Saturday, August 17, 2013

Short update from the farm sitters

We are enjoying our stay here on Echo Valley Farm in western North Carolina.  This week we took a drive around the immediate area on country roads.  It is really pretty.  Everything is lush and green from all of the record rainfall.

This is a typical farm.

Sandy spotted this shy fellow looking at passing traffic from the safety of his barn.

Down the road we came across the Old Tamarack Post Office.  Today Tamarack is a small farming community without a downtown or any commercial buildings. 

A few days later we took a drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway and stopped at the Moses H. Cone estate called Flat Top.  Today it is a museum and an arts and crafts center.  No crap and nothing from China.  Everything sold is made locally.  We found a few keepsakes.

There is quite a story behind this mansion.  It was built by Moses Cone in 1901.  Mr. Cone made his fortune in textiles -- especially denim which was sold all over the world.  He purchased 3600 acres for $29,000.  At its height of productivity the estate had 32,000 apple trees and another 2,000 trees consisting of peach, pear, plum and cherry.  

The house has 23 rooms, including six bedrooms and 11 fireplaces on four floors and has 14,000 square feet in total.  We might go back for a tour of the living quarters on the upper floors.

The estate was donated to the National Park Service which maintains the entire property including 25 miles of original carriage roads now used as hiking trails.  

The view from the veranda includes some of the Appalachian Mountains. 

And this is the body of water you can see in the center of the above photograph.  We took it from the Blue Ridge Parkway. 

On Thursday I took Zoey and farm dog, Hayduke,  on the 3/4 mile farm trail loop, and Zoey got lost. Actually she got on the wrong side of an old wire fence and could not get back to the trail.  We had an anxious half hour or so until I spotted her through the trees looking at me.  She seemed very happy to be "rescued."

On Friday we had lunch with Sonnie and Mike Keefer,  Gabby's (farm co-owner) parents.  We went to a small restaurant in rural Tennessee named LaCucina.  LaCucina specializes in northern Italian cooking, and  it is Michelin 5 star good.  This is one of those rare experiences that come up by surprise every now and them. And the food is not at all expensive. We will go back. 

Today we drove into Boone,NC, the county seat, to visit the farmers market.  Quite nice, but we got there late, and many vendors were cleared out.  While in town we ran some errands and drove past and through Appalachian State University, which is situated in the mountain foothills on a large and rolling campus of trees and grass.  The architecture of the campus buildings is very well done. Sort of made we wish I was back in college.  NOT!  We had a great pizza for lunch. The town was jumping as this is the weekend that nearly 16,000 students returned to campus. Wal-Mart was a zoo.

Venison burgers on the grill tonight.  Yum.

Stay tuned. 


  1. I've only done a small portion of the Blue Ridge Parkway, but found it breath taking. Great scenery, and you captured some nice shots of it.

  2. Thank you Judy.

    FYI. Judy Bell does one of the best blogs available on RV living. Check it out at