Living In WNC

Community Spotlight: Bald Rock

Situated along the Eastern Continental Divide, bordered by the natural beauty of Panthertown Valley and adjacent to the prestigious Bald Rock community, The Divide at Bald Rock offers an eclectic blend of estate-sized home sites and cozy cabin lots. Encompassing 244 acres and set at elevations topping 4,500 feet above sea level, views from The Divide include cascading waterfalls, abundant foliage and awe-inspiring views of the mountains and valley floor. The Divide features an open-air pavilion for family and community gatherings, which includes a full kitchen and two stacked stone fireplaces. The equestrian center at Bald Rock is available to residents of The Divide, as are all of the amenities of the Sapphire Valley Resort, including golf, swimming, tennis and much more.

The Reach of Art: A Visit to the Bascom

Cross the covered wooden bridge just off Franklin Road in Highlands, and you will find yourself on the magical campus that is The Bascom.
Set on six lush acres of what was once Crane’s Horse Farm, this extraordinary center for the visual arts is a sensory treat for anyone who loves art.
You know you are somewhere special long before you walk through the door. To one’s right is the original horse barn which has been transformed into a ceramics center. The main building, designed by the Atlanta architectural firm of Lord Aeck Sargent, is composed of wood, glass, and stone to pay homage to the natural materials that are native to our part of the world.
A walking nature trail surrounds the campus, containing a variety of site-specific sculptures comfortably positioned among indigenous plants and flowers. An outdoor amphitheater, tiers defined by stone seating, is the perfect setting for weddings, classes, and guest lectures.
Like the warm hostess that she is, Teresa Osborn, meets me at the Center’s front door. As executive director, she quickly explains how she sees the Center’s three important missions: exhibition, education, and outreach. This is no hushed gallery of hands-off, “important” art—nor is it intended to be.
The exhibition aspect of the Center’s mission is everywhere you look, as the 30,000 square feet of space abound with remarkable pieces created by artists from the Southeast, many of whom call the Blue Ridge Mountains home. Oil paintings mix comfortably with photography and pottery, the occasional piece of primitive furniture and whimsical pieces like a room-size “tree” composed of discarded clothing. One can also find jewelry, basketry, and wood-turned vessels here. The collections are fluid so visitors can enjoy a totally unique experience each time they come.
A fun aspect of this art center is the opportunity for hands-on creativity. Check out the “smARTspace” loft on the third floor, and try any of many self-directed art activities. A “wishing tree” downstairs invites visitors to write their deepest desires on papers to hang from a tree. The wishes are as random as you would expect, from “I wish I was a horse” to “I wish I could destroy my computer and phone.” These two areas speak to Teresa’s deepest passion: that art be a unifier, accessible to all, regardless of income, ability, or anything else.
Education is unquestionably a big part of The Bascom’s mission as well. The Center offers artist residencies, fellowships and internships in ceramics, photography, sculpture and community, which is a teaching position involving outreach to all ages. Residencies range from two weeks to one year and afford artists housing, teaching opportunities, unlimited studio access, and the opportunity to sell their art.
The community at large is a huge focal part of the educational component, and an adult education calendar offers a palate-pleasing menu of everything from “Playing in the Clay” to “Highlands Landscape Photography.” In addition to after-school classes during the school year, area children (and visiting grandchildren) are invited to eight different art day camps in the summertime. Private lessons, too, are available for all ages through Art by Appointment.
“Outreach,” says Teresa, warming to a subject dear to her heart, “is a yearlong activity, diverse and widespread.” Area youth are served through school programs: the Boys and Girls Clubs, Big Brothers Big Sisters, and the Gordon Center for Children, to name just a few. The needs of our adult community are addressed through programs like those at Cashiers and Jackson County Senior Centers, the Center for Life Enrichment, the Chestnut Hill retirement community, and the Eckerd Living Center.
It is no small feat that admission to this visual feast is free. Thanks to year-long sponsors, such as Delta and The Chaparral Foundation, The Bascom is accessible to everyone. A robust membership lends further support, as do various sponsors of individual exhibits.
The vision for this Center began in the 1980s, when Watson Barratt’s estate made possible an exhibition space in the Hudson Library. Proceeds from the sale of his family home on Satulah Mountain founded The Bascom, which honors the maiden name of his wife, Louise Bascom Barratt. Although he died in 1962 when Highlands was still a village, his belief in the need for a permanent gallery was prescient. Today, more than 20,000 individuals visit The Bascom each year, and that does not include all those who learn and create at the Center, or the thousands of people who are enriched through the outreach programs.
A centerpiece of Teresa’s delightful, art-cluttered office, is a charming piece of decoupage, teeming with buttons and ribbons and miniatures, created by a gentleman who struggled with developmental challenges. His family, she says, was stunned and thrilled to see how much joy he gleaned from the compilation of this masterpiece, and she keeps it in a place of honor to remind her always, of the life-changing possibilities of art.
The Bascom’s ever-growing impact in the community is a living testament to Watson Barratt’s foresight and a gift to all of us who call these mountains home.

