One of our newer residents, Bill McKown, took these fabulous images from his back porch. The top image is recent and the bottom one is from last winter. Every morning, we get incredible sunrises over the Black Mountain Range.
The not so well kept secret is that sunsets also can be very awesome. We often get what is called "bounce" as the rays of the setting sun bounce onto the clouds in the east. Some of us also have a view from our front porch or side porch of direct views to the west over the mountains also. Our condos sit on a ridge on the mountain, with views to the east and to the west.
Alpine Glow, video by Carolyn Paul. Carolyn is an artist who lives in the Heritage Ridge Villas. She created this video from her back porch in the late summer of 2020.
Last week one of our residents drove the Blue Ridge Parkway from 80 S to past Mt. Mitchell. She had the privilege of witnessing an afternoon of the great Monarch Butterfly migration from all over Canada and the eastern US to Mexico. Thousands of Monarchs were pausing on their 2500 mile journey and refreshing themselves (nectaring) on the Blue-ridge wildflowers. You could see them all over the wildflowers and everywhere in the sky. Pure heaven. She stopped at every overlook, sat in the grass, and simply experienced this awe-inspiring event. She shared these pictures with us.
In the landscape images of the views from the overlooks, you may be able to see the butterflies in the sky, although it's hard to see on small internet images.
Normally monarchs live 2-6 weeks. The monarchs who fly south to Mexico live closer to 9 months. The same butterflies start the return trip to the States and Canada. They start an inter generational relay of sorts when they reach Texas, as one generation dies out, and successive generations carry on the migration back to their many northern homes!
If you look up to the skies above and around Mountain Air, often you see the monarchs flying through in the fall. The Nature Center in the Mountain Air Village also has coccons which hatch and a whole program dealing with monarchs. Stop by to take a look.
#MonarchMigration #MonarchButterflies #nectaring #BlueRidgeParkway #GreenKnobOverlook #BaldOverlook
A Heritage Ridge Villas resident's daughter, Emily, visited and took this picture of the view from the 18th hole. The 18th hole is right next to the Heritage Ridge Villas, and is one of the most photographed places on the mountain. We hope that everyone has been out enjoying great games of golf.
One of our residents daughter, Emily, was visiting and took this wonderful picture showing the glorious flowers and the view from the top of the mountain. Emily has quite the eye for composition, and the mountain provides many wonderful viewpoints.
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.
More than one of our Heritage Ridge Villas residents are from Florida. Some of us were attracted to buy here because not only do our condos provide a beautiful home away from home, or year round home, but they also offer shelter from the Florida hurricanes. Some of us sought shelter here. Our residents live in the Florida Keys (experienced repairable damage), New Smyrna Beach (little damage), the west coast (escaped flooding and damage), St. Augustine (minor damage), Miami, etc. Many of us have enjoyed the shelter of the mountains, both during Hurricane Irma, and during the disorder of the aftermath. We are all grateful that damage was minimal, and grateful that our North Carolina mountains provided such good and beautiful shelter. We are saddened by the devastation caused around the world this year by so many natural disasters.
Of course other residents are from many other parts of the country, including New Orleans, Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, Charlotte, NC, South Carolina, etc.
Louise Lindsay contributed this "After The Storm" sunrise image, taken from her Heritage Ridge Villas' living room porch.
© Louise Lindsay 2017, prints, etc. available at www.louiselindsay.com by request
The weather has been gorgeous here at Mountain Air. The past several days have been comfortably warm and sunny. Some of us have been hiking on the glorious trails here. Below is a view from the first look out on Jump Off Trail. Simply drive over to Timber Sky. Download the hiking trail map on this website, or get one from the Outdoor Discovery Center. There is a trail head over in Timber Sky, that takes you to a gentle trail along the top ridge of Mountain Air. You arrive at a lovely lookout, where this picture was taken. Then, you can continue on up a steeper trail, to an even higher lookout if you wish. The first part of the jump-off trail is gentle and easy, even for beginners.
