A snow covered Cashiers Valley.
A snow covered Cashiers Valley.
The Jackson County Tourism Board has produced the first fly fishing map for Western North Carolina. The map details 15 of the best locations for fly fishing andreeling inBrook Trout, Brown Trout, and Rainbow Trout in our area. The map covers all of Jackson County from Balsam, Dillsboro, Webster, along Cullowhee, Tuckasegee, down to Cashiers and Panthertown. The four major rivers included in the map are the Tuckaseigee, Chattooga, Whitewater, and the Horsepasture.
You can get this map mailed to you for free by calling 1-800-962-1911 or you can download it by clicking on the map to the left. For additional information you may also log onto www. flyfishingtrail.com. We will have these maps availableat our office within the next week or so stop by and pick one up.
An undercurrent of excitement is running through the town of Cashiers in anticipation of the debut of The Cashiers Mountain Music Festival on July 4, 2009. Developed by the dedicated team at the Cashiers Area Chamber of Commerce, this inaugural Independence Day event will be hosted at the Village Green and will benefit local area Youth Musical Education.
Recently named as Festival Director, Mark Wise a local resident and veteran entertainment producer has long dreamed of a world-class music festival in Cashiers. Wise has produced shows for Walt Disney World Entertainment and Universal Studios Florida, and understands the careful planning required for such a special event. The festival will include performances by The Isaacs with their eclectic blend of bluegrass, gospel and country music and will culminate in a breathtaking fireworks display. Additional performers will be announced at a later date. Event parking and admission for children five and under will be free. Children aged 6 -12 will be admitted for $5, and general admission for adults will be $20.
Mark your calendars and plan to join your neighbors for a great day that promises music and fun for the whole family!
Calendar of Events for the Highlands-Cashiers Plateau
Ever since early settlers and developers first arrived on the Highlands-Cashiers Plateau over a century ago family and community have been at the heart of events and gatherings in the area. The same holds true today, and theres always something happening in any one of our villages, townships and master-planned communities! Aside from the awe-inspiring beauty and majesty of our mountains, lakes, waterfalls and forests - below are a few additional reasons you should join us for a Party on the Plateau in May:
May 14-17Highlands Cashiers Players present Neil Simons Rumors at The Martin Lipscomb Performing Arts Center in Highlands. Showtimes Thursday thru Saturday 7:30 p.m. and Sunday 2:30 p.m. Tickets: Adults - $20; Students - $8 may be purchased one hour before the performance on an as available basis. Reservations can also be made by calling the box office at 828-526-8084. May 15Historic Zachary-Tolbert House tours resume in Cashiers on Fridays and Saturdays thru October 17, 2009 (click here for more information). May 23Summit Memorial Day 5K Race in Cashiers. For more information, call 828-743-5755. May 23-27Annual Plant Sale at Highlands Ball Park from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Featuring hundreds of locally grown hostas and perennials. Proceeds help local scholarship students and local projects. Come early for best selection! Rain date is Sunday, May 24. May 23-24The Village Square Art & Craft Show at Pine Street Park in Highlands. Featuring regional artisans showcasing fine art, pottery, baskets, folk art, jewelry, furniture and more. Face painting for the kids. For more information, call 828-787-2021. May 27Snakes & Ice Cream at the Village Green Pavillion in Cashiers at 6 p.m. Childrens program that is presented by Patrick Brannon and is part of the Village Nature Series. Co-hosted by Highlands-Cashiers Land Trust and Village Green. FREE admission! Call 828-526-1111 for more details. May 29Collective Spirits Wine Festival at The Bascom in Highlands. Featuring wine tastings from premier North Carolina distributors, as well as silent auctions, artistic demonstrations, a symposium and gala seated dinner under a tent on The Bascoms new terrace. For more information or to order event tickets, call 828-526-4949. May 29-30Cashiers Historical Society Hosts 2009 Appalachian Music Symposium at the Albert C. Carlton Library in Cashiers and Lombards Lodge in Whiteside Cove. Symposium features presentations by renowned historians and performances by David Holt, Sheila Kay Adams, Lee Knight, The Queen Family and Jacob Jones. Daily tickets are $80, and Two-Day tickets are $145. Seating is reserved and limited so order your tickets today! For more information or to place your ticket order, call 828-743-7710 or send an e-mail to email@example.com. May 30Blues, Brews & BBQ on the grounds of the Rib Shack Restaurant at The Old Edwards Inn & Spa in Highlands from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Fun-filled, family-friendly outdoor bash featuring live music from Hurricane Creek, mouth-watering ribs and southern sides from the Rib Shack and ice-cold brews from Highland Brewing Company. Tickets available for purchase at the Rib Shack Restaurant or by calling 828-526-8008
