Blog :: 2019

The Nirvana of Fly Fishing

The mountains of western North Carolina lure those far and wide seeking higher elevations, stunning views, waterfalls, and verdant forests. However, it is the copious streams, creeks, and rivers lying within these mountains that draw fly fishermen of all levels and skills, year-round. North Carolina’s waterways are abundant with wild or stocked rainbow, brown, and brook trout, as well as smallmouth bass in midsummer.

When asked what attracts them to the sport, many fly fishermen find it hard to put into simple terms. The collective agrees there is no easy formula in making “the catch,” for an angler is challenged before even stepping into the water. The sport requires thought, instinct, and strategy. Great consideration goes into understanding the fish on that particular day, on that particular stream, since it varies day-to-day, stream-to-stream, season-to-season. Sometimes it varies hour-to-hour. One must consider the fish’s relationship with its environment, the weather, water temperature, level, and current. The answers are key in crafting a cunning approach to the day’s journey.

“There is an art to fly fishing,” according to Ben Elmer, an avid fisherman, prominent local guide and manager at Brookings Anglers in Highlands. “The draw for me comes with chasing the fish and convincing them to eat my fly.” With tens of thousands of artificial flies to consider, wisely choosing a fly that best matches the current bug hatch creates a greater opportunity for this to happen. Equally as important to an aspiring fish catcher is mastering casting techniques where the fly mimics the actual habits of the “bug du jour.”

Elmer describes the scene on the river. An angler first strategically scopes out an ideal location where the fish might be found. He then chooses his fly, not just any fly, the right fly that will tempt the fish. After quietly wading into the water, he fortifies his stance, chooses his cast, and delivers his fly. Patiently he waits. Feeling camaraderie with nature and perhaps his fellow fisher friends nearby, he enjoys the whip and grace of his cast as his fly dances on the surface. There is no impatience in the wait as the rewards are great, and then suddenly, possibly many casts later, STRIKE! He hooks one. A rush of adrenaline courses through his veins as he works to keep the trout or bass on the line. His skill at properly setting the hook will hopefully secure the catch as the duel plays out. However, stalking and catching the fish is only part of the game. “It is not over until the fish is successfully in the net,” says Elmer, “and that is a challenge in itself.”

Gail Bell, a ten-year veteran fly fisherwoman from Scaly Mountain, North Carolina says, “Fish are spooky and smart. Stealthiness is always your mantra. Imagine, now the fish has his choice from tens of thousands of natural food floating by. What are the odds he will choose your artificial fly? But when he does ... POW ... lights out awesomeness! It can be spiritual and technical with a little luck thrown in.”

“You don’t have to catch a fish though to have a good time,” Elmer shares like a secret. Fishermen vary in the experiences they seek. Some choose to float rather than wade, some want private over public waters, and some prefer to fish in the quiet winter months when they can take their catch home. Finding a peaceful experience grounded in nature is ideal for some who want to “get away from it all,” while others seek the thrill of the chase.

American author Norman MacLean who wrote A River Runs Through It equates fly fishing to a piece of music that slowly builds to an exciting crescendo. Maybe this metaphor best explains the growth of the sport and its captive audience of all genders and ages. Regarded as being meditative and therapeutic, restorative fly fishing retreats are plentiful and hosted by groups such as Casting Carolinas for cancer survivors and Project Healing Waters for military personnel and disabled veterans.

Brookings Anglers, with locations in Cashiers and Highlands, is a trustworthy resource for finding the best experience. Their guided trips are a terrific way to learn, grow, and perfect techniques. In addition, they offer fly-tying courses, licenses, and full or half-day packages for individuals, couples, and groups. Packages start at $200.

Like-New Mountain Getaway in Cedar Hill

Situated at 4,000 feet in the prestigious Cedar Hill community, this mountaintop getaway is based on a design by renowned local designer Travis Mileti. Featuring old-school appointments throughout, including a sliding barn door to the butler's pantry, shiplap wall coverings throughout and rustic, wooden window shutters, this home is the perfect meeting of comfortable, mountain-inspired design with modern, state-of-the-art creature comforts and fixtures.

A multi-level deck featuring a covered porch and prominent stone fireplace offers the ideal setting for outdoor entertaining, with breathtaking views to the east of the striking 144-foot granite cliffs of Lonesome Valley and Bald Rock - among the largest exposed rock faces in the southeast - as well as Toxaway Mountain and Sapphire Valley. If cooler weather prompts company to move indoors, the spacious lower level features a full-service wet bar and ample sleeping arrangements, with two guest rooms and a pair of bunkrooms downstairs in addition to the two master bedrooms on the upper level.

