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Artful Adventures: Exploring the Arts in Brevard & Transylvania County

Artful Adventures: Exploring the Arts in Brevard & Transylvania County

Artful Adventures: Exploring the Arts in Brevard & Transylvania County Thanks to its surrounding natural beauty, Brevard has long attracted artists across every discipline, turning the area into a moveable feast of memorable art experiences. This month, the Adventurist sat down with Kathy King, Executive Director of the Transylvania Community Arts Council, to provide some insights into what makes our artistic community so special for residents and visitors alike. And since it’s getting to be “that time of year,” Kathy offered to provide some great shopping suggestions for those of you who are looking for that special something to slip under the Christmas tree.  Q&A Q&A: Kathy, tell us a little about yourself. Kathy has a fascinating background. She’s been a corporate attorney, a wedding and fine art photographer, and an educator. All three disciplines provided her with the perfect background to take over the reins of the Arts Council in 2021. She says, “It just seems like everything I have been doing led me to this place. I absolutely love the Arts Council, its mission, and what I do every day. And I wouldn’t be doing it if I didn’t!” Q&A Q&A: What is the Transylvania Community Arts Council? “Transylvania Community Arts Council was formed over fifty years ago and, initially, its primary purpose was holding an annual “Festival of the Arts.” In 1983, we received our 501(c)3 status and really began to expand. Today, one of the most important things we do is advocate for the arts... Read More
Year of the Trail: Wheely Fun

Year of the Trail: Wheely Fun

Memorable Road Rides: Wheely Fun Transylvania County has earned a worldwide — and well-deserved — reputation for itsspectacular mountain biking. Yet the road cycling opportunities here are just as rich, variedand rewarding, whether you’re a beginner to the sport, a dedicated club rider or a trainingprofessional. Here are three routes (easy, intermediate and challenging) that provide anexcellent introduction to two-wheeled travel in Transylvania County and give you theopportunity to celebrate North Carolina’s “Year of The Trail.” For more road cycling trails,check out Pisgah Map Company’s “Ride Transylvania” map, available here. 1. Easy Name: Walnut Hollow & East Fork River ValleyDistance: 26 milesElevation Gain: 1,542 feetType: Paved RoadStart: Downtown Brevard, Visitors Center Map and Elevation Profile Description:  Are you short on time but want to get in a good workout? This popular route fits the bill. Leaving downtown Brevard, enjoy a pleasant six-mile warm up before encountering the legendary climb up Walnut Hollow. But take heart: from the top of thisone-mile climb (average 7.6% gradient), it’s an invigorating descent down to the East Fork of the French Broad River and a scenic valley ride to Rosman and back to Brevard. 2. Intermediate Name: Headwaters LoopLevel: Easy-IntermediateDistance: 20.4 milesElevation Gain: 1,815 feetType: RoadStart: Champion Park, Rosman Map and Elevation Profile Description: While short, this route in the western part of Transylvania County possesses all the qualities that make the “Land of Waterfalls” such a special place to tour. You’ll find convenient parking at Champion Park in Rosman where this ride begins. Along... Read More
7 Easy Ways To Be Waterfall Wise

7 Easy Ways To Be Waterfall Wise

7 Easy Ways To Be Waterfall Wise As beautiful as our waterfalls are, they also represent hidden dangers. Every year, there are serious injuries and yes, sometimes even fatalities, experienced at our waterfalls. When visiting North Carolina’s Land of Waterfalls, enjoy our beautiful waterfalls, but remember they can be dangerous. Take personal responsibility and don’t take unnecessary risks. Put safety before selfies and follow our recommended safety tips to “Be Waterfall Wise”. If you do this, you will have a great time with awesome memories to share with all your friends and family. Using these safety tips and other educational efforts, the Transylvania County Tourism Development Authority works to raise awareness about the dangers of waterfalls through our sustainability committee, Transylvania Always and its “Be Waterfall Wise” program. You’ll also find helpful information, including a short educational video on our “Be Waterfall Wise” page.   Since 2016, we’ve been working with key partners including forest managers and supervisors at Pisgah National Forest, Gorges State Park, DuPont State Recreational Forest, Transylvania County EMS, Local Fire and Rescue workers/volunteers, Mission Health, and Local Law Enforcement to educate visitors about safe behavior around waterfalls. As a result, serious injuries and fatalities have declined. But even one incident is too many.   We also invite you to find out more about another important Transylvania Always initiative, “Leave It Better.” Inspired by the principles introduced by the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics, “Leave It Better” promotes six key principles that can help you be a responsible forest visitor.... Read More
“Leave It Better” And Be Like Trashsquatch

