Hickory Ridge Homestead opens
The Hickory Ridge Homestead Museum has a few dents and chips in its centuries-old structures, but spring cleaning and elbow grease helped the museum open last Saturday.
Travis Souther is a volunteer at Hickory Ridge Homestead, and he staffs one of the cabins, describing the stories of the families that lived in the cabins that date back to the 1700s and early 1800s. "I basically tell people what life was like on the frontier," he said.
December ice storms damaged some of the structures, and volunteer crews gathered over five weekends to clear the limbs and restore the cabins to their previous condition.
The Mountain Alliance from Watauga High School raked leaves and collected debris, preparing the grounds as a club project.
On Friday, members of the Western North Carolina Horticulture Association volunteered labor and materials for the museum and Horn in the West grounds. The firms Wren's Nest, Dreamscapes, Lawn Ranger and A Cut Above groomed the grounds in anticipation of crowds, with Highland Landscape Supplies donating mulch.
"It's about helping the community," said John Harris, one of the landscaping volunteers. "This is the first impression many people get of the area, when they come to the Horn. We could have been working and making money, but we want to give back, and that comes back to all of us."
Virginia Roseman, public relations director for the Horn in the West, said the organization was facing tight budgets like everyone else, and as a non-profit, it was grateful for community support over the course of its 58 years.
"We had a good crowd come through on Saturday," Souther said. "It was our first Saturday. The Hickory Ridge Homestead Museum is open every day except Monday."
Souther blogs about the museum and volunteer efforts at http://www.hickoryridgehomestead.blogspot.com. For more information on the museum and the outdoor drama, call (828) 264-2120.
"We can always use volunteers," Souther said. "We're still trying to hash out our plans for the summer."