Mid August at Otter Pond

In this neck of the Mountains, hints of autumn are visible everywhere. The Sumac is already turning red. The Ironwood has tinted the roadsides an orange-red. Tulip Poplar has yellow leaves, and Blackberry vines turn orange and yellow after loosing all of their fruit. Even the Maples are aware of the approaching Fall.



ironwood 2

poplar 1

gypsyGypsy Moth webs are scattered around the pond…



Tragedy at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High

While in South Florida earlier this summer, I spent time at MSD in Parkland, paying my respects to the children and teachers who were murdered and wounded in the insane rampage that occurred on February 14th.  The campus was deserted for the summer, but the memorials that had been attached to the school “security” fences had not faded. A very moving experience for me…

msd 1

msd 5

msd 6

msd 4

msd 2


Summer at Lake Lure

With an abundance of rain this summer, the mountains around Lake Lure are especially green and lush.

Sugarloaf 2

sugarloaf 14,000 foot Sugarloaf Mountain towers over the Lake from the eastern overlook…

chimney rockSugarloaf and Chimney Rock Mountains create the perfect panorama from this deck…

Lake Lure InnThe historic Lake Lure Inn of 1927 guards the eastern entrance to Hickory Nut Gorge. The large beach is a popular place to cool down. 

rumbling baldRumbling Bald Mountain is impressive from Buffalo Shoals Road at the far north end of the lake.

herman 3Approaching Lake Lure from the northeast, Young’s Mountain, at 2,800 feet dominates the view, but Mount Shumont, at 4,100 feet looms over its smaller cousin.


October in July at Rough Ridge Trail

With temps in the high 60’s, and super low humidity, one might think it was mid October instead of early July, along the eastern slopes of iconic Grandfather Mountain. Rough Ridge Trail leads from the Blue Ridge Parkway north of Linn Cove Viaduct, to a series of giant boulders and outcroppings near the 5,000 foot level of the Blue Ridge. The sky and the clarity of the view were just spectacular on this Sunday afternoon, and with cars parked a quarter mile along the Parkway from the trailhead, you would have thought that everyone in Blowing Rock and Boone was there to enjoy the rare conditions.

rough ridge 2The Piedmont Plateau was very visible along the eastern horizon.

viaduct 1Linn Cove Viaduct was barely visible in the thick Summer forest near the summit of mile high Grandfather. (Upper center)


Rough Ridge 1

rough ridge 3

groom 2Grandfather was impressive behind this brave couple…

groom 3

Yours truly found the perfect spot for a great sunbath…                                                  vann 1…and just couldn’t get enough of this incredible Blue Ridge afternoon.Vann 2

On the hike back down the rocky trail, late Rhododendron  caught the sun just right.rhodo

Bill’s Mountain at Lake Lure

Just east of Lake Lure is Bill’s Mountain, named for the creek that flows around it’s northern slope.  Not a tall mountain, it has the distinction of being the last mountain you see if you fly due south to the mountains of western Cuba. It is private, with the gated community of Vista at Bill’s Mountain being home to many glorious homes with amazing views of Lake Lure and the Hickory Nut Gorge.

It is  shown here on a foggy summer morning….

bills mountain 2

Bills Mountain 4Farms and smaller gated communities lie between the mountain and Lake Lure.

bills mountain 3Bill’s Creek Road follows an old Cherokee trading path over the mountain, where you’ll find the Craftsmen style entrance gate at the 1,200 foot level.


Near the base of the mountain, along Bill’s Creek, is the abandoned Lake Lure Vineyards.

vineyard 2

vineyard 3

One of many private homes you’ll find near the lake with a view toward the mountain.



Summer Solstice Sunset

June 21st brought another memorable sunset along the Blue Ridge. These images were captured from my deck.

deck sunset

sunset summer

If, by chance, you see an image on my blog that you simply must have for your home or office, just drop me a note at mountainvann@gmail.com and I’ll send you price and size details. They would be on blocked canvas using a much larger file than used on my blog for the best quality.  Here are some samples that others have ordered in the past.

Wide ViewInstallation at Larkin’s-on-the-Lake restaurant at Lake Lure.

KODAK Digital Still CameraFrom atop Hawksbill Mountain on Linville Gorge.

KODAK Digital Still CameraLarge 3 foot by 4 foot canvas in a home setting.




Torrential Rain along the Blue Ridge

Storm Alberto brought over a foot of rain to most of these mountains in just four days.  Creeks and rivers overflowed, and mudslides occurred in many places. Otter Creek, just below my house, rose more than six feet in a matter of hours. I made this short video on Thursday to capture the rage that a normally tranquil stream can muster when angry.


road 4Otter Creek Road after a flash flood passed through…