The open layout kitchen conjures images of friends and family gathering around the sprawling kitchen peninsula, topped with Cambria Quartz countertops, enjoying time together over food and a glass of wine from the adjoining wet bar and wine cooler. Another imposing stone fireplace is the focal point of the great room, which features a towering cathedral ceiling and offers its own incredible views of the surrounding mountain ranges.

 

Highlands Motoring Festival

 

Longing to have a close-up encounter with a coveted Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gullwing worth somewhere to the tune of two million dollars? Look no further than in your backyard to experience such a rare moment. At the Highlands Motoring Festival in Highlands, North Carolina, you never know which spectacular collectible car will take your breath away. This festival draws a sophisticated group of car collectors who showcase their pride and joy and give you the opportunity to admire and inquire. So, rev your engines and mark your calendars for this year’s Festival, an extraordinary weekend of unforgettable cars, community,  and camaraderie. 


Touted as the “Festival with an Altitude,” the Highlands Motoring Festival (HMF) is proud to shout from the Blue Ridge Mountains that it is the highest motoring festival east of the Rockies. Celebrating its twelfth year, this rapidly-growing, family-friendly event attracts car collectors, enthusiasts, and the curious. This June, it is expecting around 3,500 attendees from across the nation, including 125 car owners for Saturday’s main judging event, “Cars in the Park.” 


The vision behind the Highlands Motoring Festival is to produce a unique educational and social car event, creating a fundraising platform to give back to the community. With most car shows charging a hefty entrance fee, this festival is free to the public, making it even more special as a gift to the community. According to the motoring festival spokesman Steve Ham, “It is exciting to think that an open-to-the-public event like this could inspire someone to start collecting. It is a spectacular opportunity to celebrate the history of the automobile and experience many rare and exotic cars in one place.”


The HMF weekend is chock full of daily events, from “Monte Carlo Night” to a scenic 160-mile technical driving rally called “One Lap of the Mountains” to the grand event, “Cars in the Park,” where a judging competition takes place. Trophies created by a local artist will be awarded to cars designated as Best in Class and Outstanding in Class. This year’s competition registration is already filling up with collectible sports cars like the 1966 Chevrolet Corvette and 1967 Porsche 912 making their inaugural trip to Highlands. Showcased at this year’s festival is an exciting new class of vintage racing cars with an established racing history in famous races such as Le Mans and the Daytona 500.


The level of sophistication of this regional car show is quite evident by the impressive competition. Remarkable past entries include a 1926 Model T and the most unusual of entries, the Amphicar, which operates as both a car and a boat. Copious touring models and high-performance cars are also present. In the case of the Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gullwing, there was not only one at the show a couple of years ago, but three! Entrants are judged in eight different classes with an awards ceremony to follow. The car owners have gone to great monetary and physical lengths to restore and prepare their cars for show. 


Fundraising dollars are raised through Platinum sponsors like Mercedes, Porsche, Ferrari, and BMW, as well as important local supporters, ticket sales, donations, and registration fees. All net proceeds from the HMF go to charity with this year’s event serving three beneficiaries: The Literacy Council, which endeavors to advance lifelong learning and a knowledgeable community; R.E.A.C.H., whose mission is to prevent family violence in all its forms; and the Community Care Clinic, which provides free medical services to the needy.


If you have a pre-1990 collectible car you would like to register for the Saturday, June 8th competition, go to highlandsmotoringfestival.com. If you want to feel like you are walking onto a James Bond movie set, make a plan to attend any one of the weekend events. The pulse and enthusiasm of this unique class of people and cars is something you don’t want to miss.

Monte Carlo Night
THURSDAY NIGHT, June 6

A high-stakes “gambling-for-good” fundraiser that kicks off the weekend hosted by Highlands Falls Country Club. Expect game tables, hors-d’oeuvres, cocktails, exotic cars, a live auction, and chances to win lots of “play money.” Cost per ticket: $75.

One Lap of the Mountains
FRIDAY DAY, June 7

In its sixth year, this popular road rally is an adventure of a lifetime, giving participants an opportunity to explore a bespoke curvy route through the countryside. A technical rally rather than a timed rally, the event allows participants to meander 160 miles as a group over paved rural roads taking in vast mountain vistas, lush forests, waterfalls, pastures, historic landmarks, flora and fauna, and a multitude of lakes and babbling brooks. Passing road markers like Happy Place Lane and following detailed maps with directional cues such as “take a left at the hound dog by the red mailbox” make the route even more interesting and fun for drivers and their passengers. The lap begins at 9 am and ends at 3 pm with a stop for lunch along the way. Only a max of 40 cars are allowed. Register now so you don’t miss this special event. Cost per vehicle: $125 (includes one passenger).

