Thursday, December 27, 2012

Ski Slopes for the Adventurous!
Whoa, its cold!  On these bone chilling days, there's nothing better than to strap yourself onto a plank (or two) of wood & fling yourself down a cliff, right?  All you skiers and snowboarders, if you agree with my last statement, visit  You'll love it!  This site is very informative and allows you to stay updated with each slopes condition.  As you navigate the website, if you go to the "Community" tab and select "Powder Alert", you can enter to receive updates on the slopes you are most interested in.  Or, you can click here, we made it easy for you!

You guys be safe out there and have fun!  Don't end up like this guy...

Sunday, December 16, 2012

"Notti" And Nice

This Christmas if your are looking for a quick, budget friendly gift, that gives back, we have got one for you!  This product is made with quality products and helps North Carolina residents.

Notti Toffee is an old family recipe of all natural english-style toffee. It is made with real sugar, butter, dark chocolate, white chocolate, and butterscotch - with absolutely no preservatives!

  This toffee has a delicious taste, is made here in the Appalachians and is helping to create jobs for the hard working people in Alleghany County of North Carolina. 

In the "Notti Shop" you will not only find a variety of toffees but also cheese bits and Notti boy gingerbread cookies.  You can send them as gifts with greetings on them or get some for yourself.  

Click here to look at the website!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Chetola Resort @ Blowing Rock: A Good Ol' Fashion Family Christmas!

Courtesy of
Driving from Boone the other day we happened to stop by and check out the Chetola Resort, 15 minutes away in Blowing Rock, NC.  I had no idea the history that this magnificent place possesses!  The location dates back all the way to 1846.  At first the property served as a home, then changed into a boarding house & summer resort called Silverlake.  Nearly the end of the 1800's, a new owner purchased Silverlake and renamed it Chetola.  Meaning "Haven of Rest" in Cherokee.  Chetola earned its name for the new owner.  He moved there having tuberculosis and his symptoms improved while being there.  Ever since then it has been the place to recooperate and relax.  In recent years it was purchased by a lady and her son.  They have worked very hard to only change Chetola in ways that are conducive to its rich history. 

All year long Chetola have activities going for the whole family that seem to be quite the experience.  Spa stays, fly fishing outings, hiking, hunting, carriage rides, 5 star cuisine... I really don't think the list stops!

Courtesy of
Right now, especially, seems to be the time to visit.  During the Holidays, up until December 20th if you and your family choose to stay at the Chetola Resort you have the option to take a Christmas tree home!  Its called the Choose & Cut package and it is sure to be a new family tradition.  In addition to your stay, the package includes (weather permitting), a family hayride to choose your tree, free hot chocolate and snacks, and the choice of your family's very own Christmas tree.  And guess what!  The family doesn't even have to lift a finger.  The employees will chop down the tree and mount it on vehicle for you!  In addition to this wonderful package, Chetola goes above and beyond to create a the best winter wonderland you've ever encountered:  Christmas carolers, Chetola festival of lights, and storytelling for the kids.  Wow, I would love to be there!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Apple Stack Cake

Apple Stack Cake...Golly, those words bring the best memories back to my tastebuds.  I believe most people have seen and eaten a piece of stack cake but just in case you haven't, I will tell you more!

An Apple Cake is a traditional cake baked in the Appalachians often in iron skillets before bakeries and Betty Crocker arrived.  Many Sunday dinners after church and special occassions had an Apple Stack Cake on the table.

An Apple Stack Cake is 6-8 thin layers of molasses flavored cake with applesauce made from dried apples, apple preserves, or apple butter, spread between the layers.  The cake is often dry, but after sitting 24 hours layered with applesauce,  it becomes moist and delicious.

Wikipedia suggests that the Stack cake originated in Harrisbourg, Kentucky at the Beaumont Inn by the original settler, James Harrod.  However, dried apple stack cakes and many variations have spread all through the Appalachians.

Also, Appalachian lore suggests that the stack cake originated as an Appalachian wedding cake.  Guests would each bring a layer of cake and the brides family would recieve them and stack them together with prepared applebutter or other types of applesauce.  Supposedly the more layers the cake had, the more popular the wedding couple were.

If you get the time, ask your Mom or Grandmother for an Apple Stack Cake recipe.  You might have one that has been passed down for ages!  If no one knows of one you could always try this recipe from

Monday, December 10, 2012

The Kissing Ball

The hanging of a holiday kissing ball is the return of a centuries old idea.  Here is a smidgen of history...

Back in the 5th century of Europe, branches or boughs, of greenery were pieced together in a circular shape and hung from ceilings & doorways.  Often, along with the greenery, there would be a figurine representing baby Jesus or the holy family, symbolizing goodwill to all those who pass under it.

During the Victorian era, the kissing ball evolved into a combination of greenery and herbs. Along with a delightful scent, it was also said to bring love, courage, loyalty, good fortune, and fertility. 

We still have the holiday kissing ball today.  Only, it looks a bit different than it did years ago.  It has evolved into mistletoe that we bind together and hang above doorways. 

Thinking of making one like the old days?  Well luckily for us, our wonderful mountains supply anything you would want or need to make a fresh kissing ball!

I thought I would take a shot at making my own Kissing Ball.  I collected Christmas decor, a circular styrofoam ball, a coat hanger, holly, ivy, and branches from a live Christmas tree.

For starters, I attached the coat hanger to the styrofoam.  Secondly, I cut the branches of pine into 6 to 10 in lengths and stuck them all around the styrofoam ball.  Then I plugged in the holly and ivy in the bare areas.  Lastly, I attached a bow to the top to give it the Christmas feel. 
Once created, I had to trim it up to make it more circlular.
I decided to hang it conveniently over a bench in my front yard.  Ya know, just in case someone would like a kiss. 

I found some other Christmas kissing balls that artists have made. They are gorgeous!  If you like them as much as I do, check out and search for them.  There are all sorts! 

Click on the pictures and it will take you to their shop.




Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Mast General Store: Heart of the Mountains

The Mast General Store in downtown Asheville is one easy way to bring a vintage feel back into Christmas.  From barrells of candy to wind up toys, a visit to a Mast General Store is sure to intice you to buy a memory from the past.

Mast General Store's were the go-to place for anything you needed in the good ole' days. Anything from food to tools.  That is why they claimed  "If you can't buy it here, you don't need it."  

I snagged the picture on the right from the Mast General Store website and I hope you will be intrigued enough to check out more info.  This picture was taken in the 1940's when the Fain's owned it. 

Shortly thereafter, the Mast's bought it and renamed it.  In order for any location to be gifted with the "Mast" name it has to be a building that is worthy of preservation.  All the Mast buildings: "Date between 1883 - 1945, have ornate pressed-tin ceilings, and either restored well-oiled worn wooden floors or terrazzo that looks as though it was laid a century ago."

Here are some pictures of the store that I took recently. (Click on them to enlarge.)

This Christmas, when it comes to finding your family memorable gifts, give the Mast General Store a try.  Of course, the store has modern things too... fantastic hiking clothes, the best camping gear, goodies for the kids, cooking supplies... you name it!  While you shop, don't forget to enjoy the antique items placed all around the store.

Click here to visit their website!