Monday, November 16, 2009

Experience Two New Holiday Events in Spruce Pine
Sponsored by the Home of the Perfect Christmas Tree

The perfect start to the holiday season…the Home of the Perfect Christmas Tree Holiday Market. The first weekend in December promises a getaway unlike any other. The Town of Spruce Pine kicks off the season with a unique shopping experience. Housed in a renovated mill, the Holiday Market features handcrafted artists and craftspeople selling their wares in a festive setting. You can even come and pick out your perfect Christmas Tree! Experience a memorable shopping experience among one of a kind decorations, a Market CafĂ©, and special holiday entertainment. Set in the picturesque North Carolina Mountains and in the haven for craft in the United States, the Market compliments the Toe River Studio Tour taking place the same weekend where over 200 artists in the region will open their studios to the public for a very special and unique holiday shopping experience. Known for being the premier craft destination, featuring Penland School of Craft and hundreds of artists, Spruce Pine rolls out the welcome mat this holiday season and presents a very special holiday weekend!
Holiday Market December 5 & 6, 31 Cross Street Center, Spruce Pine, NC 28777 For more information visit or call 828-765-9033.

~Holiday Festival Features Ice Skating in the Street ~

Historic Downtown Spruce Pine, nationally known as the Home of the Perfect Christmas Tree, will transform into a spectacular and magical evening this holiday season. Blanketed with thousands of lights, the historic Upper Street becomes an eye-popping winter wonderland with real ice skating in the streets, holiday festooned wagon rides, Story time for kids, festive food, a chili cook off, a unique shopping experience and more. A special holiday event for the whole family unlike any other!

Saturday, December 12th
1 p.m.-7 p.m.
Upper Street, Spruce Pine

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Akira Satake kohiki - yuuyaku - yakishime at Crimson Laurel Gallery

This November, Crimson Laurel Gallery presents: Yakishime – Kohiki – Yuuyaku – New work by Akira Satake and also New Work by guest potter Lindsay Rogers.

Akira will feature three distinct styles of pottery. Yakishime refers to pottery that is fired without any applied glaze. Natural ash glaze builds up on the pottery during wood firing and creates a number of wood-fired pottery effects. Kohiki is modeled after Korean Yi Dynasty ceramics and typically refers to an iron-rich clay body with white slip and then finished with a translucent glaze. Yuuyaku refers to glazed ceramic pieces and Akria uses Kakl, a persimmon or red iron glaze, Shino, a feldspar glaze originally developed in Japan and Celadon, a glaze which is white with hints of green and blue originally developed in China. Akira was born in Osaka, Japan has been living in the U.S. since 1983 In 2003 he relocated to Swannanoa, North Carolina, where he built a Japanese Kyushu-style oil kiln and a wood-fired kiln. For Akira the act of creation is a collaboration between himself, the clay and the fire. Akira has been influenced by natural events such as undulations in sand that has been moved by wind and rock formations as well as the crackle and patina of the weathered walls of ancient structures.

Lindsay Rogers was influenced by the antique pottery that surrounded her in her youth and the many hands and stories that those antique pieces had experienced. She is excited at the prospect that her work possesses this potential and her hope is that each piece she creates will stand alone as a ceramic representation of of how she interacts with the world. Lindsay began her work in ceramics in 2001 in New Haven Connecticut and was offered a residency in Natchez, Mississippi in 2005 where she worked with potter Conner Burns. She is currently working as a resident artist at the EnergyXchange in western North Carolina.

The exhibit opened on November 7th and an artist reception will take place on November 21st at 6pm. The exhibit will remain at Crimson Laurel Gallery through the end of the year. You can also see the exhibit online at

John Lara
Crimson Laurel Gallery
(828) 688 3599

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Crimson Laurel Gallery hosts "Lost Crossings Exhibit"

The Lost Crossings exhibit opened to a full house Saturday September 5th at the Crimson Laurel Gallery, downtown Bakersville NC.
A contemplative Look at Western North Carolina’s Historic Swinging Footbridges was a collaboration between photographer Shane Darwent and author Katey Schultz and was overwhelmingly welcomed by enthusiasts and novices alike. Katey and Shane added a second slide show and lecture to their pre-scheduled show to accommodate the crowd. Our State magazine which featured an article on the swinging footbridge project along with many other magazine and newspaper articles has triggered calls to purchase the book and map from across the state. The first printing of book sold out on opening night and, the second printing will arrive in two weeks. Pre-orders are already being taken.