Community Event Calendar
Ever since early settlers and developers first arrived on the Highlands-Cashiers Plateau over a century ago family and community have been at the heart of events and gatherings in the area. The same holds true today, and theres always something happening in any one of our villages and communities! Aside from the incredible climate paired with the awe-inspiring beauty and majesty of our mountains, lakes, waterfalls and forests - below are some additional reasons you should join us on The Plateau in June:
June thru October On the Verandahs Dugout Spirits & Wine Bar presents Movie Night the 3rd Tuesday of the month beginning at 7:30 p.m. Test your trivia knowledge with classic cinema lines you know by heart, and compete for prizes. On the Veranda celebrating its 29th season is one of Highlands most unique and scenic dining venues, overlooking beautiful Lake Sequoyah. For more information, call 828.526.2338 or visit their website at www.ontheveranda.com.
June thru October On the Verandahs Dugout Spirits & Wine Bar presents Trivia Night the 2nd Wednesday of the month beginning at 7:30 p.m. Compete for the championship and win prizes. On the Veranda celebrating its 29th season is one of Highlands most unique and scenic dining venues, overlooking beautiful Lake Sequoyah. For more information, call 828.526.2338 or visit their website at www.ontheveranda.com.
June 2 Concert on the Slopes The Magic of Sinatra performed by Paul Salos at the Sapphire Valley Resort. Show begins at 7 p.m. For more information, visit www.sapphirevalleyresort.com.
June 2 & June 16 Highlands-Cashiers Plateau Audubon Societys Field Trip Around Highlands Bird and nature lovers are welcome to explore the Highlands area for native breeding birds. There is no charge to participate in the field trip that begins near Highlands Town Hall in the public parking area at 7:30 a.m. For more information, contact Brock Hutchins at 828.787.1387.
June 4 Darwin & Dixie at The Nature Center at Highlands Biological Station the first in the June Zahner Conservation Lecture Series. Executive Director of the Station and Professor of Biology at Western Carolina University Jim Costa presents a lecture on Southeastern Natural History and its influence on Charles Darwin. Begins at 7 p.m. For more information, visit the website at www.wcu.edu/hbs or call 828.526.2602.
June 4 Birding with the Audubon Eco Tour hosted by the Highlands-Cashiers Land Trust This moderate-level bird hike is free to HCLT members and just $25 donation for new friends. Reserve your spot by calling 828.526.1111.
June 5 & 6 New Yorks Lynn Loosier performs at Highlands Martin-Lipscomb Performing Arts Center Dont miss this special two-night engagement of the artful performances of singer, Lynn Loosier. Described as a Saloon Singer by Backstage Magazine the talented Ms. Loosier can sing any style of music jazz, blues, R&B, country and rock. Show times begin at 7:30 p.m. For tickets, call 828.526.9047 or visit www.highlandsperformingartscenter.org.
June 6 Celebrate Land Trust Day! Show your support for the Highlands-Cashiers Land Trust by shopping and dining at some of your favorite local merchants. A portion of the proceeds benefits HCLT. For a list of participating businesses, visit www.hicashlt.org or call 828.526.1111.
June 6 Highlands Improvement Society Social hosted by the Highlands-Cashiers Land Trust Take a step back in time to learn what life was like on the Plateau in 1909 during this very special Centennial Event. Enjoy a picnic dinner, take part in a cakewalk, toss some horseshoes and dance to live music set against the backdrop of scenic Whiteside Cove Road. Terrific opportunity to learn more about the history of the land trust, its founding members and its first purchase of land the summit of Satulah Mountain. Period costumes are optional, but encouraged. Festivities begin at 6 p.m. Contact HCLT for reservations and ticket prices by calling 828.526.1111 or emailing Julie.firstname.lastname@example.org.
