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.
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.
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
B GALLERY AT THE BASCOM
Highlands, NC 28778
ELLA RICHARDSON FINE ART
58 Broad Street
Charleston, SC 29401
GRAND BOHEMIAN HOTEL GALLERY
11 Boston Way, The Village at Biltmore
Asheville, NC 28805
SUNNY POINT STUDIO, KAREN’S HOME, BY APPOINTMENT
889 Laurel Knob Road
Cashiers, NC 28717
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.
Located on over six acres in the picturesque Highland Gap community of Scaly Mountain, this distinctive custom home offers gorgeous long range, layered mountain views from almost every room. No expense was spared in the construction or upkeep of this spacious retreat, which can easily accommodate the entire family.
Features include master bedroom suites on each level, three stacked stone fireplaces and a beautiful and spacious chef's kitchen, along with a large family room with mini-kitchen, home office and laundry/mud room. The open decking and screened porch with hot tub offer the best in outdoor living. Take time to enjoy the good life!
Featured in Garden & Gun and Southern Accents magazines, Woodland Cottage was decorated by acclaimed designer Kathleen Rivers of Charleston, South Carolina, and designed by Jack Davis of Atlanta, Georgia. Blending into a forest of old-growth maple, hickory, oak, and evergreen trees, the beautiful property is pure serenity.
The home was assembled from reclaimed nineteenth-century log buildings from Tennessee and Kentucky and sited on nearly an acre overlooking Chimney Top and Rock mountains. With its patina of over 150 years of weathering, the log home feels as if it was passed down through many generations. With all the sophisticated charm of a British hunting lodge, there are historic details everywhere you look, such as dovetail notches and hash marks created by the broadaxes of Appalachian pioneers.
The sumptuous great hall offers 30-foot ceilings and an imposing fireplace crafted by third-generation stonemason Leland Huey. Reclaimed heart-pine floors are throughout the home and custom touches such as lighting fashioned from found objects and custom cast-concrete sinks in the master bath. The screened porch is the epitome of southern hospitality with a fieldstone fireplace and a porch swing perfect for reading the Sunday newspaper.
Take an after-dinner stroll through the garden paths after an evening of entertaining and relaxation. Rarely does a property with such unique architecture and welcoming Appalachian aesthetic as this come on the market.
Offered for the first time, this elegant sanctuary designed by Tim Greene sits high in the Blue Ridge Mountains inside the premier golf club of Wade Hampton. A serene setting along with the highest quality materials, fine craftsmanship and thoughtful architectural details make it an exceptional find. Dubbed Sassafras-Chambertin, the current owners named the home after a Burgundy wine produced by the world-renowned Domaine Armand Rousseau, a boutique winery in France.
Exuding a warm and inviting ambiance, the main house boasts generous living space, gorgeous mountain views, seven stacked stone fireplaces and rich custom woodwork constructed of heart pine reclaimed from the Hershey Chocolate Factory in Pennsylvania. The great room and bedrooms in the main house feature impressive vaulted ceilings with substantial timbers. Opening out to a private porch with soothing mountain vistas, the expansive master suite includes two fireplaces, a spa-like master bath, and an adjacent private sitting room.
This mountain estate is ideal for entertaining and lodging generations of friends and family, readily accommodating guests in stylish comfort. The upper level of the main house has two guest suites, while private guest quarters with a separate entrance include a kitchenette and four guest suites, comfortably accommodating two foursomes for a golf weekend. Perfect for both intimate gatherings and large parties, the main house has a well-equipped gourmet kitchen, as well as formal and informal dining areas, a wine room, a full wet bar, an outdoor kitchen with built-in barbeque, and open and covered decks with ample sitting areas and a fireplace. The host of amenities continues with a fitness studio, an elaborate wood shop, a screened-in, covered putting green, a separate building with four indoor/outdoor dog runs for use as a kennel or storage, and an adorable tree fort.
Fall in the mountains is nothing short of phenomenal, but we’re hanging on to summer as long as we can with these tempting cocktails.
Grey's Hound Cocktail
Inspired by the greyhound cocktail, The Market Place Restaurant of Asheville looked to their spring and summer gardens’ fresh rosemary to create a spin on a classic. This light cocktail is easy to drink, refreshing, and tastes great too!
