Enjoy the Colorful Photographic Impressions created by Vann Helms
Five years ago I wrote this post, and it bears reblogging…
If you make a right turn onto Old Jonas Ridge Road off The Blue Ridge Parkway just north of Linville, and only a few miles south of Grandfather Mountain, the first thing you see is a giant Christmas tree farm. What I found unusual was the large number of Colorado Blue Spruce growing there. Most of these farms grow the popular Fraser Fir, and it was refreshing to see something new! After a couple of miles, you turn onto a gravel one lane forest road, and wind your way about six miles along the ridge, moving deeper into a thick forest. With the windows down, you feel the 65 degree air, cooled by a recent passing thunder storm. Your destination is a small parking area at the Trailhead…
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A recent post highlighted the Village of Cheshire in Black Mountain, North Carolina, and now my first visit there has yielded a treasure of incredible homes that captures the history and architectural beauty of these breathtaking Mountains. As you move through this neighborhood of quiet streets, walkways, and meticulously landscaped gardens, you’ll be transported to a time long ago when community meant everything, and sitting on a large front porch brought neighbors together to visit and chat about family and their daily experiences. Keep in mind that everything you see is less than fifteen years old, which makes Cheshire even more remarkable.
From the moment you enter this sanctuary of urban design, you’ll be aware that you are surrounded by high mountains and lush vegetation and large open public spaces, all carefully orchestrated to bring a sense of peace and order to daily life.
Large homes with verandas, numerous windows, and the creative use of wood and stone hark back to an America long ago. Every one is a work of building art, and cars are mostly invisible here, hidden in rear alleys and garages. The homes are close together by design, and walking trails link all parts of Cheshire to a Town Center with restaurants and specialty shops.
Streets are named for legendary authors and poets like Poe, Keats, and Wordsworth. This Tudor home lives up to the name out front.
Around every corner, evergreens and flowers excite the senses and complement the homes that they frame.
Throughout Cheshire, low fences and stone dividers invite visitation and contact.
Stone stairs connect the street with the porches, and have the appearance of being carved from the rocky hillside.
An “Eyebrow” over this porch is a common Craftsman detail, and this Grand Staircase draws neighbors to pay a visit.
This Cape Cod style house is almost lost in the woods…
Shingles were always a Craftsman trademark…
These tall and narrow houses are part of the “Treehouse” section of Cheshire Village, where the hillside is steep, and the trees large.
This tall home in the regular neighborhood is influenced by the Treehouse area…
Smaller cottages can be reserved by the night if you’re looking for a special mountain retreat… There are seven cottages in Cheshire Village.
New Townhomes are nearing completion adjacent to the Town Center. as are villa type cottages in the same area…
Strict design guidelines are followed to maintain the classic atmosphere of Cheshire Village. The entire village was a masterplan community, similar to Seaside and Watercolor on the Florida Gulf Coast, Habersham in Beaufort, South Carolina, and Windsor in Boca Raton, Florida.
I’m looking forward to visit in the fall when the colors will be incredible.
Every June, along the roadsides of the Blue Ridge Mountains, a profusion of color blankets the normally green undergrowth. This year, an abundance of rain combined with a late spring bloom has multiplied this annual orange extravaganza. The Tiger Lily acquired that moniker because of its animal like stripes. These tubers grow mostly underground except when they burst forth in early June.
Fifteen years ago I read an article in SOUTHERN ACCENTS Magazine about a new town development for Black Mountain, North Carolina, and recall being intrigued by the prospect of living in a place like Cheshire Village. It was designed by the same team who designed SEASIDE on the Florida gulf coast.
This was originally posted five years ago, but these spectacular Flowers are always worth another visit.
Every June thousands of people flock to Roan Mountain to walk among the magnificent mounds of rhododendrons. In a good year, these dense shrubs, standing taller than a person, create a spectacular display with thousands of magenta blooms. Each rhododendron’s round, manicured shape is a testament to severe pruning by wind and winter weather. The peak blooming period is usually around the third week of June, but this year, the bloom has come early, and the blanket of flowers over the upper slopes of the mountain are already impressing impatient visitors.
Around 1830, General John T. Wilder bought 7,000 acres across the top and sides of Roan Mountain. It was Wilder who built the road to Carver’s Gap at 5,550 feet. He also constructed a 20 room log inn near the summit of Roan High Knob in 1877, then replaced it with the luxurious Cloudland Hotel. For about 20 years…
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In late May, the approach road at Biltmore Estate is alive with large Mountain Laurel in magenta, pink, and white. With many of the showy shrubs being nearly a hundred years old, you won’t find a better display anywhere in the mountains. They were planted by Fredrick Law Olmsted, who designed all the landscaping at this historic Vanderbilt estate. But you’ll need to hurry. In a week or so, they will be gone.
Of course, a visit to Biltmore in Asheville is never complete without a drive around the entire estate, and a stop at the glorious Biltmore Gardens.
I can’t think of a more peaceful way to spend a late Spring afternoon…
Over 8″ of rain has fallen here in three days, and all the creeks are filled to overflowing. The National Weather Service has announced an official end to any drought conditions anywhere in North Carolina.
This one minute video shows Otter Creek Falls as I prefer to see it, very active.
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