June 6 Meet and Greet with the Cashiers-Highlands Humane Society will be held from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the Cashiers Village Green. Consider taking one of these precious pets home with you! For more information, visit www.chhumanesociety.org.
June 7 Where It All Began hosted by the Highlands-Cashiers Land Trust Enjoy high tea on the summit of Satulah Mountain the site of the Highlands Improvement Societys first land purchase one hundred years ago. Afternoon includes a skit by Highlands Historical Society president, Elaine Whitehurst and the music of bag piper, David Landis. Period costumes and kilts are optional, but encouraged. Event begins at 4:00 p.m. Contact HCLT for reservations and ticket prices by calling 828.526.1111 or emailing Julie.email@example.com.
June 7 Highlands-Cashiers Chamber Music Festival at Wolfgangs Restaurant & Wine Bar This exciting kick-off fund-raising event for the 28th annual Highlands-Cashiers Chamber Music Festival features excellent Argentinean wines paired with Wolfgangs fine food along with the delightful music of the Mozart String Trio. A portion of wine sales and all ticket sales benefit the HCCMF. For more information, call 828.526-9060.
June 8 7th Annual Special Operations Warrior Foundation Charity Golf Tournament at Burlingame Country Club Cost to participate is $100/person and includes lunch, dinner and chance to win door prizes. Prizes will be awarded to top three teams. Proceeds from the event go to support SOWF a very special organization created to provide college educations to the surviving children of fallen Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps special operations forces who lose their lives in combat or training, and to provide immediate financial assistance for special operations forces who are severely wounded in action. For more information, call Butch Waller at BCC at 828.966.9200 or Bill Horwitz at 828.526.0224.
June 8 Native Plant, Insect and Bird Connections presented by the Highlands Plateau Audubon Society Featuring Jim Costa, Executive Director of The Highlands Biological Station, the program is free to attendees and begins at 7:30 p.m. at The Highlands Civic Center. For more information, visit www.highlandsaudubonsociety.org.
June 11 Nance Dude at the Highlands Performing Arts Center The story of mountain grandmother Nance Dude is portrayed in this one-woman show starring Elizabeth Westall. Performance begins at 7:30 p.m. and tickets are just $15 to purchase your tickets, call 828.526.9047.
June 11 7th Annual Special Operations Warrior Foundation Silent & Live Auction Sponsored by Chef Nicholas Figel of The Cyprus Restaurant and hosted at The Highlands Community Center. Tickets with reservation are $25 - $30 at the door. Event includes catered buffet dinner featuring international fare, wine, beer, soda and great music, as well as silent and live auction to benefit SOWF a very special organization created to provide college educations to the surviving children of fallen Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps special operations forces who lose their lives in combat or training, and to provide immediate financial assistance for special operations forces who are severely wounded in action. For more information, call 828.526.0224.
June 11 Book Signing at the Bascom Author and master ceramic artist, Mark Hewitt, will be on hand to sign copies of his acclaimed book The Potters Eye: Art and Tradition in North Carolina from 5-7 p.m. For more information, call 828.526.4949 or visit www.thebascom.org/presentations.
June 13 The Three Potters at the Bascom The works of artists Hewitt, Bringle and Stuempfle will be on exhibit through July 11. A public opening reception will be eld June 13 from 5-7 p.m. admission is free. An earlier demonstration from the artists themselves will be presented in the studio barn from 9 a.m. to noon tickets are $30 for Bascom members and $45 for general admission. For more information or to reserve your spot, call 828.526.4949 or visit www.thebascom.org.
June 13 World Wide Knit In at the Bascom Bring a lawn chair and your yarn, and join us on the terrace of the Bascom for this free event and beautiful mountain views from 2-4 p.m. For more information, call 828.526.4949 or visit www.thebascom.org.
June 13 7th Annual Special Operations Adventure Race (SOAR) features 2 separate races including running, rappelling, orienteering, water event and mountain biking: the Sprint Race 5-7 hours and the Elite Race 10-12hours. The Elite Race begins at 7 a.m. and the Sprint Race begins at 8 a.m. Proceeds benefit the Special Operations Warrior Foundation a very special organization created to provide college educations to the surviving children of fallen Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps special operations forces who lose their lives in combat or training, and to provide immediate financial assistance for special operations forces who are severely wounded in action. For more information or to register, call 828.526.0224 or visit www.soarhighlands.org.
