Thankful for Thanksgiving

Article Published: Nov. 18, 2010 | Modified: Sep. 7, 2011
Thankful for Thanksgiving

Last week's Ashe County Christmas Parade heralded in the holiday season, with more parades and events to come.

Photo by Tom Mayer

Thanksgiving means more than turkeys in the High Country. It means family, friends, football, food and tradition.

Just ask 88-year-old Bob Townsend, longtime Vilas resident, now a resident of Deerfield Ridge. He's a guy with a lot to be thankful for.

"That I'm alive," he laughed. "I just have to thank the Lord for letting me live this long."

He's seen farms come and go, churches being built and "60-inch snows" ("The crust of the snow cut my horse down the middle," he said). He's seen Thanksgivings, good and bad and, while some might tell you a Thanksgiving in a recession isn't like the Great Depression, he begs to differ.

"We could still buy things in the Depression," he said. "A pair of overalls was 50 cents."
Even in the Depression.

The son of farmers, his plate was never empty. He didn't have to spend his last nickels at the grocery store like people do today.

"We had lots and lots of vegetables, I'll tell you what," Townsend said.

And health care? It wasn't a problem. Once, he broke his knee and owed a local doctor $17.
"He let me work it off in his farm for 50 cents a day," he said.


"It would cost thousands of dollars," Townsend laughed. "Thousands and thousands of dollars."
What's he thankful for? "The way things were," he said.

With a farm stocked with poultry and hogs, his Thanksgiving table was always piled with homegrown tradition.

In 2010, the High Country offers several ways to throwback to an easier time, through celebrations, special events and other memory making activities.

We've compiled a list of Thanksgiving week events you can be thankful for:

Thursday, Nov. 25 (Thanksgiving)
Thanksgiving Buffet: The Meadowbrook Inn (711 Main Street, Blowing Rock) is hosting a buffet from 12:30 to 2 p.m. and 4 to 6 p.m. From 7:30 to 11 p.m., expect a Turkey Day Bar Night with music, food and drink specials. Reservations are required. Call (828) 295-4301.

Dinner: The Table at Crestwood (3236 Shulls Mill Road) is hosting a Thanksgiving dinner with entrees like oven roasted turkey breast, bourbon honey glazed ham and grilled Atlantic salmon. To make reservations, call (877) 836-5046.

Holiday Discount: Appalachian Arts and Cultural Programs has a holiday discount going on through Dec. 10. Expect 20 percent off any four tickets to the 2011 Spring Performing Arts Series. Tickets must be purchased in multiples of four to be eligible for the discount. Call (800) 841-ARTS to get tickets. Shows include LA Theatre Works: "The Real Dr. Strangelove: Edward Teller and the Battle for the H-Bomb" Jan. 22 and the Russian National Ballet's "Romeo and Juliet" and "Chopiniana" March 2, among others.

Friday, Nov. 26
Christmas in the Park and Lighting of the Town: Start your holiday season in Blowing Rock at Memorial Park with Santa and plenty of hot chocolate. It's from 2 to 5 p.m. The actual lighting happens at 5:30 p.m.

On Sale: The Art of Oil (222 Howard St., Boone) is hosting a Laura Fly jewelry trunk show Nov. 26 from 12 to 6 p.m. Expect a wine tasting.

Caroling: Meadowbrook Inn hosts a Christmas Carol supper from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Come and sing to live piano music and hear Santa read "The Night Before Christmas."

Santa at Chetola: Visit Santa and decorate cookies from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. (repeats Saturday) at Chetola Resort.

Open House: Art and Artifacts in Blowing Rock hosts a Holiday Open House to coincide with the lighting. It happens from 5 to 8 p.m. Artists include Judi Russell, Sandy Adair, Patricia German, Joe Lafone and Stephen Brooks.

Carriage Rides: Horse and Carriage Rides will be offered around Chetola Lake from 5:30 to 9:30 (repeats Saturday). $16 for adults, $10 for kids 2-12. For more information, call 828-295-5500 or visit Chetola's website,

Saturday, Nov. 27
S'mores: Footsloggers is offering toasted marshmallows every Saturday through the end of the year from 1 to 5 p.m. Chomp on free s'mores ingredients and cozy up to a fire in the courtyard.

Festival of Lights: It happens at Chetola with over 50,000 illuminations. Check it out from Saturday until Jan. 30.

Blowing Rock Christmas Parade: It happens on Main Street at 2 p.m.

Annual Thanksgiving Kiln Opening: Happens at 10 a.m. at Traditions Pottery Studio (1116 U.S. 321 Business). Call (828) 295-3862 for more information. Watch professionals unload the wood kiln, then make your selection.

Beech Mountain Holiday Market: It happens at Buckeye Recreation Center (206 Grassy Gap Creek Road) from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and features a host of local artisans selling unique arts and crafts and baked goods.

Thanksgiving Fall Football Madness: A punt, pass and kick contest and flag football game happen at Buckeye Recreation Center on Beech Mountain Saturday from 9 to 2 p.m. Admission is $5 a person. Expect a cookout.

Open House: Alta Vista Gallery (2839 Broadstone Road, Valle Crucis) is hosting an open house Saturday from 11 to 5 p.m. with cider, Christmas decor (including cookies) and more. Artist Bennette Rowan will be on hand to show off her new oil paintings.

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