“Leave It Better” And Be Like Trashsquatch

“Leave It Better” And Be Like Trashsquatch We love Brevard and Transylvania County. And we know that you do, too. That’s why we introduced our “Leave It Better” initiative several years ago. It has been the Transylvania County Tourism Development Authority’s (TCTDA) most ambitious and wide-ranging effort to make a profound difference when it comes to protecting the natural resources that bring so much joy and relaxation to visitors. The TCTDA sustainability committee, Transylvania Always, inspired by the “Leave No Trace” principles, developed the “Leave It Better” campaign. Each year, millions of pounds of garbage are left behind in America’s forests, streams and rivers as visitors enjoy public lands. The “Leave It Better” initiative is designed to educate and encourage people to take responsibility for protecting and preserving these fragile natural assets. Transylvania County is over 50% public land, and is home to Pisgah National Forest, DuPont State Recreational Forest, Headwaters State Forest, and Gorges State Park. With the Transylvania Always “Leave It Better” campaign, the TCTDA hopes the public continues to help keep these public lands beautiful and accessible to everyone for years to come.   TS TS MEET TRASHSQUATCH The TCTDA’s Transylvania Always committee has its very own forest steward roaming our county. Trashsquatch, a mythical forest dweller, developed out of litter left by visitors to his home, asks public land users to “Leave It Better” and make trash as difficult to find as he is. While you may not see him in the woods, Trashsquatch has... Read More
Veterans History Museum of the Carolinas

Veterans History Museum of the Carolinas

Veterans History Museum of the Carolinas In 2017, the Veterans History Museum of the Carolinas opened in downtown Brevard. The museum is dedicated to honoring the veterans of our armed services from World War I to the present. In the six years since its opening, the museum has grown from a modest initiative to a truly impressive and ever-growing collection of valuable and meaningful military artifacts – from uniforms, medals and citations to a restored 1943 Willy’s Army jeep set against the backdrop of a military APO (American Post Office). We recently caught up with Emmett Casciato, founder and curator of the Veterans History Museum of the Carolinas for an insightful Q & A. Q&A Q&A: Emmett, how did you become interested in collecting military memorabilia? I’ve always been engrossed with military history, but I started collecting in 2000. I was teaching school in Florida and my daughter was in the Junior ROTC. I never served a day in my life. It was one of my major regrets. My dad served in WWII and my daughter served in Afghanistan after graduating from West Point. My son-in-law was a Blackhawk helicopter pilot. I said to myself, ‘If I didn’t serve, at least I can serve now in some way. Q&A Q&A: When did you make the decision to open a museum? It was about three years after I started collecting. My house had already become almost like a museum. One of my buddies, his father had served in the China-Burma-India... Read More
Ask a Ranger

Ask a Ranger

Ask a Ranger Kevin Bischof, Gorges State Park This month, the Adventurist had a chance to sit down with Kevin Bischof, superintendent of Gorges State Park. Located in the southwest corner of Transylvania County, Gorges is considered by many to be one of the crown jewels of North Carolina’s state park system. A native of Cincinnati, Ohio, Kevin earned a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from the University of Cincinnati before receiving a Master of Science in Outdoor Education (with a focus on environmental education) at Indiana University. We caught up with Kevin on an early spring day at the park’s beautiful Visitor Center. Q&A Q&A: Tell us a little about your background, Kevin, and how you came to North Carolina. “After I finished grad school I applied for every federal job and every park job in states where I had visited and wanted to live. I had a seasonal job in Oregon lined up, but I got a call from Jordan Lake State Recreation Area (near Raleigh), and they offered me a permanent job.” “After that, I went to Goose Creek State Park which is out on the coast for a couple of years, then came here to Gorges as a ranger for two years, from 2011-13. Then I went to Lake James State Park for 5 ½ years. I took my first superintendent’s job at Mt. Mitchell State Park in 2018 and was there for 2 ½ years. Then I transferred over to Grandfather before becoming the... Read More
Wildflower Walks

