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:

Friday, January 17, 2014

Good snow business so far

According to the Watauga Democrat, good temperatures have resulted in good, solid, steady business for the High Country's ski and tubing spots.

Temperatures hovered within the ideal range for snowmaking around Christmas and New Year's, two holidays that -- along with Martin Luther King Jr. and President's Day weekends -- can be make-or-break events for the local industry. 
And despite a few bouts of mild temperatures and rain during the past few weeks, resort staff say that equipment upgrades made in the past few years have enabled them to turn slope conditions around in no time at all. 
"We have invested so much in our snowmaking," said Talia Freeman, marketing director at Beech Mountain Resort. "What we did in three days last year we can do in one day this year. Even with mild weather, it takes us no time to recover."

Things seem good over at Hawksnest, which just so happens to be right beside Our Mountain Place. (Cough. Hint. Hint.)

The live webcam at Hawksnest Snow Tubing in Seven Devils on Monday depicted a constant stream of dozens and dozens of visitors queuing up to take a rolling slide down the resort's tubing lanes.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

It's ski season, y'all

Sugar Mountain opened up for business last week, meaning we are thick into the ski season up in the High Country. The colder temps will make snowmaking possible, according to the Mountain Times.

Snowmaking began Sunday evening, Nov. 10, and continued until mid-morning Nov. 11. A brief warm-up shut snowmaking down for the day. However, the snow machines came back to life early Tuesday morning, as temperatures steadily dropped throughout the day. Overnight temperatures settled in the single digits at the summit and mid-teens at the base, creating an ideal snowmaking environment. Snow flurries also left a dusting of natural snow on Sugar Mountain.

But with the drop in temps come potential dangers. Be careful on the roads, folks, says the Watauga Democrat.

[I]f we can learn anything from the slick roads we encountered last week -- and the half-dozen or so documented accidents, roll-overs and delays those conditions contributed to -- it's the knowledge that we're not as prepared as we might be for black ice and winter driving. 
Much of that lack of preparation stems from not allotting enough time to arrive at our scheduled destinations when cold and wet road conditions come upon us unexpectedly. As a rule, it takes longer to get from Point A to Point B in January than it does in September.  
That's a rule we'll likely live by in a month or two, but for today, it's important to temper our more seasonal outlook with the remembrance that we've already shaken hands once with winter driving conditions.