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.