Whimsical Journey: Painting the Paint with Colorist Karen Weihs

When in the mountains, it’s easy to find yourself staring into the majestic vistas that surround you. You will feel something similar when viewing the abstract, contemporary oil paintings of Karen Weihs. 
Picasso once said, “Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.” For Karen, art is about creating imagery that allows the onlooker to formulate their own story, their own connection. Alluding to the familiar without giving the pieces away, she captures the essence of personal experience and reality to shape what the eyes see. 
In a magical blend of technique and tool, she paints a million stories of human experience on one canvas. Her skill is honed by palette knives and a selection of brushes that produce the glimmer of day by evening light. 
Weihs’ canvases are illuminated by intuition. Her mind may visualize a deer prancing deep within the forest while sun rays gently kiss the morning dew, yet it is the dance of her hand anticipating the next jab, carve, or smoothing technique that brings the deer to life. The impromptu maneuvers are the platform for the viewer to continue the journey of the story they see, perhaps recalling a past memory or looking toward a dream. 
“The magic happens and draws me in, and I find myself driven to capture and paint those responses over and over again,” says Karen. “It’s deeply gratifying. This erudition has earned me a confidence in looking for the cutting edge of paint technique, ever evolving to a higher standard. Usually the viewer can find something of the subject matter to relate to. This process allows me to tackle a subject that may or may not appear as my eyes see, painting the paint.” 
Her works radiate from the inside out, without attachment, separating her visualization from the journey another will take at its sight. Masterpieces meant to inspire, encourage, stimulate, or spark something from within another, whether that be dew on the earth, floating clouds, sunlight, leaves swaying in the treetops, or the piercing blank stare of a deer.
Karen and her husband moved to Cashiers from Charleston, South Carolina, where she was born and raised. Her private mountain home studio, Sunny Point Cottage, is both a working and teaching studio, offering half and full day retreats (private critiques and workshops) to encourage confidence and craft. The artist desires to help others find the best from within themselves, advising others to trust the process and their instincts.

Where can you view the art of Karen Weihs?

ALLISON SPROCK FINE ART
600 Queens Road
Charlotte, NC 
704-705-2000

B GALLERY AT THE BASCOM
Franklin Road
Highlands, NC 28778
828-526-4949

ELLA RICHARDSON FINE ART
58 Broad Street
Charleston, SC 29401
843-722-3660

GRAND BOHEMIAN HOTEL GALLERY
11 Boston Way, The Village at Biltmore
Asheville, NC 28805
828-398-5555

SUNNY POINT STUDIO, KAREN’S HOME, BY APPOINTMENT
889 Laurel Knob Road
Cashiers, NC 28717
828-226-4024

A Stroke of Timeless Tradition: The spirit of croquet is alive and well on the Plateau

One of America’s favorite backyard pastimes is one that distinguishes Cashiers and Highlands from many other mountain towns. What is it? Croquet. 
The traditional game played with wooden mallets and balls brings laughter and competition to the area known for its lush landscape of waterfalls and golf courses. From tournaments to weekly gatherings, summer on the green takes on a whole new meaning with over 1,600 croquet players in the highlands of Western North Carolina. 
It is a sociable spectacle where teams face off to hit a ball through a course of hoops or wickets (as Americans have named them). Croquet dates to the 1400s, but it didn’t become a recreational activity in the United States until the 1860s. The game turned into a tradition for many East Coast families, and has remained part of the lifestyle on the Highlands-Cashiers Plateau.
Despite its French name, croquet is very English. The polished appearance of the wisely dressed players and immaculate grass can be deceiving. Players must outwit their opponent(s), creating a slight dog-eat-dog aspect to the game. If you can manage to roquet, or hit a rival’s ball, you might gain a slight edge with gaining an extra shot. Strategy is the key, as you should consider not only your current shot, but the one after that and the one after that, making this game an authentic technical challenge. 
The classic game of croquet brings the community together for social events throughout the season. With clubs offering wine and wicket hours, it is common to see players sip their favorite vintage in between running a hoop. 