Welcome Party at High Dive
FRIDAY NIGHT, June 7

An evening meet and greet at Highlands’ newest watering hole, from 6 pm to 8 pm for all “gear heads” (that’s industry talk for car enthusiasts). Free to participate. No registration required.


The Main Event: 
Cars in the Park
SATURDAY, June 8

This classic car show with a judging competition takes place in the heart of Highlands at the Kelsey-Hutchinson Founders Park beginning at 11 am. Entrance is free for all spectators, but donations are greatly appreciated to benefit three local charities. Competition cars are judged and awarded Best of Class in the following car classes: Touring, Classic, Street Rod and Custom, American Sport and High Performance, Foreign Sport, Foreign Classic, and Trucks/Utilities. This year’s special interest class is Vintage Racing Cars, requiring a racing background in such prestigious and varied venues as Le Mans, Indianapolis, Daytona, Monte Carlo, etc. Competition entry cost: $35.

After the car show ends at 4 pm, “Music in the Park” will round out the night beginning at 6 pm. Free to the public.

Cars and Coffee
SUNDAY, June 9

Located in Wright Square, this casual morning send-off at 8:00 am allows participants and spectators alike to gather one last time, relive the weekend, and make future plans. Free to participate. No registration required. •

 

Bald Rock 2019 Season

May 25 - Memorial Day Dinner

June 10 - Mule Ride and Party

June 15 - Pavilion Dinner

July 6 - Independence Day Celebration / Pavilion Dinner

July 15 - Mule Ride and Party

August 3 - Pavilion Dinner

August 19 - Mule Ride and Party

August 31 - Labor Day Celebration / Pavilion Dinner

September 9 - Mule Ride and Party

September 21 - Pavilion Dinner

October 5 - Chili / Fall Celebration / Pavilion Dinner

Photographer Spotlight

Growing up in Western North Carolina is something that can be hard not to take for granted. From the very beginning, professional photographer Brittany Scales noticed the beauty that surrounds us and felt the draw to capture its essence.
The Blue Ridge Mountains have a way of inspiring creativity that some might find indescribable. Behind every ridge, in every flowing waterfall and stream, there is a constant sense of awe that just begs to be photographed. It’s this inspiration that motivates Brittany in her work every day. Whether a quick drive down the Blue Ridge Parkway, or a five-mile hike to a mountain summit; whether it’s in the details of the trail below or the way the light hits the ridge just right, the beauty is everywhere.
After attending Savannah College of Art and Design to obtain her photography degree, Brittany recognized and learned to appreciate her ability to view the world in such a unique way. With her camera, Brittany aims to bring her viewers to see what can so often be overlooked and, as a result, gain the same sense of admiration that she has for the natural world.
Although the majority of her work comes from her home of the Western North Carolina mountains, being able to travel and photograph new places is a huge passion of Brittany’s. “Maui and Yosemite National Park have to be two of my absolute favorite photographic destinations. The landscapes there are breathtaking, and there’s always something new to catch your eye, no matter how many times you visit.” On her bucket list, locations to photograph include Alaska, Iceland, and New Zealand.
To see more of her work or to inquire about print requests, please visit her website at brittanyscales.com.

Lakefront Home Perfect for Memory-Making

Many priceless summertime memories await once you fall in love with this charming three-bedroom, two-bath lakefront home! The property is located on the desirable east side of Lake Glenville in the quiet Lakewood Shores neighborhood. The path down to the lake's shore and private dock is a short, gentle walk that's easy for kids carrying lake toys and supplies.

As you enter the home, you're greeted by an expansive, up-close view of Lake Glenville and the mountains beyond. Continuing through the home, you'll find a cozy breakfast nook, a massive stone fireplace, and a spacious deck that's perfect for enjoying the cool summer evenings and the lakefront breeze. The master bedroom also has fantastic lake views and features an en-suite master bath.

Ideal for guests, the lower level of the home offers a family room with a second stone fireplace, two bedrooms, a full bathroom, and an inviting screened-in deck. The home has been updated and is in move-in ready condition. It's tastefully decorated and the furnishings are negotiable, just bring a toothbrush and enjoy! The home's convenient location is just a quick five or ten-minute drive from Cashiers dining, shopping, and more.