Also available with the book is an unframed 18" x 26" map that provides locations for the various bridges in Michell and Yancey County. Limited unframed photographs of the bridges by artist Shane Darwnet are also still available.

The Sharing exhibit in our lower exhibit space features some of the finest potters in Western North Carolina coming together to create unique and one of a kind original pieces that can be used for entertaining friends and neighbors. The exhibit will feature platters, serving bowls, tea sets, pitchers, jugs and other unique pieces. The pieces in this collaborative show will focus on large pieces that can be used to entertain guests yet express superior craftsmanship, form and function. Among the many featured artists will be Stanley Mace Andersen, Kyle Carpenter, Josh Copus, Shawn Ireland, Michael Kline, Kent McLaughlin, Shane Mickey, Mark Peters, Lindsay Rogers, Ken Sedberry, Gay Smith and Ron Slagle. The exhibit opens with an artist reception on September 5th at 6pm and will remain through October 31st.

For more information about the exhibitions call Crimson Laurel Gallery at 828-688-3599 or visit

John Lara
Crimson Laurel Gallery

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Liz Summerfield Benefit Auction

The Toe River area art and craft community invites everyone to a benefit auction for Liz Zlot Summerfield on August 16th at the Penland School of Crafts. August 5, 2009 - Bakersville, NC: The Toe River area art and craft community invites everyone to a benefit auction for Liz Zlot Summerfield on August 16th at the Penland School of Crafts Northlight Building in Penland, NC. Liz Zlot Summerfield is a ceramic artist from Bakersville, NC who recently received the difficult news that she has cancer.

The benefit auction is being held to help raise funds for Liz, her husband Scott and their young daughter Roby, as they face the many challenges ahead.Response from the art and craft community across the country has been outstanding and this benefit auction will include some of the finest art and craft from Western North Carolina and across the country. If you are unable to attend, an online sale of select pieces will be available by visiting beginning on September 1st .

Please support Liz by joining us for this benefit auction. The doors will open for the silent auction on August 16th at 1pm and the live auction begins at 2pm . Beverages and light refreshments will be served and we will have some great music too. For more information about the benefit auction or to make a donation to Liz please call Crimson Laurel Gallery in Bakersville, NC.

John Lara
Crimson Laurel Gallery
828 688 3599

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Crimson Laurel Gallery presents "Anthropogenic" ceramics by Eric Knoche and Matt Jacobs

This July 3rd., Crimson Laurel Gallery in Bakersville, NC presents “Anthropogenic”, new work by Matt Jacobs and Eric Knoche. These two accomplished potters from Asheville are on the leading edge of studio ceramic design. Both use a local clay that is rich in particle variation and organic material that makes it both plastic yet unpredictable. Their influence on the clay results in beautiful and unique works of art.

Matt believes that his goal is to allow the clay to have its own voice. Many of his surfaces expose the interior rather than covering it up. And, surfaces added to the clay are done so in a way that the dark iron clay beneath is allowed to show through. In the wood firing process Matt exposes the clay to a journey of intense heat, time and space, which contains both risk and balance. In encountering his work, Matt hopes the viewer is called to reflect on their own unique home, family, and life in their particular place on our world.

Eric's current body of work is a personal exploration of how form and spatial relationship resonate within the human spirit as well as an anthropological search for the meaning and beauty generated through interaction of humans and objects. He currently utilizes vessel forms as distillations of our common meta-culture, both ancient and contemporary, into tangible and recognizable objects. Ultimately he is searching for a deeper understanding of the human spirit and its relationship to both the physical world and the natural rhythms of life.

