Valle Crucis Farmhouse

This old vernacular farmhouse, built in 1877, was quite common in the rural southern Appalachian Mountains.  It’s close to the Watauga River, and near the locally famous Mast General Store in Valle Crucis, North Carolina, and is among the few remaining homes from this era.

Abandoned Valle Crucis Farmhouse Composition 3
Abandoned Valle Crucis Farmhouse Composition 3

As early as the late 18th century, settlers moved westward into the southern Appalachian Mountains acquiring fertile farmland along its rivers and tributaries.  Simple log homes and farm structures, eventually gave way to larger hewn log structures later covered with basic weatherboard.

Abandoned Valle Crucis Farmhouse Composition 2
Abandoned Valle Crucis Farmhouse Composition 2

By the last quarter of the 19th century, increased farm production and the availability of mechanical sawn, turned and molded woodwork, had enabled successful farmers the means to build framed farmhouses similar to this one. 

Abandoned Valle Crucis Farmhouse Rear Detail
Abandoned Valle Crucis Farmhouse Rear Detail

These homes were known for their straightforward, functional appearance, with a “T” or “L” floor plan, 1 ½ stories, and a gable roof. Porch brackets are often the only ornamentation.  This house, and one in my previous post, features a two-story gable fronted porch centered on the front elevation and protecting entrances on each story.

Abandoned Valle Crucis Farmhouse Composition 1
Abandoned Valle Crucis Farmhouse Composition 1

I was unable to confirm who last lived in this house, but saw references suggesting it may have been someone from the Mast family. I should have asked when I stopped by the Mast General Store during this visit for a pair of wool hiking socks and ice cold bottle of root beer!

Abandoned Valle Crucis Farmhouse Barn Detail
Abandoned Valle Crucis Farmhouse Barn Detail

To really appreciate these compositions, click to view a high resolution version. Everyone please stay grounded and safe during the holiday season.

Season’s Greetings!

C. S.

Stike’s Holler

While visiting my younger sister and brother-in-law’s cabin in Ashe County, I was introduced to this picturesque little hollow, or holler as pronounced by folks in the Appalachian Mountains, along Buffalo Creek on Hwy 88.  The holler was north of West Jefferson, and right below Warrensville.  Later in October, I passed by to scout the sun position to determine the best time of day to photograph.

Stike's Holler Composition 1
Stike’s Holler Composition 1

Luckily, there was an older gentleman carrying items in and out of the lower right shed.  I walked across the bridge over Buffalo Creek up the hill to introduce myself and asked permission to take pictures on his property.  He said yes, and introduced himself as Fred Stike.

Stike's Holler Barn Composition 1
Stike’s Holler Barn Composition 1

I mentioned there were local artists which made paintings of his property.  Fred acknowledged his property’s appreciation in the local art community and went on to explain he was born in the lower house and now lived solely on the property by himself.  He noted local folk referred to his home as Stike’s Holler, and his sister had previously lived in the house further up on the right, but had moved to a home nearby on Buffalo Creek.

Sinking Shed in Stike's Holler Composition 1
Sinking Shed in Stike’s Holler Composition 1

Later in the week, I returned in the morning with my camera, but Fred was either not up or not at home.  I wish I had an opportunity to take his portrait.  The hill leading up to the barn on the top left and sinking shed on the top right was a bit steeper than it appeared at the base.  The stream in the center of the property had a slow trickle of water.  I found it fascinating how the structures were built into the hillside.

Sinking Shed in Stike's Holler Composition 2
Sinking Shed in Stike’s Holler Composition 2

While photographing the barn and sinking shed at the top of the hill, I could feel the ground was quite soft.  Perhaps the rocky soil has over time allowed dirt to wash through causing the shed’s foundation to sink on the uphill side.  I took a moment to image what this small mountain farm was like when Fred was a young boy.

Old House in Stike's Holler
Old House in Stike’s Holler
Stike's Holler Composition 2
Stike’s Holler Composition 2

I plan to drop some of these photos off the next time I visit Ashe Country and perhaps capture an outdoor portrait of Fred. Thank you for stopping by and Happy Thanksgiving to all especially all my good friends on WordPress! For the best viewing experience, click on an image to experience a high resolution version.