The Plateau offers a myriad of courts for the croquet-lover to choose:

The Chattooga Club is an East Coast croquet treasure with its world-class courts and facilities. Offering a nostalgic feeling of the early 1900s with its scenery and services, the club is postcard perfection. It is a United States Croquet Association (USCA) member club.

Cedar Creek Racquet Club is minutes from both Cashiers and Highlands with a course overlooking its lake. Down-to-earth in nature and perfect for a family-friendly escape, it’s named one of the top twenty tennis facilities in the country by World Tennis Magazine. 

Burlingame is nestled among the Blue Ridge Mountains and adjacent to the Horsepasture River. It is breathtakingly beautiful, and its croquet lawn is an integral part of member activities. It is a United States Croquet Association (USCA) member club.

The Country Club of Sapphire Valley is known for Wednesday Twilight Croquet, Friday Croquet Mixer, and Sunday Wine and Wickets. Prefer to watch? Take in the serene vista from the Mountain Verandah and watch the competitive spirit unfold. 
Highlands Country Club is distinctive with its Donald Ross designed golf course and unspoiled mountain landscape. Tuesdays and Thursdays play host to Wine and Wickets at this alluring, sociable croquet lawn. 

Cullasaja Club is known for its par-72 championship golf course designed by Arnold Palmer, as well as Ravenel Lake, and the cascading waters of the Cullasaja Rivers; however, the private club opened a full-size croquet court, The Lawn at Cullasaja, in 2013. 

Highland Falls Country Club is set amongst heart-stirring long-range views of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Enjoy the social game while breathing in fresh mountain air, or visit with friends on the croquet pavilion, which offers a wood-burning fireplace, wet bar, and washrooms.

Lake Toxaway Country Club is set amongst peaceful woodlands, offering a regulation-sized croquet lawn. With a 20-acre golf learning center, five Har-Tru tennis courts, and a private lake, this club is deeply rooted in scenic elegance. It is a United States Croquet Association (USCA) member club.

Trillium Links & Lake Club is the perfect lake escape in the Blue Ridge Mountains. It is a private residential, lake, and golf community known for wine and wickets each Monday and Thursday afternoon during the season. 

Tips to enhance your croquet game: Use a regular golf ball rather than a croquet ball when practicing. Keep your head down and make good contact in the ball, and take note of your swing. This will help you recognize how fast or hard you are hitting the ball, creating a more precise rhythm for your swing. 