© Louise Lindsay 2017, prints, etc. available at www.louiselindsay.com by request
© Louise Lindsay 2017
Many Mountain Air residents saw the partial eclipse from Mountain Air, and others traveled to nearby places to experience the total eclipse. Mountain Air's Outdoor Discovery Center chartered a bus and took a large group to Clemson University. Louise and Steve coincidentally also stopped at Clemson University on their drive up to Mountain Air from Key Largo, FL. It turned dark, and the cicadas started chirping.
For those looking for something different to do, try a Friday or Saturday night of star gazing in one of the few dark sky locations. The Bare Dark Sky Observatory is located at the Mayland Earth to Sky Park in Yancey County, very close to Mountain Air. The address is: 66 Energy Exchange Dr, Burnsville, NC 28714. It offers a 360 degree view. People can view the moon, planets and stars through the 34" diameter Sam Scope, as well as the smaller planetary telescope. Or you can simply appreciate the dark night sky.
The Appalachian Mountains of North Carolina have stood as silent witnesses to the uninterrupted, nightly rain of starlight for nearly a half-billion years, but artificial light now threatens this nightly show. In honor of notable local efforts to preserve the natural nighttime landscape of western North Carolina, the International Dark-Sky Association (IDA) designated the Mayland Earth to Sky Park and Observatory as the first IDA-certified Star Park in the southeastern United States.
The Mayland Earth to Sky Park and Bare Dark Sky Observatory is open to the public many Friday and Saturday nights. More information and tickets are available here.
© Louise Lindsay 2017
No, this was not taken at Mountain Air. Most years I am at Mountain Air for the Perseid meteor showers in mid-August. Kat, our naturalist, always has a great program on the runway at the top of the mountain. It's a great place to view the meteors. But this year, I am still in Key Largo. It is also a great place to view the meteor shower. The streaks here are star trails, as this image was created from tons of images stacked together, taken over 40 minutes. The stars move and create these beautiful star trails. The horizontal streak across the image toward the bottom may be a plane that crossed my path, rather than a meteor. But maybe it's a meteor.
The meteor showers are still active tomorrow night, 8/13/17. Be sure to look up at the sky if you are awake at night.
A homeowner, Carol, sent us this beautiful image. How lucky we are! We get to wake up every morning to this long range mountain view from our condos. And then we are only a 35 minute drive to nearby Asheville, and yet we are in the high mountains, with more altitude and the lovely coolness that comes with it. On mornings like this one in the image, we are also gifted with glorious views of cloud inversions, drifting through the mountain ranges. In this image, and from our living areas, bedrooms, and back porches, we get to look out on the glorious Black Mountain range. Mt. Mitchell, the highest peak (6,684') in the Eastern U.S. is part of this amazing range. And then, more gifts. We are only a 10 min. drive to our lovely local village, Burnsville, where there is ample shopping, and all the artists and crafts you could want.
Some Heritage Ridge Villas residents spend the holidays in other parts of the country. Louise (Jan) sends everyone her family's greetings from Key Largo, FL.
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
Not only are there all sorts of organized activities available at Mountain Air, but there are also many member-organized activities. One of these is Dining Divas. About once a month, women get together and each woman prepares a gourmet dish, and then they all dine together at someone's home. If you are interested, just ask almost anyone around the mountain, and someone will make sure you are invited. Mountain Air and the Heritage Ridge Villas are a very friendly, inviting and welcoming community. One of our residents, Sallie, hosted the Dining Divas recently, and you can see what a lovely table she set. Maybe there is even a new name, "Dining Divas With A View"!
Cloud inversions mean that we have sunshine in the sky but clouds below us. One resident enjoys a moment of morning yoga above the clouds before a round of golf. Because it is fall, the occasional morning cloud inversions of summer have become an almost daily gift.
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
Heritage Ridge Villas residents and guests
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