By Madison Fisler Lewis
Dec. 5, 2014. The highly-anticipated 2014-15 holiday issue of High Country Magazine is on stands now. The holiday issue is stuffed full of great stories, so let our pages take you on an adventure this season – from the slopes, to the university, a castle, an art studio and even the Watauga County Detention Center.
To start, meet the new Appalachian State University Chancellor, Sheri Noren Everts. The chancellor was kind enough to take the time to give us a little insight into her life, her past and her hopes for the future at the helm of the esteemed university. From a one-room schoolhouse in Geneva, Nebraska to the fifth largest campus in the UNC system, learn all about this esteemed woman and what she plans to bring to Appalachian State and the neighboring community.
Next up, enjoy a snowy story that was months in the making. The research around the newest slope at Sugar Mountain Resort, “Gunther’s Way,” started way back in August. Meet Sugar Mountain Resort President Gunther Jochl, the “not so local Jochl” who’s namesake, “Gunther’s Way,” is a signature achievement in the High Country’s largest ski area, and learn about his past, his achievements and the work that went into creating this large-scope slope.
High Country Magazine was graciously afforded a rare glimpse in Cellblock 14 of the Watauga County Detention Center, which houses women accused of breaking the law. Mary Belanger spends a lot of time in the unit, though she is not an inmate. She is instead a teacher and educator who after many years still remains awestruck by the transformation that learning and education can bring into these women’s lives.
Next, take a peek inside of a Gothic castle in Elk River and be transported into a stunning, gorgeous and festival holiday scene. Each November, a team of Christmas decorators spend days in Tommy and Sandy Rouse’s castle in the Elk River Club, installing Christmas decorations to bring in the holiday season with style. Take a look at the home’s interior, designed by Dianna Davant and Associates in 2008.
Then, check out the work of Ryan Kirby, a local artist whose work graced the cover of the October issue of Outdoor Life Magazine. Through the story’s colorful, art-filled pages, learn about Kirby’s artistic process, his inspiration and how a farm boy from Illinois became a nationally-recognized artist.
Finally, take a trip into the past at the Blowing Rock Art and History Museum to meet five social and cultural warriors from the High Country Region. Five women – Emily Prudden, Bertha Cone, Mary Martin Sloop, Lucy Morgan and Vera Lachmann – are celebrated in the museum’s “Common Threads: Five Influential Women and Their Legacies,” which showcases the impact that these women had on the High Country community that still endures to this day.
The holidays are almost here, so don’t forget to check out our local shopping section. You’re sure to find a great local retailer to help you nab that perfect gift for a loved one, or a little something special for yourself. From clothing, jewelry, gifts and everything in between, you can find the perfect thing for even the pickiest recipient without all the hassle of the big box stores. ‘Tis the season, so keep your holiday shopping local this year!
To grab your copy of High Country Magazine’s Holiday Issue, look for us at your favorite distribution spot.