The Reach of Art: A Visit to the Bascom

Cross the covered wooden bridge just off Franklin Road in Highlands, and you will find yourself on the magical campus that is The Bascom. Set on six lush acres of what was once Cranes Horse Farm, this extraordinary center for the visual arts is a sensory treat for anyone who loves art. You know you are somewhere special long before you walk through the door. To ones right is the original horse barn which has been transformed into a ceramics center. The main building, designed by the Atlanta architectural firm of Lord Aeck Sargent, is composed of wood, glass, and stone to pay homage to the natural materials that are native to our part of the world. A walking nature trail surrounds the campus, containing a variety of site-specific sculptures comfortably positioned among indigenous plants and flowers. An outdoor amphitheater, tiers defined by stone seating, is the perfect setting for weddings, classes, and guest lectures. Like the warm hostess that she is, Teresa Osborn, meets me at the Centers front door. As executive director, she quickly explains how she sees the Centers three important missions: exhibition, education, and outreach. This is no hushed gallery of hands-off, important artnor is it intended to be. The exhibition aspect of the Centers mission is everywhere you look, as the 30,000 square feet of space abound with remarkable pieces created by artists from the Southeast, many of whom call the Blue Ridge Mountains home. Oil paintings mix comfortably with photography and pottery, the occasional piece of primitive furniture and whimsical pieces like a room-size tree composed of discarded clothing. One can also find jewelry, basketry, and wood-turned vessels here. The collections are fluid so visitors can enjoy a totally unique experience each time they come. A fun aspect of this art center is the opportunity for hands-on creativity. Check out the smARTspace loft on the third floor, and try any of many self-directed art activities. A wishing tree downstairs invites visitors to write their deepest desires on papers to hang from a tree. The wishes are as random as you would expect, from I wish I was a horse to I wish I could destroy my computer and phone. These two areas speak to Teresas deepest passion: that art be a unifier, accessible to all, regardless of income, ability, or anything else. Education is unquestionably a big part of The Bascoms mission as well. The Center offers artist residencies, fellowships and internships in ceramics, photography, sculpture and community, which is a teaching position involving outreach to all ages. Residencies range from two weeks to one year and afford artists housing, teaching opportunities, unlimited studio access, and the opportunity to sell their art. The community at large is a huge focal part of the educational component, and an adult education calendar offers a palate-pleasing menu of everything from Playing in the Clay to Highlands Landscape Photography. In addition to after-school classes during the school year, area children (and visiting grandchildren) are invited to eight different art day camps in the summertime. Private lessons, too, are available for all ages through Art by Appointment. Outreach, says Teresa, warming to a subject dear to her heart, is a yearlong activity, diverse and widespread. Area youth are served through school programs: the Boys and Girls Clubs, Big Brothers Big Sisters, and the Gordon Center for Children, to name just a few. The needs of our adult community are addressed through programs like those at Cashiers and Jackson County Senior Centers, the Center for Life Enrichment, the Chestnut Hill retirement community, and the Eckerd Living Center. It is no small feat that admission to this visual feast is free. Thanks to year-long sponsors, such as Delta and The Chaparral Foundation, The Bascom is accessible to everyone. A robust membership lends further support, as do various sponsors of individual exhibits. The vision for this Center began in the 1980s, when Watson Barratts estate made possible an exhibition space in the Hudson Library. Proceeds from the sale of his family home on Satulah Mountain founded The Bascom, which honors the maiden name of his wife, Louise Bascom Barratt. Although he died in 1962 when Highlands was still a village, his belief in the need for a permanent gallery was prescient. Today, more than 20,000 individuals visit The Bascom each year, and that does not include all those who learn and create at the Center, or the thousands of people who are enriched through the outreach programs. A centerpiece of Teresas delightful, art-cluttered office, is a charming piece of decoupage, teeming with buttons and ribbons and miniatures, created by a gentleman who struggled with developmental challenges. His family, she says, was stunned and thrilled to see how much joy he gleaned from the compilation of this masterpiece, and she keeps it in a place of honor to remind her always, of the life-changing possibilities of art. The Bascoms ever-growing impact in the community is a living testament to Watson Barratts foresight and a gift to all of us who call these mountains home.

A stroke of timeless tradition

One of Americas favorite backyard pastimes is one that distinguishes Cashiers and Highlands from many other mountain towns. What is it? Croquet. The traditional game played with wooden mallets and balls brings laughter and competition to the area known for its lush landscape of waterfalls and golf courses. From tournaments to weekly gatherings, summer on the green takes on a whole new meaning with over 1,600 croquet players in the highlands of Western North Carolina. It is a sociable spectacle where teams face off to hit a ball through a course of hoops or wickets (as Americans have named them). Croquet dates to the 1400s, but it didnt become a recreational activity in the United States until the 1860s. The game turned into a tradition for many East Coast families, and has remained part of the lifestyle on the Highlands-Cashiers Plateau. Despite its French name, croquet is very English. The polished appearance of the wisely dressed players and immaculate grass can be deceiving. Players must outwit their opponent(s), creating a slight dog-eat-dog aspect to the game. If you can manage to roquet, or hit a rivals ball, you might gain a slight edge with gaining an extra shot. Strategy is the key, as you should consider not only your current shot, but the one after that and the one after that, making this game an authentic technical challenge. The classic game of croquet brings the community together for social events throughout the season. With clubs offering wine and wicket hours, it is common to see players sip their favorite vintage in between running a hoop.

The Plateau offers a myriad of courts for the croquet-lover to choose:

the Chattooga Club is an East Coast croquet treasure with its world-class courts and facilities. Offering a nostalgic feeling of the early 1900s with its scenery and services, the club is postcard perfection. It is a United States Croquet Association (USCA) member club.