The exhibit will open on July 3rd. with an artist reception at 6pm. The exhibit will remain at Crimson Laurel Gallery through August 29th. For more information call 828-688-3599 or visit

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Chamber Director Proud of Historic Courthouse Investment

State Employees’ Credit Union (SECU) members via the SECU Foundation have provided a $200,000 investment to the Mitchell County Courthouse Foundation for renovations to the historic courthouse, making way for the SECU Virtual Learning and Communication Center. The Center will house a state-of-the-art telecommunications and public access computer system, providing area residents access to educational, cultural, and economic development opportunities that are not currently possible.

Located in Bakersville in the mountains of western North Carolina, the Mitchell County Courthouse is listed on the National Register of Historic Places by the US Department of the Interior. The renovation and restoration process, coordinated by the Mitchell County Courthouse Foundation, is designed to transform the existing property into a place that can serve the area citizens, while still preserving the historic significance of the building.

Dr. Daniel Barron, Mitchell County Courthouse Foundation Chairman states, “The SECU Foundation’s investment towards the Mitchell County Historic Courthouse has enabled this small rural community to access education and opportunities it would not have been able to otherwise. The receipt of this funding was the most critical part of our campaign and without it this project could have been held back for well over the next year or possibly longer. This is all possible through the SECU Foundation’s belief in our project.”

Shirley Hise, Chairman of SECU’s Spruce Pine Advisory Board, and Director of the Mitchell County Chamber of Commerce comments, “We are pleased and excited to have the SECU Foundation members’ support for a Mitchell County project. This courthouse is a landmark in our area and the Mitchell County Courthouse Foundation has worked very hard to make the redevelopment one which will benefit all the citizens in this county. The SECU Foundation funding will aid in the preservation of this historic site.”

Pictured above left to right: Janet Cook-Spruce Pine SECU Advisory Board, Shirley Hise-Spruce Pine SECU Advisory Board, Dr. Daniel Barron-Mitchell County Courthouse Foundation Chairman, Kim Gouge- SECU VP of Spruce Pine, Chris Smith-Spruce Pine SECU Advisory Board and Robert Gault-Spruce Pine SECU Advisory Board. (Photo: Business Wire)

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Spruce Pine Farmer's Market Opens!

Summer must be just around the corner! The Spruce Pine Farmer's Market will open on May 27th and will offer some old favorites as well as new wares!

This year's vendors from Avery, Mitchell and Yancey counties will come to "Upper Street" every Wednesday during the Summer from 2:30 p.m.-5:30 pm. "The time is right for turning in to support our community and for growing a sustainable market, and I have a feeling that everyone around is ready to tap into it," said Jennifer Rambo, manager of the Spruce Pine Farmer's Market. "We keep getting phone calls every week about more people wanting to come out, and everything you can buy is all produced right here."

From produce like striped zucchini and yellow cucumbers that you can't get in the stores, to the mainstays of goat cheese, jams and jellies, home made breads and other local produce, the Farmer's Market will be a welcome addition to the downtown Spruce Pine activities.

The Market will open on May 27th and runs through the end of October.

(excerpts taken from the Mitchell News Journal/Joel Gerber)

WNC Quilt Trails featured in Wall Street Journal

The Quilt Trails of WNC, which runs through both Yancey and Mitchell Counties, was featured in the Wall Street Journal this weekend. The Quilt Trails program features handpainted quilt blocks displayed on buildings, homes, barns and other structures throughout the two counties. Many of the quilt blocks are directly tied to personal stories of the families, businesses and/or history of the structure they are placed on.

The Quilt Trails program has just released their Tour Guides and Maps which are being offered in the Quilt Trails Gift Shop at the Yancey County Chamber of Commerce in Burnsville.
Maps include all of Mitchell and Yancey Counties, with an overall map and individual maps for individual Trails. [Click here for online maps]
Guides are available for Arbuckle, Bakersville/Roan Mountain, Bee Log, Burnsville, Celo & Parkway, Green Mountain & Relief, Lickskillet to Westside, Pensacola, and Spruce Pine.