Wildflower Walks

Wildflower Walks Some hiking trails offer big surprises – like hidden waterfalls or dramatic vistas – but some offer smaller, more intimate experiences that can be equally satisfying. Throughout the Blue Ridge Mountains, and specifically in Transylvania County, a wide variety of wildflowers lend vibrant color to our coves and hollows from early spring to late autumn. We talked to two wildflower experts, Rosemarie Shannon Knoll and Marianne Weaver to come up with four outstanding wildflower hikes for you to enjoy during North Carolina’s Year of the Trail. It’s a great way to enjoy Mother Nature in her role as landscape artist, nonpariel. Tip: A good wildflower guide is an ideal companion for these walks. There are several excellent guides available, but we’re partial to Rosemarie Shannon Knoll’s superb series, which includes Wildflowers of the Blue Ridge Parkwayand Pisgah National Forest, Wildflower Quick Reference Guideand Wildflowers and Watefalls of DuPont State Recreational Forest. All three titles are available at High Falls Publishing. Art Loeb Trail, Pisgah National Forest DESCRIPTIONAn easy out and back walk of two miles, this spring wildflower walk is close to the entrance of Pisgah National Forest near the Davidson River Campground. The path follows the Art Loeb Trail along the Davidson River. WHAT MAKES IT SPECIALAccording to Rosemarie: “This easy to walk trail is covered with a beautiful carpet of wildflowers in April and May including Trillium, Bloodroot, Toothwort, and a variety of Violets. You will also see Mayapple, Trout Lily, Little Brown Jug, and... Read More
Headwaters State Forest: Go Wild

Headwaters State Forest: Go Wild

Headwaters State Forest: Go Wild ​Headwaters State Forest A Conservation Laboratory North Carolina’s newest state forest was founded in 2018 and represents another iconic destination in Transylvania County. In terms of beauty and features, it’s on par with Pisgah, DuPont and Gorges. However, its remote location and limited access make it a more appropriate destination for adventurers with good wilderness and map-reading skills. We caught up with Assistant Regional Forester Michael Cheek, who oversees this 6,730 acre mountain wonderland for the North Carolina Forest Service to help us understand the importance of Headwaters and the opportunities for visitors to enjoy its unique topography and features. Q&A Q&A: Michael, what’s distinctive about Headwaters? “Headwaters is located right along the edge of the Blue Ridge Escarpment and the South Carolina border.  It’s very remote and has a very “back country” feel to it. You’ll find plenty of trails and lots of solitude.” Q&A Q&A: What’s the key mission of Headwaters State Forest? “Certainly, recreation is a part of it, but our primary focus is on the conservation of the headwater streams that feed into the East Fork of the French Broad River. There are over a dozen named streams feeding into the East Fork, totaling some 50 miles. That’s where our clean drinking water comes from, and these headwater streams are key to that. Part of our mission is also to demonstrate good forestry practices – to show the public the best way to manage this important resource. This land has... Read More
Brevard Rocks!

Brevard Rocks!

Brevard Rocks! Big Time Geology in Transylvania County With waterfalls, high peaks, canyons, gorges, and impressive natural rock walls, no matter where you are in Transylvania County, you’re just a stone’s throw away from unforgettable scenery. The area’s unique geology has created a one-of-a-kind landscape, loved by both climbers and hikers, as well as gorgeous views of iconic natural geologic wonders just waiting to be explored. 1 1 LOOKING GLASS ROCK​ The striking white granite face of this 4,000-foot tall pluton monolith in Pisgah National Forest is one of Transylvania County’s most recognizable landmarks. Named for the way its face looks into the sunlight, Looking Glass Rock is visible from the Blue Ridge Parkway, Black Balsam, and the top of Mt Pisgah. Hikers and climbers eager for a more up close and personal view can access it via a steep and challenging trail (6.4 miles out and back to summit) off the graveled FS 475 just south of Looking Glass Falls on 276. Trailhead parking is .4 miles in on the right. 2 2 DEVIL’S COURTHOUSE The gnarled face and large size of this bare rock profile has inspired folklore for centuries. In Cherokee tales, it is the dwelling place of a giant named Judulla. More recently, tellers of tall tales have speculated that the devil himself made his home at a secret cave within. Whatever the case, it’s a stunning sight from the Blue Ridge Parkway that offers a short, somewhat strenuous hike to a summit with nearly... Read More
Year of the Trail: Wheely Fun