Cheers!

C. S.

Fall Beauty on the Back Roads of Watauga County

With its high-country artsy shops, dining, and vacation attractions, Boone, NC is the well know seat of Watauga County.  It’s also the home of Appalachian State University.  During my 2021 fall foliage expedition, I was committed to exploring the lesser-known county back roads.

My first stop was this lovely red barn as I started my drive along Meat Camp Rd up to Elks Knob State Park.  From the Elk Knob a parking lot, a 2 mile hike to the 5520 ft. summit offered gorgeous views of the surrounding landscapes.  Grandfather Mountain is in the center left on the horizon line.

Red Barn on Cobb Creek 1
Red Barn on Cobb Creek 1
Elk Knob Southwesterly Landscape 1
Elk Knob Southwesterly Landscape 1

Later I explored Howard’s Creek Rd, over to Hwy 421, and then on to the far western parts of the county near the board with Tennessee.  While exploring, you drive along in anticipation of your next photographic find!

Old Barn on Howard's Creek Rd
Old Barn on Howard’s Creek Rd
Old Barn in George Gap Composition 3Old Barn in George Gap Composition 3
Old Barn in George Gap Composition 3
Old Barn in Georges Gap Composition 1
Old Barn in Georges Gap Composition 1

For the color images in this post, I used Alien Skin’s Exposure 6 to create a blend of slide film emulations. I started with a base emulation of Kodachrome 25 and then blended an emulation of vintage 70’s era Kodachrome. I’m quite fond of the result which slightly narrows yellow tonality range in favor of a bit more orange. It also restrains overly saturated greens. A great look for fall colors!

Abandoned Building on Bulldog Rd
Abandoned Building on Bulldog Rd
Abandoned Building on Bulldog Rd Detail
Abandoned Building on Bulldog Rd Detail

Thank you for visiting! For the best viewing experience, click on an image to view a high resolution version.

Cheers,

C. S.

Blue Ridge Parkway, Fall Beauty, pt3

Six additional compositions from my 2021 fall foliage expedition on the Blue Ridge Parkway, North Carolina. The first two compositions from Hawksbill Mountain represent my return to this location in the Linville Gorge Wilderness Area. My previous visit was sometime in the mid 70s as a young teenager with my late father and Boy Scout troop.

Hawksbill Mountain Sunset 2
Hawksbill Mountain Sunset 2

At the start of the summit trail, I met and hiked to the top with another photographer Anthony Heflin from Kentucky. We hung out, talked photography shop, and shot the sunset and twilight from Hawksbill together. Wow, what a wonderful experience. As I later discovered, Anthony is an amazing photographer!! You must visit his portfolio site.

Hawksbill Twilight 1
Hawksbill Twilight 1

The reaming compositions are from various locations on the Parkway closer to Grandfather Mountain.

Grandfather Mountain Landscape 1
Grandfather Mountain Landscape 1
Price Lake Fall Morning Landscape 1
Price Lake Fall Morning Landscape 1
Linn Cove Viaduct and Grandfather Mountain 1
Linn Cove Viaduct and Grandfather Mountain 1
Price Lake Fall Late Afternoon Landscape 1
Price Lake Fall Late Afternoon Landscape 1

Thank you stopping by today. See more fall color from my Blue Ridge Parkway gallery site. I dedicate this post to the veterans world wide who serve to keep their country safe! Happy Veterans Day!

Cheers,

C. S.

Blue Ridge Parkway Fall Beauty, pt2

I took the week of October 11th off to explore Ashe and Watauga Counties in North Carolina, including sections of the Blue Ridge Parkway. This is the second in a series of posts from my 2021 fall color expedition. The first image vantage point of the Linn Cove Viaduct is one of the most photographed spots on the parkway. I was fortunate to have the help of these cyclists to get a unique shot.

Cyclist on the Linn Cove Viaduct
Cyclists on the Linn Cove Viaduct

Fortunately it was a weekday on the parkway, otherwise, it would have been way too crowded this time of year.

