the company’s water-resistant, decorative blankets is always a good idea.

Carrie and Ted Swartzbaugh with their children, Sol and Zephyr, enjoying their Boho Tarpestry outside of The Cone Manor off of the Blue Ridge Parkway. Photo by Carrie Swartzbaugh.

We also put the spotlight on Rhonda Gouge, North Carolina Heritage Award recipient. As an accomplished musician, Gouge contributes to the rich music history of the High Country.

Rhonda’s passion is sharing her love of music with others. Photo courtesy of PineCone, Piedmont Council of Traditional Music.

Avery County resident Jerry Corn also shares his story with us – one that provides readers with advice for restoration.

A younger Jerry Corn before speaking outdoors to a group about the dangers and horrors of drug and alcohol addiction and how to recover from both. Photo submitted.

We hope you enjoy the diverse content of this issue of High Country Magazine. Our team could not achieve what we do if it wasn’t for our supporters – advertisers and readers – as well as our subjects who give us the greatest honor of sharing their remarkable stories.