2 oz Grey Goose vodka
1/2 oz rosemary simple syrup
2 oz Ruby red grapefruit juice
In a mixing cup, combine ice with vodka, lime wedge, rosemary simple syrup, and grapefruit juice. Shake vigorously and pour into an old-fashioned glass and garnish with a rosemary sprig.
There is nothing quite like freshly squeezed Key lime to beat the heat of summer. A Floridian favorite, the kiki colada was made famous on Casey Key in Florida. Many refer to the frozen cocktail as a Key lime colada. Keep calm and rum on!
1 oz Liquor 43
2 oz vanilla rum
1 ½ oz Key lime juice
1 oz cream of coconut
1 ½ oz pineapple juice
1 tsp. sugar
1 cup ice
Combine the ingredients below in a blender. Prepare margarita or martini glasses by rubbing lime around the edge and dipping the rim in graham cracker crumbs. Divide blended yumminess into two glasses and garnish with slices of lime.
The Market Place Restaurant
20 Wall Street
Asheville, NC 28801
Twitter: @chefbillyd / @marketplaceavl
Are you ready for an afternoon thrill? Do you like your hands behind the wheel and want to take an engine to its limits with no fear of blue lights in the rearview mirror? Make your way to the BMW Performance Center in Spartanburg, South Carolina.
Your day begins with the basics by getting to know your instructor and the cars. Professional drivers provide insight into each of the BMW models. You quickly graduate to a course designed to challenge your skills where you learn how to properly maneuver the vehicles around obstacles.
At the performance center, you are encouraged to test the brakes—stopping on a dime on a wet track— or open up the engine from 0 to 60 in under five seconds. The course not only tests the limits of the car, it will test yours. This bucket list experience is a great one or two day escape from the Plateau.
My favorite part of the day was the timed lap race in the M240i. Speed, cut corners, but don’t knock over the cones, all while trying to beat your friends’ times to earn bragging rights. If you apply your skills, you could win the best time of the day. I finished in 24.3 seconds, and I challenge you to beat it.
The excitement and laughter alone are worth it. The fun of skidding around a circular wet track and nearly losing control of the car is a rip-roaring blast. When you understand the type of car you are driving, your insight into speed, braking, lane-changing, and taking fast corners bring your driving skills and entertainment to a whole new level.
Whether you’re with your buddies or your spouse, this experience is something you won’t soon forget. The center also offers corporate retreats. A little healthy competition and fun are always good for office morale. With an on-site cafe offering options for every diet, you are well taken care of during your day-long adventure.
Want to try your skills off-road instead? The two-day driving school provides you the opportunity to pilot the X series vehicles through various terrain obstacles and adverse conditions you may not think the vehicles (or you) can handle.
Sometimes you just need to step on the gas pedal and get out there. Open it up, channel your inner race car driver, and show them what you’re made of. If you’re ready for acceleration, perhaps it’s time to cross racing off your bucket list.
If you find yourself wanting more, test your hand at the M School Experience, where you only drive the M Series vehicles; it’s an experience guaranteed to quench your thirst for speed.
If you have a new driver in your family, they also offer a driving school for teens!
All driver’s classes start at $849.
BMW Performance Driving School
Greer, SC 29651
The ‘Bloody Mary’ is a classic cocktail with a storied past - legend has it that the Bloody Mary was created in the New York style bar “Harry’s” in Paris somewhere around 1920. Americans were flocking to Paris during Prohibition, as were émigrés escaping the Russian Revolution. Americans were requesting the “tomato juice cocktail” (simply tomato juice in prohibition days), while Russians brought along what most considered a tasteless spirit, vodka.
At the request of his customers, Ferdinand “Pete” Petiot, Harry’s bartender, began experimenting with the two ingredients, and the Bloody Mary was born. It took a few years to catch on, however by 1933 Americans were asking for the “Red Snapper” across New York. The vintage classic became the Bloody Mary many seek to enjoy over a weekend brunch.
We discovered a favorite version in our own backyard.
Asheville, North Carolina’s Strada Italiano and Social Lounge, has created their twist on the classic cocktail.
4 Easy Steps to Strada’s Italian Bloody Mary
Muddle 3 fresh basil leaves in a cocktail shaker.
Pour vodka over ice in a pint glass and add house Bloody Mary mix.
Dump into shaker with muddled basil, shake, and transfer back into pint glass.
Garnish with pancetta wheel, fresh mozzarella, grape tomato and fresh basil leaf.
Tip: Ask for a piece of bacon to accompany this alluring craft cocktail.
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