Residents of the Heritage Ridge Villas enjoy hiking on the Jump Off trail at the top of the mountain. This trail follows a ridge line, and has a long gentle trail, with a lookout point. For those who want a bit of a steeper hike, it's a short climb up to an even higher lookout. This trail goes through an old growth forest, with these giant trees. Residents of the villas have access to the many miles of hiking trails within Mountain Air. The trails are well maintained and well marked. What a beautiful way to spend part of a day.
A few large American Chestnuts which fruit every year are growing right outside the E building of the Heritage Ridge Villas. Jan took some of the fruit and twigs with leaves to the American Chestnut Foundation in nearby Asheville. Ben Jarrett, the science coordinator, wants to come next fall and collect some of the fruit from our very rare Chestnuts, to help with their breeding program, designed to bring back now extinct American Chestnuts into our forests.
Giant Chestnuts used to cover the western North Carolina forests, but by 1950 had succumbed to blight, a fungal disease. They became extinct. The dead trees were attacked by insects and removed, drastically changing our forest environment and climate. The wood from these dead trees, called wormy chestnut, is prized and rare today and still used for decorative purposes.
The American Chestnut Foundation is trying to bring these trees back. By finding the few rare trees that still grow today, and breeding and selecting for the most resilient, they may succeed in bringing the trees back from extinction. The blight is here to stay, but some rare, remaining surviving trees may help repopulate our forests. Our Heritage Ridge Villas' trees are among these stars survivors.
See the pictures and videos below for more information and a view of "our" Chestnut trees.
The trunk, and the root sprouts, of one of our Chestnuts. View looking up.
Video showing location of HRV chestnuts, and a view of the hull of the fruit and the trees. Stoney Falls condos are on the left and the Heritage Ridge Villas E building and the 18th tee box are on the right (but not visible through the trees).
Another view of the Heritage Ridge Villas' chestnuts, with E building on the upper left, and Stoney Falls condos on the lower right, driving toward Mountain Air Drive.
Two of our Heritage Ridge Villas residents have enjoyed wonderful hikes at nearby Rocky Fork State Park in Tennessee. It is about a 30 minute drive from our villas, mostly on 4 lane highway. Louise contributed the videos below.
Rocky Fork Park
We walked along a gentle path, with the above river gently flowing along the path. A beautiful, peaceful and easy walk, with many places to pause and sit along the river. A great place to bring a picnic.
There also are many harder trails and waterfalls in the park.
The park literature says: "The park is predominately Appalachian cove forest, one of the most biologically diverse habitats in North America. The well drained, loamy soil supports the growth of a variety of hardwoods and evergreens. Oak, hickory, beech, pine, hemlock, and rhododendron are just a few of the species found here. The diversity of tree species has historically made the area a desirable timber ground. The park and the surrounding Cherokee National Forest offers miles of old, unmarked logging roads.
Native wildflowers find ideal growing conditions and include Pink Lady’s Slipper and Yellow Fringed Orchid and Lesser Purple Fringed Orchid, and several native lilies, including Turk’s Cap and Michaux’s Lily. Diverse and varied fungi thrive in Rocky Fork’s cool, damp climate.
. . . The park contains a noted cultural site at the junction of Flint Creek and Rocky Fork. This location was the winter encampment of Creek and Cherokee Indians in the late 1700s when Colonel (later Governor) John Sevier and his troops surrounded the encampment and mounted a surprise attack in response to long standing tension between the two groups. The Creek and Cherokee sustained heavy fatalities and casualties during the conflict."
The Mountain Air Property Owners' Association just sponsored the first annual 5 K run up Mountain Air. You might want to sign up for next year's run! It is open to anyone. It was a big success.
The video to preview the road for the race also shows you the main road, Mountain Air Drive, up the mountain, all the way to the runway and Mountain Air Village at the top. The Heritage Ridge Villas are about half way up this drive of 3 miles. You can see in the video that the drive up the mountain is on a well paved and easy to drive road, with only gentle curves, not harrowing switchbacks.
The Heritage Ridge Villas are an easy 35 minute, 4 lane expressway drive, from Asheville. The final drive up the mountain is shown here. Unlike many other mountain communities, Mountain Air is close to Asheville, but at an altitude that brings cooler temperatures, with an easy drive to and up the mountain. When it is 85 degrees in Asheville in the summer, our temperatures are below 75 degrees because of our altitude. Our fall weather is beautiful and mild. Today, at night, it is 65 degrees on my outside porch.
Enjoy this video drive up our mountain, especially the views at the end. Remember that the Heritage Ridge Villas are only half way up the mountain, rather close to the entry gate. You can see how you gain altitude as you drive up the mountain. Come for a visit.
Our Heritage Ridge Villas condos are at high elevation, 4000 ft. They are an easy drive up a well paved and maintained road. Driving seven minutes down our mountain and on a 4 lane highway brings residents to our lovely local village of Burnsville (elevation 2822 ft.). A recent Charlotte Magazine article adds to the praises Burnsville always receives.
We are fortunate in the Heritage Ridge Villas, because we are near the top of Mountain Air, with all the Club amenities nearby. We have glorious long range mountain views. And we are near the entry gate and an easy drive into Burnsville. The nearest grocery store is a ten minute drive away. There is no "rush hour" traffic. Burnsville not only has lovely boutiques, but it is also home to many artists and their galleries. In fact, the Charlotte Magazine article includes pictures of the beautiful murals painted by local artist, Rhea Ormond, mentioned in a prior post.
Heritage Ridge Villas residents and guests
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