Memorable Road Rides: Wheely Fun

Memorable Road Rides: Wheely Fun Transylvania County has earned a worldwide — and well-deserved — reputation for its spectacular mountain biking. Yet the road cycling opportunities here are just as rich, varied and rewarding, whether you’re a beginner to the sport, a dedicated club rider or a training professional. Here are three routes (easy, intermediate and challenging) that provide an excellent introduction to two-wheeled travel in Transylvania County. 1. Easy Name: Walnut Hollow & East Fork River ValleyDistance: 26 milesElevation Gain: 1,542 feetType: Paved RoadStart: Downtown Brevard, Visitors Center Map and Elevation Profile Description: Are you short on time but want to get in a good workout? This popular route fits the bill. Leaving downtown Brevard, enjoy a pleasant six-mile warm up before encountering the legendary climb up Walnut Hollow. But take heart: from the top of this one-mile climb (average 7.6% gradient), it’s an invigorating descent down to the East Fork of the French Broad River and a scenic valley ride to Rosman and back to Brevard. 2. Intermediate Name: Headwaters LoopLevel: Easy-IntermediateDistance: 20.4 milesElevation Gain: 1,815 feetType: RoadStart: Champion Park, Rosman Map and Elevation Profile Description: While short, this route in the western part of Transylvania County possesses all the qualities that make the “Land of Waterfalls” such a special place to tour. You’ll find convenient parking at Champion Park in Rosman where this ride begins. Along the way you’ll pass the headwaters of the French Broad River (3rd oldest in the world), the world-famous Pisgah Astronomical Research... Read More
Wildflower Walks

Take a walk on the wildflower side.

Take a walk on the wildflower side. Some hiking trails offer big surprises – like hidden waterfalls or dramatic vistas – but some offer smaller, more intimate experiences that can be equally satisfying. Throughout the Blue Ridge Mountains, and specifically in Transylvania County, a wide variety of wildflowers lend vibrant color to our coves and hollows from early spring to late autumn. We talked to two wildflower experts, Rosemarie Shannon Knoll and Marianne Weaver to come up with four outstanding wildflower hikes where you are likely to see some great examples of Mother Nature as landscape artist. Tip: A good wildflower guide is an ideal companion for these walks. There are several excellent guides available, but we’re partial to Rosemarie Shannon Knoll’s superb series, which includes Wildflowers of the Blue Ridge Parkwayand Pisgah National Forest, Wildflower Quick Reference Guideand Wildflowers and Watefalls of DuPont State Recreational Forest. All three titles are available at High Falls Publishing. Art Loeb Trail, Pisgah National Forest DESCRIPTIONAn easy out and back walk of two miles, this spring wildflower walk is close to the entrance of Pisgah National Forest near the Davidson River Campground. The path follows the Art Loeb Trail along the Davidson River. WHAT MAKES IT SPECIALAccording to Rosemarie: “This easy to walk trail is covered with a beautiful carpet of wildflowers in April and May including Trillium, Bloodroot, Toothwort, and a variety of Violets. You will also see Mayapple, Trout Lily, Little Brown Jug, and Foamflower. The Art Loeb Trail connects... Read More
Let’s Ride: Epic singletrack

Let’s Ride: Epic singletrack

Let’s Ride: Epic singletrack BIKE Magazine calls Brevard and Transylvania County “ground zero for some of the best riding in the nation.”  Here are five singletrack rides that prove that claim. Thad Walker, a former head coach of the Brevard College Bike Team, is your guide. 5 5 Advanced: SYCAMORE COVE Pisgah National Forest “Sycamore Cove throws a little bit of everything at you: groovy, off-camber rocks and roots, steep climbs, and technical downhill. The mid-section is a mile-long ridge ride. At 3.2 miles, Sycamore Cove makes for an ideal workout of an hour or less. If you’ve got more time (and energy) link it with the Black Mountain and Thrift Cove trails. If you do these add ons and look at the map profile on either Garmin Connect or Strava, you’ll understand why locals call this one  the ‘Big M’.) This is a great introduction to Pisgah riding.” X 4 4 Easy: RIDGELINE TRAIL Dupont State Recreation Forest “This four mile loop takes about an hour and offers a nice introduction to biking in the forest. With this ride you get a interesting combination of single track trails and gravel Forest Service roads. This is a really flowy trail with sweeping downhills. Advanced riders love it, too, because it’s fast and non-technical. Ridgeline Trail is easily accessible from Dupont Forest’s Guion Farms parking lot. This lot also serves as the starting point for a fun kid’s mountain bike trail featuring a skills area (teeter-totter, log rides, balance boardwalks,... Read More