June 13 John Collette Fine Art Benefit for Highlands-Cashier Chamber Music Festival Located on Main Street in Highlands, John Collette Fine Art will host an evening of fine art, open bar, hors doeuvres and artist raffles to benefit HCCMF. Event runs from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. For more information, call 828.526.9060.
June 13-14 Cashiers Valley Rotary Spring Fling Join us on Cashiers Village Green from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. for arts, crafts, food and FUN! Pets from Cashiers-Highlands Humane Society will be on hand to love and adopt. For more information, visit www.cashiersrotary.org.
June 14 Bare Boards Party on Cashiers Village Green. This very special event is designed to celebrate the upcoming transformation of the former Summit Charter School location on Frank Allen Road into a multi-purpose open-air community facility,
June 18 & 24 "100 Years of Land Conservation" - Ran Shaffner, Dr. Gary Wein and Rosemary Clark share the history of the Highlands-Cashier Land Trust and its vision for the future in honor of the centennial celebration of this special organization. New logo will be unveiled. First presentation takes place at The Highlands Biological Station's Nature Center on June 18 at 7 p.m. and the second presentation is scheduled for June 24 at 6:30 p.m. at Jennings Barn at Lonesome Valley. Free to all! For more information, call 828.526.1111.
June 18-July 5 The Taffetas at Highlands Playhouse Delightful musical that pays homage to the girl groups of the 1950s tells the story of four singing sisters from Muncie, Indiana who are making their national television singing debut. Tickets are $30. For show times and information about ticket purchases, call 828.526.2695 or visit www.highlandsplayhouse.org.
June 20 Traditional Appalachian and Cherokee Legends at the Highlands Martin-Lipscomb Performing Arts Center Storytellers Marilyn McMinn-McCredie and Lloyd Arneach weave tales in a style that is humorous, informative and extremely moving. Performance begins at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $15 and available for purchase at www.highlandsperformingartscenter.org.
June 25 Highlands Innkeepers Tour 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. More details to follow!
June 26-28 Walk in the Park with the Highlands Historical Society Features portrayals of past Highlands leaders, the formation of the Highlands Improvement Society and the founding of the Highlands-Cashiers Land Trust. Tickets are $15 students admitted free. June 26 and 27 6-7:30 p.m. Highlands Memorial Cemetery (shuttle from Recreation Park); June 28 4 p.m. Performing Arts Center on Chestnut Street. For more information, visit www.highlandshistory.com.
June 27-28 Sapphire Valley Master Association Arts & Crafts Festival 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the Sapphire Valley Athletic Field. Contemporary crafts, folk art, jewelry and more. Animals from the Cashiers-Highlands Humane Society will be on hand to love and adopt. For more information, call 828.743.0321.
Lake Glenville Home Sales 2008 to 2009
Do you believe in love at first sight? If youve ever seen the sun setting over beautiful Lake Glenville and the majestic mountains just beyond were sure you do! However, were talking about a love that will last for future generations. In terms of investment property, Lake Glenville homes have a proven track record making this area a popular spot for legacy properties homes that are passed down, from generation to generation.
We invite you to view the sales list below for lakefront homes in Glenville sold throughout 2008 and the first quarter of 2009. Now may just be the perfect time to buy or build your dream home, and we think Lake Glenville may just be the perfect place. To begin the quest for your ideal mountain lake home, we invite you to call Silver Creek Real Estate Groups brokers Jochen Lucke or Elaine Zachary at <a href="tel:+18287431999">828-743-1999</a>, or e-mail them at either firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. They look forward to meeting you and helping you find a home you and your family will love for years to come.
2 bedroom/3 bath home in South Tater Knob sold for $729,000. 3 bedroom/3 bath home in Tater Knob sold for $735,000. 3 bedroom/3 bath home in Tahala Shores sold for $850,000. 2 bedroom/3 bath home in Woudes Mountain Village sold for $1,050,000. 3 bedroom/2 bath home in Lakewood Shores sold for $975,000. 3 bedroom/4 bath home in Lakewood Shores sold for $1,150,000. 3 bedroom/3.5 bath home in Buck Knob Landing sold for $1,200,000. 4 bedroom/4.5 bath home in Summer Cove sold for $1,550,000. 4 bedroom/3.5 bath home on Buck Knob Island sold for $1,775,000. 4 bedroom/4.5 bath home in Summer Cove sold for $1,600,000.
One need only stand on the banks of her peaceful tree-lined shores and admire the sunlight glimmering on her tranquil waters to appreciate the beauty of Lake Glenville. The view from the water is just as spectacular. Magnificent luxury lakefront and lake view homes peek out from between the tall pines and ancient hardwoods that line her banks. The owners of those homes hold front row tickets to what is arguably the best show in town sunset over the lake with a backdrop of pastel skies and mountains in the distance. That could be you standing on the private deck of your new home, overlooking one of the most beautiful views in all of the Southeastern United States.
What are you waiting for? This may be the perfect time to purchase or build your dream home on Lake Glenville. There are many wonderful communities peppered along Lake Glenville such as Glenshore, Summer Cove, Summer Hill, Strawberry Hill, and Trillium just to name just a few. To view a list of homes currently for sale on Lake Glenville, please visit this link on our Silver Creek website - Homes For Sale on Lake Glenville. Once youre ready to find the home or homesite of your dreams, we invite you to contact Silver Creek Real Estate Groups talented brokers to set up an appointment for a private tour of any these fine homes or lots. To get started, simply call Jochen Lucke or Elaine Zachary at <a href="tel:+18287431999">828-743-1999</a>, or e-mail them at either firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. They look forward to meeting you and helping you find that perfect view.
Silver Creek Real Estate Group is now leasing commercial space in The Shoppes at CreekSide conveniently located just west of the crossroads (Highway 107 and 64) in Cashiers, NC. This premier center was designed by Summerour and Associates , which gave careful consideration to every aspect of design and craftsmanship.
The Shoppes at CreekSide is the premier retail and office location and will become a landmark in Cashiers with direct frontage on Highway 64 leading to Highlands. The center attracts clients from Lake Toxaway, Sapphire Valley, the Lake Glenville area, as well as Highlands, bybeing located centrally among these great destinations in Western North Carolina. Anchored by the Wendy's restaurant which is separated from the retail building by an open courtyard featuring outdoor seating and a magnificent stone fireplace. The ground floor bays are available from 1888 to 3960 square feet. Second floor retail/office space is accessed by two staircases and an elevator. Bays are available from 1362 to 7986 square feet.
For additional leasing information, please contact Jochen Lucke at <a href="tel:+18287431999">828-743-1999</a> or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
With a history dating back to 1895, Lonesome Valley has served as a bastion to the great outdoors ever since Pittsburg entrepreneur and visionary E.H. Jennings first acquired 35,000 acres near the sleepy village of Cashiers. While Mr. Jennings is responsible for developing one of Western North Carolinas most popular resort destinations, he chose to preserve Lonesome Valley as a special place to share with his friends and family. Gracefully spanning the valley floor of the largest box canyon east of the Rockies, Lonesome Valley is said by many to be the place where Heaven and Earth meet. For more than a century, the Jennings family has continued to take great care to maintain the history and natural beauty of this unique mountain treasure.
Carefully developed in accordance with the Jennings familys wishes, amenities and homes within this stunning community complement the natural beauty of the area. Lonesome Valley has quickly become one of Cashiers most sought after developments. Cottage and home designs pay homage to the Southern Appalachian farmhouses of a bygone era. Dining within the community highlights Southern cuisine made with fresh produce grown in the Valley. The Canyon Kitchen is currently open for the season on Thursdays through Sundays, and features the culinary talents of Chef John Fleer (formerly of the renowned Blackberry Farm in Tennessee). The Canyon Kitchen is located inside Jennings Barn at the heart of the Lonesome Valley community, and reservations are recommended.
Silver Creek Real Estate Group is proud to announce that we are now highlighting several incredible homes and amazing lots available for purchase in Lonesome Valley on our website. A handful of new-construction cabins, cottages and homes are available for immediate move-in, or select your own view from a series of incredible home sites currently being offered. For photo tours and more information on Lonesome Valley in Cashiers, North Carolina, click on the following two links: Lonesome Valley land or homes for sale. When youre ready to buy or build the home of your dreams, contact one of the talented brokers at Silver Creek by calling us at (828) 742-1999, dropping by our offices located just west of the Cashiers Crossroads in The Shoppes at CreekSide, or by filling out our online contact form . We look forward to meeting you and introducing you to one of Cashiers most visually stunning communities.