To read the Wall Street Journal article click here

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Bakersville Community Market Begins.

The Bakersville Community Market began Memorial day weekend to kick off the season for 2009.
Last year was the beginning of the event created by John Lara of Crimson Laurel Gallery, Bakersville. The premise of the market is to bring community members together to use the new Bakersville pavilion constructed with grants and donations in 2007. The market provides a forum for bakers, farmers, potters, painters and artisans in any field from Mitchell or Yancey counties. It also provides a forum for performance art and exhibits relating to area art and craft. Best of all, it's free!

The first day of market included some beautiful paintings by Tracy Booth, jewelry by Germaine Galjour and John Lara, some great jade plants and a yarn spinning demonstration. This weeks market will include pottery by Tracy Dotson and the Bakersville Garden Club will be selling some beautiful hanging baskets and other plants too. We have room for many more vendors and shoppers will find some great deals on local art, craft, vegetables, flowers, plants, prepared foods and much more. Stop on by!

The market will open each Saturday from Memorial day through the last Saturday in October from 9am to 1pm. For more information or to request an application contact John Lara at 828-688-3599 or email

Friday, May 15, 2009

"Silver Ghosts" visit Crimson Laurel Gallery

The Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost car club visited Crimson Laurel Gallery, Bakersville , NC. this past weekend and the antique cars received great interest from local Bakersville residents. The Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost automobile was the premier luxury car of it's day, epitomising all that is the very best in British engineering. The companies attention to detail resulted in such an outstanding quality that this motor car rightfully was stated to be "the best car in the world". The first public display of the 40/50 hp model as it was called then was at London's Olympia Motor in November 1906. Rolls-Royce made their world famous automobile in England from 1906 - 1925.

These 6 cylinder in-line engine in two groups of three, sidevalve, watercooled, bore x stroke are very rare, 7,874 every made. Near forty cars entered Bakersville on the Morning of the 9th of May. Average price of these automobiles ranged from $225K to over a million dollars.
Crimson Laurel Gallery organized the visit during last years leaf season when two of the tour operators visited the gallery and showed great interest in the collection of work offered and the historic nature of the the "Blevins Building," the home of Crimson Laurel Gallery. "Visits like these put places like Bakersville on the map, " said John Lara, co-owner of the gallery. " We currently draw visitors from across NC. to shop our collection of fine art and craft, one of the largest in the country"

Special Sterling silver jewelry items bearing the "Spirit of Ecstasy" hood ornament image were produced especially for the tour group by artist Deb Karash, Marshall, NC. and were a huge hit with the near eighty Rolls Royce enthusiasts. After shopping and enjoying locally baked treats, coffee and tea at the gallery, the tour continued to the Blue Ridge Parkway and lunch at Altapass.

David Trophia
Crimson Laurel Gallery

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Art of Glass in the Family

By Teresa AnnasThe Virginian-Pilot© May 9, 2009

Kids: No matter what you do, they're embarrassed. They rebel. Then they grow up to be kind of like you. Only different.

Take the Bernsteins. William and Katherine and one of their sons, Alex, are glass artists in the western mountains of North Carolina, one of the world's hottest regions for glass art.

Alex didn't set out to work in glass. But now he and his parents are a family within a family - the tight-knit group of artists in the American studio glass movement, which officially began in 1962. That's when Harvey Littleton and Dominick Labino led a workshop showing a few adventurous souls how they could blow glass art in their own studios.

Littleton's a buddy of the Bernsteins; he lives a 25-minute drive away, when he's not in Florida. Alex was born in Littleton's town, Spruce Pine, N.C. Glass legends like Dale Chihuly stopped by Alex's house when he was young.

Read the entire article!

