There are always fun activities at Mountain Air. Last Saturday, runners and walkers made the 5 K climb from the gate to the top of the mountain. The 5 K race is open to all who are interested and happens every fall, in the midst of the beautiful leaf season. Part of the ascent comes right up through our Heritage Ridge Park and neighborhood, and we get to cheer everyone on, or maybe join in the race.
The HRV board, under the guidance of Carol, has had all of our flower beds enhanced with beautiful new flowers this year. We have not yet had a frost, and so the flowers keep on blooming. Our resident photographer, Louise, writes:
Awaken to the mystery of being here
and enter the quiet immensity of your own presence.
Have joy and peace in the temple of your senses.
. . .
Take time to celebrate the quiet miracles that seek
Be consoled in the secret symmetry of your soul.
May you experience each day as a sacred gift woven
around the heart of wonder.”
~ John O'Donohue ~
(To Bless the Space Between Us)
#PurpleConeFlowers or #Echinacea are still blooming in the mountains of NC. I have been nurturing them in the gardens outside my condo, along with the help of Carol and a few others. They are a little beaten up at the end of the season, so I hand painted in the petals a bit in Photoshop, to give them a more painterly and less pocked appearance. I also love the imperfections and quirks, especially in end of the season flowers. But this time I decided to go with the hand painted version.
The colors are also sometimes a bit more faded at the end of the season, but I think that has its own beauty too. Each day, as I leave to walk my dogs in the morning, or to go off on errands or a hike, I am so happy to be greeted by these flowers.
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."
Spectacular fall color all over the Blue Ridge Mountains makes sitting on the Heritage Ridge Villas' back porches a special experience. If the video below, taken from the back porch, is slow to load, you can also watch it on Youtube.
Video © 2016 Louise Lindsay The music in this video is creative commons music, called Farewell Flight, by Gregoire Lourme.
Fall color is beautiful right now. Of course, in the mountains of western North Carolina, there is no real peak. It is so bio-diverse here that fall color goes on and on for weeks, painted every day with different colors. But this moment is beautiful and will be for the next few weeks. Right now, there is still much green in the landscape, but also the fall colors that create a beautiful patchwork quilt are popping out everywhere. Cloud inversions are kissing the mountain most mornings. Fall wildflowers are blooming- purple asters and bottle gentian are especially plentiful. More detailed fall color reports can be found here and here. A taste of the mountain around the Heritage Ridge Villas follows. Louise
Images © 2016 Louise Lindsay
Debbie contributed this lovely “find”. Fall colors are popping on the trees and mountainsides, and even at the small macro level. The weather has been glorious. It was been cool, yet warm for the season, with blue skies.
We do keep all of our Florida, Georgia and South Carolina coastal residents in our thoughts and hope that the hurricane moves off shore. There are a couple Florida residents, who are here, who are very happy that they have a second home in Mountain Air. At least they know that they are safe, even if they still have property to worry about.
Many residents have enjoyed a visit to Rob Levin’s studio, and have enjoyed prior studio tours on the Hwy. 80 S. Art Hop. Rob Levin is a world class glass artist in nearby Celo, NC. http://www.robertlevin.com/
From Rob Levin comes this message, sent out to those on his email list:
“If you're in the mountains next weekend, here's a quick reminder that the Hwy. 80 South Art Hop will be Saturday & Sunday, October 8 & 9, from 10 - 5. A number of studios on or near Rte 80, south of Micaville, will be opening our doors to visitors, including 4 of the 5 glass studios in our valley. With the tour involving a relatively small area, it should be a relaxed, easy to navigate studio tour. Studios will be marked with Art Hop signs; maps and info can be picked up at the One of a Kind Gallery in Micaville. Here's a link for more info: http://www.80arthop.com/
Also on tap next weekend -- the Spruce Pine Potters Market and fall colors at higher elevations!
AND: Mark your calendars for the annual TRAC Holiday Studio Tour, coming up December 2,3 &4. You'll be pleased to know my daughter Hannah will be joining me in my studio to exhibit her pottery. More info to follow next month.
Hoping you are having a happy and artistic Fall,
1 One of a Kind Art Gallery
2 Garold Amsberry
3 Lynda Gayle Banner
4 Rolf Holmquist
5 Sarah House
6 Loretta Forde & David Wilson
7 Kat Turczyn
8 Rob Levin
9 Kim & Pete McWhirter
10 Mountain Farm
11 Toe River Crafts
12 Katie & Billy Bernstein
"The Spruce Pine Potters Market is a unique gathering of our region’s greatest potters and clay artists. Enjoy wonderful food and beautiful handmade pottery on a colorful autumn weekend. Admission is free and lunches are available for purchase on site." October 8th and 9th.
Some of the sugar and red maple specimen trees around the Heritage Ridge Villas are going into full color. Other trees are simply kissed by fall color at this point. Overall the trees are mostly green with lovely pops of color starting.
The last two nights have brought dramatic fall sunset bounces in the East over the Black Mountains, part of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Residents on their back decks got to enjoy the following, with a view of Mt. Celo. Overall the trees are all still green in early fall, with kisses of color here and there. But the sky, oh my! No color manipulation in this image. Louise Lindsay
© 2016 Louise Lindsay
Friends from Nashville visiting. Some played golf. Some took a trip to nearby Weaverville. We all highly recommend the Well Bred Bakery there. Weather at Mountain Air is gorgeous also! Cool and sunny. Touches of leaf color change.
Heritage Ridge Villas residents and guests
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