If you’re lucky enough to live above Sapphire Valley’s Fairfield Lake, you’ve heard the mystical sounds that waft from the water’s edge on many summer nights. It could be, of course, the sounds of “Follow the Gleam,” Camp Merrie-Woode’s traditional final pageant. It could be the score from a musical performed by the campers in the drama program or just the voices of tired campers singing around the campfire. Either way, it’s pure magic.
The campus itself is a jewel in the already-breathtaking Sapphire Valley of North Carolina. Founded in 1919 by Mabel “Dammie” Day, Marjorie Harrison, and Mary Turk, the camp pays homage to Dammie Day’s British roots with designations like King Arthur’s Court for the building that houses the gym and climbing wall. The Castle is home to the Merrie-Woode stage and theater classes, while Merlin’s Alderley Edge houses many of the summer staff. The infirmary, said to be staffed with the nicest nurses ever, is called Cloud 9 and the camp’s directors live in a beautiful home on the property called Tintagel, named for King Arthur’s father’s castle.
The current residents of Tintagel are Jim and Denice Dunn, who took the reins as directors in 2002. The parents of two grown sons, they are now summer parents to hundreds of daughters and embody the enthusiastic culture which drives Camp Merrie-Woode. Jim, formerly the headmaster of Summit Charter School in Cashiers, and Denice, a former engineer for General Electric, have been instrumental in Merrie-Woode’s participation in the wider community, by supporting a campership program, which provides funding for children with exemplary qualifications who otherwise would be unable to attend. In addition, they have encouraged the use of the campgrounds during the off-season, welcoming after-school programs for the Boys and Girls Club of the Plateau as well as team-building activities for the New Century Scholars of Jackson County.
Celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2019, the 435-acre campground has welcomed girls from around the mountain and around the world, holding fast to its original charter to encourage the empowerment of girls and young women through physical, intellectual, and spiritual growth. It is, perhaps, more than coincidence that the camp opened its gates the same year that women won the right to vote.
The campers who are lucky enough to spend their summer days here are designated according to age, as pages, yeomen, squires, and knights. And, in another nod to Merrie-Woode’s British roots, the centerpiece of the entire camp experience is the production of “Follow the Gleam” which reenacts the story of King Arthur’s quest for the holy grail.
The alumnae are a loyal sorority. Many return to the camp as counselors, board members, or for reunions. Dorothy Moss Williams, a curator at the National Portrait Gallery who spent more than ten years at Merrie-Woode, convenes with ten camp friends each autumn in the camp’s guest lodge, which is available to rent. Merrie-Woode is also a desirable venue for weddings, although the camp holds to a strict policy requiring that the bride be an alumna. Additionally, only four weddings may be conducted on the property per year and never during camp weeks. The wedding of a former camper has been booked well in advance for the day after the August closing of this season’s final session.
Mary Leland Davenport Hutchison, who attended Camp Merrie-Woode during the 1970s and 80s, recalls a camp fundraiser she attended many years ago when she lived in Atlanta. Husbands were invited and one seasoned spouse stood up to tell the gentlemen gathered: “You have married into a cult and the sooner you pull out your checkbook, the better it will be for you.” The camp’s alumnae have been faithful supporters of various fundraising efforts over the years, making possible such things as the 2005 acquisition of land across Lake Fairfield opposite the camp, which was poised for real estate development. To honor the 100th anniversary, a capital campaign has been launched to fund an endowment, as well as attend to several capital improvements. Hutchison, whose daughter Jane has also been a camper, says that raising money for Merrie-Woode is easier than most causes because of the common heart of the alumnae. “The Merrie-Woode connection is neverending. It’s just second family.”
Camp Merrie-Woode’s program today has four major components, each of which the campers may experience throughout their stay. They are boating, horseback riding, mountaineering, and drama. In addition, the girls have a chance to choose classes in multiple other sports, as well as traditional art courses such as dance, ceramics, and painting. Knitting has enjoyed a resurgence in popularity in recent years and is now part of the offering. Depending on a girl’s interest, she can earn recognition in any of these disciplines through extensive study and practice over several summers. One camper may pursue becoming a Horsemaster, for example, while another seeks to earn a King’s Player designation for drama.