Photo: Alex Bernstein, with his ''Town Mountain,'' joined his parents, Katherine and William Bernstein, in the family glass business. (Vicki Cronis-Nohe The Virginian-Pilot)

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Rob Pulleyn and Deb Karash show at Crimson Laurel Gallery

The opening of "Same View Different Window", ceramics by Rob Pulleyn and art jewelry by Deb Karash was very well attended by artists and enthusiasts alike. John and I would like to thank all those who helped make the night a great success for the artists and our community. The importance of an art opening, especially one in such a small community as Bakersville, is multifaceted. It's about showing support for those in our community who have chosen to make their living from art or craft. Making a living this way is difficult to say the least and some are more successful than others. Those who have chosen this path are very passionate about what they do. Openings are also about meeting individuals who support the artists, talking with them, thanking them and learning from them. The bottom line is that no matter who the artist is, a show of support goes a very long way toward the creative process as a whole.

Crimson Laurel Gallery has created a space in an unlikely location that celebrates ceramics and jewelry alike. It's a space to casually wander through he vast talent we have in western North Carolina and across the country. The exhibit space was created to showcase those who have achieved a level of advanced accomplishment in their art or craft. We invite everyone to view the latest exhibit by Rob Pulleyn and Deb Karash. The neatly composed squares of soil with a small glass sheet on which the jewelry sits is worth the trip itself. The complements received about both the art and the installation itself were overwhelming. Thanks to everyone who attended the opening. The exhibit can be seen
online at

A new brochure is available listing all the exhibitions for 2009 for Crimson Laurel Gallery, Penland School of Craft, The Design Gallery, Crabtree Creek Gallery and both TRAC locations.

These brochures are available at all of the above mentioned locations and at the Mitchell County Chamber of Commerce.

David Trophia
Crimson Laurel Gallery

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Popular Annual Luncheon Features Meridith Elliott Powell

Don't miss this informative and fun-packed presentation at the annual National Tourism Week Luncheon sponsored by the Mitchell County Chamber of Commerce and Carolina First Bank of Spruce Pine. For 2009, the luncheon will also be a celebration of National Small Business Week so it is a perfect way to jump start your business for the upcoming season!

Learn budget friendly ways to increase your business and get the greatest returns! The luncheon will be held on Wednesday, May 13th at 12 noon at the Chalet Restaurant in Little Switzerland. The Seminar and Lunch is $12 per person. Call in your RSVP to the Chamber at 765-9033. This will be a great seminar to bring your colleagues, customer service personnel, sales team or front line employees. Please RSVP by Monday,
May 11th.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Crimson Laurel Gallery - Rob Pulleyn and Deb Karash "Same View Different Window"

Artists Reception: Saturday May 2nd 6:00 PM

Location: Crimson Laurel Gallery
Bakersville, NC. 28705

Crimson Laurel Gallery proudly presents new work from artists Deb Karash and Rob Pulleyn. This unique and inspiring mix of ceramics and jewelry is the first dual artist exhibition to emanate from the historic Marshall High Studios, Marshall, NC.

"Same View" - Artist Deb Karash and Rob Pulleyn create work with a shared appreciation of rich surface and elegant form. Each artist uses multiple layers of color to create deep transparent hues of color. Rob uses high fire clays decorated with multiple layers of under glazes, stains and oxides. This means most of his pieces are fired many times. The surfaces are manipulated both before and after they are fired. Deb uses sterling silver, copper and prisma color (colored pencil) to create her nationally recognized art jewelry with a distinctive look. The copper is textured and treated to hold the multiple layers of rich color. Brass rivets and sterling tubes hold the components together creating a dimensional and wearable masterpiece.

"Different Window" - The historic Marshall High School Studios in downtown Marshall, NC. house these two artists in separate studios in the massive refurbished old high school building. The close proximity of these two under the same roof has helped create a close friendship while allowing the them to influence each others work. Two of the pieces on exhibit are collaborative works that include both ceramic and metal elements. Others include jewelry forms that pay homage to Pulleyn's forms along side clay vessels adorned with Karash's surface elements. The show is truly a collaboration between friends.

Please Join us for an artists reception Saturday May 2nd at 6:00PM at Crimson Laurel Gallery, Bakersville, NC. The show will also be available to view online the day of the opening at The exhibition will be in place from May 2nd - June 27th.

