Wednesday, January 10, 2018

The white stuff brought a lot of green over the holidays

The "arctic" weather that hit North Carolina over the 2017/18 holidays was a boon for High Country hotels, restaurants and ski areas.

“This one week will mean millions of dollars in economic impact,” Tracy Brown, director of the Blowing Rock Tourism Development Authority, told the Watauga Democrat. “It’s always good to see snow on slopes and the streets black. The stars aligned for us this year.”

Recent years have seen warmer weather this time of year impact tourism, particularly for skiing. (Here's to hoping it stays cold enough for our trip in March!)

“The last few winters have been tough, because we haven’t had the product to put out there, in our case, that’s winter sports, skiing, snowboarding, tubing, snowy hikes,” Brown said of the last warm December winters in recent years. “It’s critical that we have good weather and people can get here.”

Monday, October 9, 2017

Yet another enjoyable weekend in the High Country

We honestly do not make it up to Honey Bear House nearly as much as we should. Every time we do we think, "why aren't we up here every weekend?"

This past weekend was one of those times. While we would have loved to have seen just a tad more fall color, it was still magnificent to watch the colors change quite literally before our eyes.

We also managed to hit one of our favorite spots along the Blue Ridge Parkway: Linville Falls. The view from the top never gets old. And the girls managed to squirm their way onto a tree that hangs over the path at a low angle.

The whole gang always enjoys Linville -- even Winston the dog.

So ready to get back!

Monday, March 21, 2016

Ski season wrapping up

We have owned Honey Bear House for several years now, but this was the first year that we actually took advantage of being close to ski slopes. This past weekend we made our second trek of the season over to Appalachian Ski Mountain where the kiddos (even the little dude) hit the slopes again. It was also the first time I've skied in probably two decades. And I didn't even die!

But just because ski season is over, it doesn't mean there's not a lot to do up in the High Country. Please take a look at our calendar to see what dates may interest you. It really is a place for every season of the year!

Friday, July 17, 2015

You really 'Otter' go to the mountains

Our family headed up to Honey Bear House a recent weekend to escape the heat of Raleigh. And guess what? It worked! When we left the City of Oaks around 1 p.m., the temperature was already at 98 degrees. When we arrived in Seven Devils around 5, it was around 75. And that was about the warmest it would get all weekend (with almost no humidity).  It was a NICE reprieve.

I wanted to share some of the highlights of the weekend; we packed a lot in, yet still managed to relax and recharge.

Here is a shot of my lovely bride and me from the deck of Our Mountain Place.

The kids ALWAYS love "swimming" in the hot tub. This was one of Roman's first times, and he could not be happier.

Saturday morning we just had to go gem mining. We checked out Foggy Mountain for the first time, and it was a blast. (Spoiler alert: We just so "happened" to find lots of gems.)

After some good kid fun, we had to have some adult enjoyment as well. We headed over to one of the hidden gems of the High Country: Grandfather Winery.  We enjoyed some good wine and music (by the Romantic Egotists) while the kids played in the Watauga River. It was one of the most relaxing (and cheap) 3 hours we've ever spent.

Saturday ended; life was good. And I'm always amazed at how different this view looks, not only season to season, but throughout the day.

Sunday was mostly spent at the "new" Otter Falls in Seven Devils. I say new, but obviously the waterfalls and the creek have been there; however, the town recently acquired the land and it is now a wonderful public park (still in progress; a new trail is being worked on as we speak). It's about a mile from our house, and it is maybe our new favorite spot. We played in the water, climbed on some rocks, and Roman even did some "fishing."

Later that day, it was, sadly, time to go back to life and back to humidity. But it was about as perfect a weekend as you could have.

See ya soon, High Country!

Monday, June 22, 2015

It's no double rainbow, but still ...

Kudos to recent visitor Steven for capturing (and sharing) this fantastic photo of a rainbow in the valley in Seven Devils. Looks like Heaven to me!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Wanna learn some history about N.C.'s ski slopes?

North Carolina is fortunate to have topography that allows for winter sports. The High Country alone boasts several ski slopes, as well as tubing at Hawksnest. Now a new book celebrates that heritage.

“North Carolina Ski Resorts,” the newest addition to Arcadia Publishing’s popular Images of America series. The book, by author Donna Gayle Akers, was released just this week.

The book boasts 200 vintage images, many of which have never been published, and chronicles the history of the state’s ski industry.

During the early 1960s, local leaders in western and northwestern North Carolina were dedicated to developing winter recreational opportunities in the mountains. North Carolina’s ski industry dates back to the winter of 1961–1962, when the Cataloochee Resort in Maggie Valley developed the first ski slope in the state.

Once thought impossible to make snow south of the Mason-Dixon Line, technological innovations in snowmaking allowed several other resorts to develop through the 1970s, including Appalachian Ski Mountain, Beech Mountain, Sugar Mountain, Wolf Ridge and Ski Sapphire Valley, all of which still operate today.

Images of smaller ski areas such as Hound Ears, Seven Devils, and Mill Ridge, are featured to honor these now defunct clubs.

Many of the present-day resorts have incorporated snowboarding, snowshoeing, ice-skating and snow tubing, along with mountain biking trails for summer recreation on the slopes.

“North Carolina Ski Resorts” showcases the rich recreational history of western and northwestern North Carolina.

Highlights of North Carolina Ski Resorts include:

• Many of the images date back to the beginning of the ski industry in North Carolina.

• Each ski resort has a unique story of their survival that can be seen through historic photographs.

• Changes in ski technology are evident in the photographs, as safer bindings and boots were developed.

This books is available at area bookstores, independent retailers and online retailers, or through Arcadia Publishing at 888-313-2665 or online.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Hawksnest tubing in the spotlight

Sarah Kendall with the Moms Charlotte recently blogged about her experience snowtubing at Hawksnest. Sounds like she had a blast.

Looking for some good family fun this winter season? Put Seven Devils, North Carolina into your GPS and head to Hawksnest for a day of snow tubing. It is a must-do fun day for the whole family. The drive from Charlotte is a bit over two hours, but the high-action fun is worth the drive.


Looking around the crowds, everyone appeared to be in good spirits and having a great time. I overheard two young siblings who got tired after an hour and wanted to sit with their grandmother. My ten and eight-year old daughters didn’t want to stop, but I believe just one session was enough for us.
One of my daughter’s said, it was awesome and the other asked, when can we go again?

Read more here:
Oh, and in case you've forgotten, there's always a good place to stay VERY close to Hawksnest! (Blatant shilling over!)

Photo courtesy of Moms Charlotte.

Read more here: