Tuesday, October 20, 2009


The love of place is often tied to the people, and this is especially true for the communities surrounding The Cove at Celo Mountain. It includes our family and friends but our heritage and community at-large as well. The artists of every medium imaginable – from the high arts to “trashformations” – from literature to glass-blowing, weaving, blacksmithing (www.toeriverarts.org/ and the oldest continually operating summer theater in North Carolina(http://www.parkwayplayhouse.com/) are part of our mountain lifestyle and family. The renowned Penland School of Crafts (http://www.penland.org/) brought most of the artists here. The mountains and beauty, the freedom of expression kept them here. From the giants of Protestant evangelism like Billy Graham to the introspective study fostered by Judaism at Wildacres Retreat (http://www.wildacres.org/), to famous personal spas and retreats at Grove Park Inn (http://www.groveparkinn.com/Leisure/) and the Inn at Biltmore Estates, we represent the quintessence of America. This is home of The Power of the Purse in Asheville, the non-profit bringing Anna Quindlen to inspire us as women, the organic self-sustaining farmers at Firefly Farm (http://www.asapconnections.org/fireflyfarmfeature.html) and Green Toe Mountain Farm here on Celo who bring us the freshest and best produce from farm to table and host savory, elegant 5-course dinners on their farms for the community and visitors. Here on Celo a local doctor and his wife, a registered nurse, run a 24-acre sustainable blackberry, lavender and dairy goat farm, http://www.mountainfarm.net/. It is home of the founder of the Empty Bowl Benefit (http://www.americanprofile.com/article/29435.html) that has raised millions of dollars worldwide for the relief of hunger and of The Appalachian Therapeutic Riding Center in the beautiful South Toe River Valley, http://www.atrcriding.com/, a premier accredited operating center by North American Riding for the Handicapped Association. Thomas Wolfe, F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald and literary giants and media moguls have sought refuge and inspiration in our mountains. The Carolina Mountain Literary Festival, http://www.cmlitfest.org/, had its genesis here with the "aspiration to create a little literary community which is in dialog with readers, aspiring writers, and established authors about craft and ideas of sustaining merit." We are the hometown of Leslie Riddle (Esley) – the African-American musical genius behind the Carter family of country-western music fame (http://www.birthplaceofcountrymusic.org/node/212. and http://www.citizen-times.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20090801/ENT05/908010315/1005/ENT.) Some of our native sons and daughters were and are recognized in life for their works; some are only now being remembered posthumously. These people have been our “grassroots upside down” – they are our connection to greater America and to our deeper selves.

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