David Trophia
Crimson Laurel Gallery

Thursday, April 23, 2009

New Products Debut At Home of the Perfect Christmas Tree Store

Eighteen new product makers were approved for participation in the Home of the Perfect Christmas Tree project during the March review. On April 23rd from 10-5, the new products will be on display at the Store. A new artists reception will be held from 12 noon- 1p.m. to give customers an opportunity to meet the new artists. The new products range include wood working, textiles, glass, stationary, ornaments, baskets, pottery and more!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

New Member Breakfast

The Mitchell County Chamber is growing! We have welcomed many new members to the Chamber in the past couple of months and we are hosting them today for a new member breakfast! Sandy Buchanan, our membership director, has coordinated a breakfast for new members to introduce them to the Chamber staff, the roles of the staff and the activities of the Chamber! Welcome new members!

In photo( L-R) Spruce Pine Cleaners owner Chris Westveer, Chamber Board member Bob Hensley, Membership Director Sandy Buchanan, and Dennis McClellan, Spruce Pine Cleaners.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Home of the Perfect Christmas Tree has new blog!

Blog, Blog, Blog! We are happily blogging here at the Chamber/HPCT office and just thought that the HPCT needed a new blog! We constantly have great news to share about our nearly 100 product makers and all of the activities and events going on here at the Store! Click here to read our first post! Please add us to your blog list (along with the Chamber's too) and we'd love to keep up with you too!

Monday, April 6, 2009

NC ABC Commission in Spruce Pine Monday April 6th

Lori Lee of the North Carolina Alcohol Beverage Control Commission will be at the Spruce Pine Town Council meeting tonight at 5:30 p.m. to answer questions about the sale of alcoholic beverages in Spruce Pine. The Town Council meeting are held in the Board Room of the Spruce Pine Town Hall.

University of Kentucky Visits Home of the Perfect Christmas Tree Store

The Home of the Perfect Christmas Tree Store has hosted visitors from around the world...literally. From Australia to England and even a group of Italian mayors have visited our little store on the corner, as well as visitors from around our own country. Today a group from the University of Kentucky will visit the store to learn about our unique model for economic development and revival.

The group is a part of the Kentucky Entrepreneurial Coaches Institute from the University of Kentucky. Their visit is the first of two visits they will make to the Store. They are touring rural communities in Western North Carolina that have been successful recruiting entrepreneurs, developing their crafts industry, marketing their region and much more. The group is being brought today by Becky Anderson, former Director of Hand Made in America and newly announced Mitchell County EDC Director.

We look forward to sharing our story with this group and to telling them about our wonderful area and craft industry. It's always a pleasure to share good things!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Fire On The Mountain!

There'll be Fire on the Mountain in downtown Spruce Pine on Saturday, April 25 when the annual Fire on the Mountain Blacksmith Festival happens. The festival has already started in a way as the Blacksmith Exhibit is on display at the Toe River Arts Council in downtown Spruce Pine.

The exhibit featuring the eclectic work of the Blacksmith Festival participants will run until the Festival on Saturday, April 25. Exhibit hours are 10 am-5 pm. For more information check out TRAC's website at For more information on the Blacksmith Festival visit Spruce Pine Main Street's festivals website at

It was in Spruce Pine in the 1930's and 1940's that two of Daniel Boone's direct descendants owned and operated a forge. Lawrence and Daniel Boone VI became very well known for the iron hardware they made for Colonial Williamsburg. Spruce Pine also has the distinction of having Bea Hensley, one of NC's Living Treasures as a resident blacksmith. Bea worked as an apprentice with the Boones and still resides in Spruce Pine.

At the 2009 Festival, festival go-ers can hammer out a little metal in the Hands On tent or just watch the professionals. Renowned blacksmiths Zack Noble, Daniel Miller, Elizabeth Brim and Joe Anderson will be demonstrating the art of blacksmithing. Don't miss all the food, fun, exhibits, demonstrations and music at this year's Festival!

Photo note: Upper Left: Firescreen by Zack Noble
Right: Zack Noble demonstrating at Festival

Monday, March 16, 2009

Grassy Creek Art Studio...Did you know about this?