Cedar Creek Racquet Club is minutes from both Cashiers and Highlands with a course overlooking its lake. Down-to-earth in nature and perfect for a family-friendly escape, its named one of the top twenty tennis facilities in the country by World Tennis Magazine.

Burlingame is nestled among the Blue Ridge Mountains and adjacent to the Horsepasture River. It is breathtakingly beautiful, and its croquet lawn is an integral part of member activities. It is a United States Croquet Association (USCA) member club.

The Country Club of Sapphire Valley is known for Wednesday Twilight Croquet, Friday Croquet Mixer, and Sunday Wine and Wickets. Prefer to watch? Take in the serene vista from the Mountain Verandah and watch the competitive spirit unfold. Highlands Country Club is distinctive with its Donald Ross designed golf course and unspoiled mountain landscape. Tuesdays and Thursdays play host to Wine and Wickets at this alluring, sociable croquet lawn.

Cullasaja Club is known for its par-72 championship golf course designed by Arnold Palmer, as well as Ravenel Lake, and the cascading waters of the Cullasaja Rivers; however, the private club opened a full-size croquet court, The Lawn at Cullasaja, in 2013.

Highland Falls Country Club is set amongst heart-stirring long-range views of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Enjoy the social game while breathing in fresh mountain air, or visit with friends on the croquet pavilion, which offers a wood-burning fireplace, wet bar, and washrooms.

Lake Toxaway Country Club is set amongst peaceful woodlands, offering a regulation-sized croquet lawn. With a 20-acre golf learning center, five Har-Tru tennis courts, and a private lake, this club is deeply rooted in scenic elegance. It is a United States Croquet Association (USCA) member club.

Trillium Links & Lake Club is the perfect lake escape in the Blue Ridge Mountains. It is a private residential, lake, and golf community known for wine and wickets each Monday and Thursday afternoon during the season.

Tips to enhance your croquet game: Use a regular golf ball rather than a croquet ball when practicing. Keep your head down and make good contact in the ball, and take note of your swing. This will help you recognize how fast or hard you are hitting the ball, creating a more precise rhythm for your swing.

Vero Beach to Asheville

The airline originated to enhance the flying experience. With a goal to make your time flying more personal and hassle free, Elite Airways is bringing Western North Carolina and Florida travelers good news. With a new nonstop flight between Vero Beach Regional Airport (VRB) in Florida to Asheville Regional Airport (AVL) in North Carolina, residents and visitors now have the ability to travel between the two destinations Thursdays and Sundays.

Elite airways prides itself on customer service. As a pet-friendly airline, they never charge change fees, and the first bag always flies free. Their goal is to provide a quality and memorable travel experience. The airline headquartered in Portland, Maine also offers service between the following cities:

Asheville, NC - Vero Beach, FL

Bimini, Bahamas - Melbourne, FL

Bimini, Bahamas - Newark, NJ

Halifax, Canada - Portland, ME

Melbourne, FL - Bimini, Bahamas

Melbourne, FL - Newark, NJ

Melbourne, FL - Portland, ME

Melbourne, FL - Sarasota/Bradenton, FL

Newark, NJ - Bimini, Bahamas

Newark, NJ - Melbourne, FL

Portland, ME - Halifax, Canada

Portland, ME - Melbourne, FL

Portland, ME - Sarasota/Bradenton, FL

Sarasota/Bradenton, FL - Melbourne, FL

Sarasota/Bradenton, FL - Portland, ME

Vero Beach, FL - Asheville, NC

Vero Beach, FL - Newark, NJ

President of Elite Airways John Pearsall stated, We look forward to providing the service in Asheville and sincerely thank airport and community leaders for their support.

Elite Airways operates CRJ 200s with 50 seats and CRJ 700s with 70 seats, which have an impeccable safety record. Early booking one-way flights start at $179 each way, but can go as high as $229. Round trip fares start at $358.

Nonstop jet service to Asheville is a unique addition at VRB, and one that has been highly sought after by passengers who would rather take a nonstop flight versus a ten hour drive. The airport is pleased to see new markets and travel opportunities open up to the area, and we thank Elite Airways for expanding its service at Vero Beach Regional Airport, said Airport Executive Director, Eric Menger.

Highlights of Vero Beach: The small coastal town is quite charming and offers a quaint main street with boutique shopping, the beach, ceviche at Gloria Estefans Costa dEste Beach Resort & Spa, and dinner at Ocean Grill.