Founded as a Christian camp, Merrie-Woode is nonetheless inclusive. All of the campers participate in daily devotionals, with various cabins taking turns in leading them, and a weekly chapel service is held every Sunday in the outdoor stone amphitheater.
Alumna Madeline Edwards, who today works as a journalist based in Beirut, Lebanon, remembers her experiences in the drama program beginning in 2005. She recalls being named a King’s Player, the highest designation possible, and receiving the King’s Player necklace from her best friend at the honor ceremony. Later, as a counselor, she was a ringleader for creative undertakings like decorating the dining hall for Harry Potter night. Borrowing old wedding dresses from the costume shop and covering their faces with white face paint, she and the other counselors entertained the campers from the rafters. Her passion for drama was honed as she played the role of Anne Frank one summer and, another time, garnered the role of Mozart in a performance of Amadeus. But despite these exceptional experiences, she concludes that her favorite memories were “just any downtime spent with my best friends.” Her grandmother, Nancy Edwards, adds, most emphatically, that Merrie-Woode made her the young woman she is today.
For others, the outdoor experiences inform their eventual life path. Holly Pierce Ambler, who lives in Boone, North Carolina, spent ten summers at Merrie-Woode, as both a camper and later as a counselor. She began as a very homesick ten-year-old, sending home several impassioned letters the first week, begging her parents to come get her. But somewhere into the second week, the counselor who held her in her lap at the nightly campfire and the others who urged her to try outdoor activities turned the tide, and she was hooked. She admits that prior to her camp experience she had very little outdoor experience, but the summers on Lake Fairfield were so influential that she eventually earned a college degree in outdoor experiential education. Her first post-college job was as an instructor at the National Outdoor Leadership School. As is often the case, her aunt, sister, and cousins are also alumnae.
Sara Elizabeth Jackson, a sophomore at Auburn University, is returning this summer for the 11th time. It will be her third year as a counselor, an experience she has come to treasure even more than her time as a camper. She loves seeing the young campers return year after year, noting their development, and considers it a privilege to encourage and guide them. She has become what is called the “Weaving Head” in the arts department and supervises campers as they make pillows and seats for chairs or stools at the camp. A business administration major, she thinks her passion for this art has developed because it provides such a wonderful opportunity to get outside of her element.
Director Denice Dunn acknowledges that changing times have demanded adaptation. One such change came a few years ago when the campus became “unplugged,” meaning no cell phones, no iPods, no computers. The only exception is the iPod in each cabin which contains the music the girls have chosen to enjoy together during “downtime.” However, earbuds are completely off limits and Denice confirms that as soon as the new rules took effect there was a noticeable increase in conversation and singing on hikes, on bus trips, and around the camp.
But many things have not changed. Uniforms are a tradition, and except for the substitution of shorts for bloomers, not a lot has changed over the past 100 years. It’s all part of a culture that encourages a young woman to throw on a uniform, pull her hair back into a ponytail, and get on with the joy of self-discovery, unencumbered.
Rudi Robbins Pillow, who attended camp for three years beginning in 1964, notes that today’s technical world has created an overly competitive environment for young people and cherishes the fact that Merrie-Woode is one of the few places where a girl has only to compete against herself. She learned to love hiking and canoeing during her camp years and has memories of three-day hikes in the Smoky Mountains. Her three daughters attended Merrie-Woode, as have three granddaughters. A resident of Killen, Alabama, she recalls a recent family wedding which was attended by six Merrie-Woode alumnae from all over the country.
This year, Denice confirms a wide geographic diversity will be once again represented, with campers from 38 different states and six countries. Over 140 people will be hired for staff positions, many of them former campers who are returning as counselors. The return rate is enviable and several full-time directors of the camp were at one time campers.
The camp’s centennial is a good excuse to look back at the vision of the three founders who wanted to offer young women a chance to explore their capabilities and challenge themselves in a nurturing environment. That vision has become laser-focused as the years have passed. Whether a girl’s dream is to hike Old Bald Mountain, sing her heart out in a musical lead, or earn a Captain’s Hat for accomplishment in the water, it will all be hers for the taking beginning this June, as a new century of campers follow the gleam. Girl power is clearly alive on the beautiful banks of Fairfield Lake.