We argue that Mitchell County and the surrounding areas have THE best art and craft ANYWHERE! It's true. We ran across this story about twins Mary and "Mot" in Little Switzerland who taught art and craft lessons back in the '70s. The twins, age 95, still summer in Little Switzerland. This is just one of the many stories told throughout our hills about the passing down of the love of all things handcrafted. We loved this story and thought you might also! This story was found on the Little Switzerland website at

If you wander down the Grassy Creek Falls Road toward the waterfall, you may notice a small “A” frame cabin on the right that appears as a part of the woods…sort of imbedded into the forest. It clings to the side of that mountain as it slips down to the creek where the landscape creates a set of petite falls which trip endlessly over rocks and fallen trees. It was here in the early 1970’s that Martha Wagoner and Mary Wilson offered art lessons in painting, sketch and pottery. Martha and Mary, twins now aged 95 spend their winters in Newton, NC, but still live here in Little Switzerland in the summertime. Grassy Creek Art Studio offered classes for about 6 years from 1970 to 1976. The twins offered classes in painting, pottery, weaving, metal enameling, lapidary work, wood carving, sculpting, knitting and stitchery. Martha, or Mot as we know her, is a master weaver & spinner as well as a potter. Mary is a painter and taught watercolor and acrylics painting along with some ceramics and china painting. Mot walked down the mountain from her home near Rich Knob every day and Mary walked from her home on High Ridge Road. The trail used by Mot was over the Mountain, not via the road, and is an athletic challenge for anyone, even the fit hiker. Little Switzerland has always been fertile ground for those who enjoy arts and handicrafts. You will find weaving looms in private homes here, easels and pottery wheels, and you will find numerous wood turners, blacksmiths and glass blowers. Each summer The Little Switzerland Homemakers offer an art show & sale at Geneva Hall “Uptown”. These events began with the creation of the Arts and Crafts Co-op, by the students and participants in the Grassy Creek Arts studio. Just as interesting as the studio, is the Mill that once stood adjacent to it. In 1910, our area boasted its own Grist Mill powered by the upper falls there at the studio. Local home farmers carried bags of whole corn on their backs down to the mill and had it ground for their own personal use. Today, the Wilson family has dismantled the mill piece by piece and saved the materials in hopes that one day it can be restored.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Images of America: Mitchell County

Have you ever wondered what life was like in Mitchell County 50, 75 or even 100 years ago? Can a picture really do the job of 1,000 words? Perhaps if the picture is like those collected in a new pictorial history of Mitchell County. On Monday, March 16 at 6 p.m. Toe River historian and author Michael C. Hardy will present a program on the new book at the Spruce Pine Library. The proceeds from copies sold that evening will support the Mitchell County Historical Society.

Spruce Pine Gets Wet

A total of 824 votes were cast in the election on alcohol in Spruce Pine on Tuesday, March 10. All four votes passed in the alcohol election by nearly 100 votes. Malt Beverage passed with 55.7 percent with 459 votes for and 365 votes against. Unfortified wine passed with 55.33 percent with 457 votes for and 369 votes against. ABC Store passed with 55.27 percent with 456 votes for and 369 votes against. Mixed beverage passed with 55.91 percent with 459 votes for and 362 votes against. The Malt Beverage vote deals specifically with beer or other malt beverages under 16 percent alcohol content that can be sold in stores. Unfortified wine is any non liquor beverage over 16 percent alcohol can be sold in stores. The ABC store vote will bring an ABC store to the Spruce Pine city limits. Mixed Beverage allows for the on premise sale of liquor in a drink for the consumption on property.

The town will now need to appoint an ABC board that will oversee how the funds from alcohol sales will be appropriated in the county. The new board will decide where the ABC store will be located. Any business wishing to sell alcohol or liquor by the drink must apply for a permit.

As this election was townwide, businesses or restaurants wishing to serve alcohol must be within the city limits. The rest of Mitchell County is considered dry and no alcohol can be sold.