Highlights of Asheville: The impromptu mountain city offers restaurants, craft breweries, and a variety of outdoor activities.

**Elite Airways also charters planes throughout the U.S., Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, and South America.

A Mountain Christmas

Christmas on the Plateau is much more than a single day or a week. It seems to begin the moment one pushes away from the Thanksgiving table.

The kick-off event takes place the day after Thanksgiving, November 24, so that any guests in town for one holiday can immediately begin celebrating the next. The place to be is Cashiers' Village Green, where from 2 to 5 p.m., Santa and Mrs. Claus will be in the Village Green gazebo to hear the Christmas wishes of local boys and girls. There will be games, a few tasty treats, and hot drinks as guests await the traditional lighting of the Cashiers Christmas Tree, a spectacular 65-foot spruce. The lighting will take place between 5 to 6 p.m., accompanied by holiday music. Stay to roast marshmallows and make s'mores around the fire pit.

Meanwhile, over at the Bascom Center for the Arts in Highlands, there will be Gingerbread Workshops at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. on both Friday, November 24 and Saturday, the 25. Families should register in advance to attend and come prepared to build personalized gingerbread houses, which will be entered in a contest for Bascom gift certificates.

On Saturday, November 25, Mr. and Mrs. Santa will make their way to Highlands at Kelsey-Hutchinson Founders Park. An added attraction will be the reading of the Christmas story by local ministers. Song books will be distributed for a community sing-along and local merchants will be offering hot chocolate and cookies. The tree lighting, which takes place at 6:30 p.m., will be especially dramatic as all the other business lights will be turned off for that special moment.

If you're in the park for the tree-lighting, be sure to check out the ice-skating rink which will be open extra hours during the Christmas holidays. The charge to use the rink is just $5 and ice skates are provided. The rink, which opened for the 2017-2018 season on November 9, will be available for extended hours throughout the holiday season beginning each day at 1 p.m. For more information regarding the holiday schedule, call the Highlands Recreation Department at 828-526-3556.

With the lighting of these community Christmas trees and the season's kick-off comes thoughts of a tree for one's own home. There is no better place to find a live tree than here in Western Carolina, where Christmas tree farms are a cottage industry. Our region's elevation, excellent soil, and well dispersed rainfall contribute to its deserved reputation as a reliable source for Christmas trees

A perfect place to visit is the 80-acre Tom Sawyer's Tree Farm in Glenville, where families can choose and cut their own Fraser Fir trees, measuring from three to 12 feet. While the tree is being packed to take home, visitors can check out the farm's charming village populated with Christmas elves, a craft tent for creating Christmas art, and a storytelling room. Move to the big red barn for food, drink, and evergreen selections, participate in a scavenger hunt and then drop off letters to Santa at his own post office. A ride in a horse-drawn carriage can round out a memorable experience. Tom Sawyer's is open through the season until Christmas Eve for people arriving to the mountains later in December. Please note, because of his busy schedule in December, Santa will only be at the farm on weekends.

Of course, you could choose to create a truly indelible family memory with the Christmas Tree Package from Old Edwards Inn in Highlands, the luxury hotel which is included on the National Register of Historic Places. Spend one night, enjoy dinner at Madison's, and take in such family-friendly amenities as popcorn, holiday movies, and games in the Kelsey Game and Theater Room. You can even ask an elf to come to your room to tuck in the children. Awake the next morning and drive to a local tree farm with a voucher for a five-to-six-foot Christmas tree. Now that's a holiday kick-off!

The month-long celebration continues the following week with Highlands' Olde Mountain Christmas Parade, Saturday, December 2 at 11 a.m. This tradition draws participation by area marching bands and school groups and boasts a live nativity scene including real camels, the Mountain Garden Club Dancing Ladies and, of course, Santa Claus. Small children are encouraged to bring bags for the candy that is distributed from the various floats. The merchants in Highlands will be competing in a holiday window decorating contest, making Main Street and surrounding streets perfect for strolling all day long.

Cashiers hosts its Christmas Parade on Saturday, December 9, at noon. This year's parade is titled Silver and Gold Bells, It's Christmas Time in the Village and honors the Village Green's 25th anniversary and the Volunteer Fire Department's 50th. Look for another appearance by Santa and then head to the nearby Community Center for the tenth annual Christmas luncheon showcasing Cashiers Cares. The luncheon provides a timely opportunity to learn about the work of this neighbors helping neighbors organization which supports ten local charities. A hot dog luncheon will be provided by Cashiers Rotary Club, and Santa (he's everywhere!) and Mrs. Claus will be guests of honor for those wanting photos.