Approaching Grandfather Mt on Blue Ridge Parkway 1
Approaching Grandfather Mt on Blue Ridge Parkway 1

The Rough Ridge Overlook is little further away from the Linn Cove Viaduct and Grandfather Mountain. Its only a moderate 15 minute hike from the parkway and offers a spectacular view of both features. Other photographers and I were treated to amazing waves of clouds pushing through at sunset.

Rough Ridge Cloud Silhouette Color
Rough Ridge Cloud Silhouette Color
Rough Ridge Sunset 2
Rough Ridge Sunset 2

Thank you for taking time to visit, more fall color to come. For the best viewing experience, click on an image to see a high resolution version.

Cheers,

C. S.

Monochrome Monday: Mountain Farm Museum

The Mountain Farm Museum, adjacent to the Oconaluftee Visitor Center near Cherokee, NC, is a unique collection of farm buildings assembled from locations throughout the area. Most of the structures were built in the late 19th century and were moved here in the 1950s. This was one of the stops on my October Appalachian fall foliage expedition.

Mountain Farm Museum Barn Landscape Composition
Mountain Farm Museum Barn Landscape Composition

Visitors can explore a log farmhouse, barn, apple house, springhouse, and a working blacksmith shop to get a sense of how families may have lived 100 years ago. The Davis House offers a rare chance to view a log house built from chestnut wood before the chestnut blight decimated the American Chestnut in our forests during the 1930s and early 1940s. I found the site to be a monochrome photography goldmine!

Mountain Farm Museum Woodshed Composition 1
Mountain Farm Museum Woodshed Composition 1
Mountain Farm Museum Woodshed Detail 1
Mountain Farm Museum Woodshed Detail 1
Mountain Farm Museum Davis House Composition Vignette 1
Mountain Farm Museum Davis House Composition Vignette 1
Antique Hay Rake Composition 1
Antique Hay Rake Composition 1
Mountain Farm Museum Barn Vignette 1
Mountain Farm Museum Barn Vignette 1

Thank you for stopping by! For the best viewing experience, click on an image to view a high resolution version. Please stay safe!

Cheers,

C. S.

Craggy Gardens Tree, Root, and Rock Compositions

From my Blue Ridge Parkway expedition this past October, this wonderful spot along the Craggy Pinnacle Trail offered many intriguing tree, root, and rock compositions. A quick point on inquiry, has anyone noticed WP adds about +5 red tint to color photos?

Craggy Pinnacle Trail Tree, Root, Rock Composition 1
Craggy Pinnacle Trail Tree, Root, Rock Composition 2
Craggy Pinnacle Trail Tree, Root, Rock Composition 2
Craggy Pinnacle Trail Tree, Root, Rock Composition 3
Craggy Pinnacle Trail Tree, Root, Rock Composition 3
Craggy Pinnacle Trail Tree, Root, Rock Composition 4
Craggy Pinnacle Trail Tree, Root, Rock Composition 4

For the best viewing experience, click on an image to see a high resolution version from my portfolio site.

Cheers,

C. S.

Cherokee Countryside

With the Thanksgiving Holiday, I hope to catch up on posts from my October trips to the North Carolina mountains.  I also look forward to catching up on posts from the bloggers I follow.  This post features several landscapes and vignettes from areas near the Oconaluftee River, just north of Cherokee.

Oconaluftee River Landscape 1
Oconaluftee River Landscape 1
Oconaluftee River Trout Fisherman 3
Oconaluftee River Trout Fisherman 3
Oconaluftee River Trout Fisherman 2
Oconaluftee River Trout Fisherman 2
Oconaluftee Elk Bull
Oconaluftee Elk Bull
Oconaluftee Elk Cow
Oconaluftee Elk Cow
Gourd Birdhouse Composition 1
Gourd Birdhouse Composition 1
Mingo Falls Composition 3
Mingo Falls Composition 3
Mingo Falls Composition 2
Mingo Falls Composition 2

I’m thankful for my followers and those who take time to visit my photo blog. And especially for this community of photo bloggers, I enjoy your work, insights and friendship.

Happy Thanksgiving!

C. S.