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.