Christmas, of course, would not be Christmas without special music and The Cashiers Adult Community Chorus is practicing for its Christmas concert to be presented in the Sanctuary of the Cashiers United Methodist Church on Sunday, December 3 at 3 p.m. Selections include the God with Us! cantata, Handel's Hallelujah Chorus, and Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah.

Another community offering on December 5 at 7:30 p.m. is the Rhythmic Circus performance of Red and Green at Western Carolina University's Bardo Performing Arts Center. A family-friendly celebration of the season, Red and Green is a song and dance extravaganza of rapid-fire tap backed by a seven-piece band.

Of course, merchants from Highlands to Cashiers will be a big part of the holiday spirit with lots of festive temptations. One must-see is the famed Christmas Cottage on Main Street in Highlands which has been a local landmark for more than thirty years. Richard Osborne, who owns the shop with his wife Teresa, says that Downton Abbey and Game of Thrones themed ornaments are very popular this year, as is an electric climbing Santa who walks up and down a ladder that can be leaned against a wall. Animated Christmastime televisions are also flying off the shelves. A visit here will fortify you for the rest of your holiday shopping and preparations.

And, before you know it, it's here!

Packages wrapped, family safely gathered, pantry fully stocked. By Christmas Eve it's time to slow down and remember what the season is all about.

In Search of Fulfillment: FireMoss Pottery

For Justin Allman, there is a delicate dance graced in the presence of now and the whisper of unfulfilled dreams. His hands mold shapes and surfaces, while his mind breathes existence into his stories of art.

The potter blends the emotional reflection of Japanese art with the sovereign richness surrounding Western North Carolina, creating characterized pieces. Justins inspired personal style is meant to draw emotion and be representative of a place you are, and a place you have dreamed of being.

The resemblance to Japanese pottery art - from 1550 AD to modern times, intimately connects with that of modern North Carolina art. His passion for culture is showcased in his degree in history, deeply invested in the studies of Chinese and Japanese days of old. Intertwining inherited and unforgiving times past of Japan and North Carolina, the two styles fuse, capturing the eye and the heart.

My work represents struggle. Nothing new when it seems to be in the sense of art. However, mine represents the struggle of every single man, woman, and child. Natural scenes of a snake in a patch of rhododendrons represents its daily struggle to feed itself and protect itself from other predators. We are no different every day we struggle, work, fight, and push to survive in our world. I want people to remember that fight, by seeing my work and to never let go of their dreams and to keep fighting, Justin expressed.

Justin Allmans studio, Firemoss Pottery, is in Cashiers, North Carolina. From hand-building to wheel-throwing, his techniques provide his guests with a variety of ceramic mugs. Sipping from one of his coffee mugs, his desire is you will be reminded of how full your cup truly is. A metaphor for life, and how fulfilled you choose to be.

Choosing to live among the magic of Cashiers and Highlands, after graduating from the Florida Gulf Coast University in Fort Meyers, Justin Allman enjoys being part of the local artistic community. He and his family vacationed here for 27 years, naturally drawing him back to the serenity.

Justins touch personalizes each artistic treasure, differentiating each mug, vase, sponge holder, bowl, drink mixer, plate, and more.

He offers private lessons, kiln parties, and two carving workshops a year to teach his technique. For more information, visit his website at firemosspottery.com.

FireMoss Pottery 107 Lance Rd. Cashiers, NC 28171 239-331-0054

Read more articles like this one here.

Western North Carolina Timber Trivia

In the late 1800s, the North Carolina mountains were covered in old-growth hardwood forests, which included oaks, chestnuts, hickories,maples, and beech trees. Settlersforest took down trees in small numbers as needed for clearing land or obtaining wood.

Large-scale logging began in the 1890s and 1900s, when railroads came to the southern Appalachians. Railroads and rivers were used to transport the enormous logs. Sawmills powered by steam engines were set up in the forests to convert logs into lumber.

The Brevard Tannery and the Rosman Tannery, both established in the early 1900s, used bark from trees to tan leather.

As you hike around these mountains, you won't see many huge trees but you will see large old stumps and now you know why.