Mountain Girl Gallery returns
If you're lucky enough to live in the mountains, then you're lucky enough.
And by that rationale, Sonya Garland's one lucky girl, and one with a namesake at that.
Co-owner of Mountain Girl Gallery in Banner Elk, Garland is the Mountain Girl.
"I grew up in the mountains, I love the mountains and everything the mountains represent," she said. "So, I am the Mountain Girl."
Garland and her brother, Carroll, opened the gallery last year, bringing local style to seasonal business.
Based in the distinctive, chalet-style buildings adjacent to the Scotchman station in Tynecastle, Mountain Girl takes the place of Highland House Ski Rentals during the summertime, with Highland House returning for the winter months.
"We had a lot of people coming in (during winter), asking when the Mountain Girl was going to be open," Garland said. "We had people clamoring for it to get back open."
She was more than happy to oblige, reopening the gallery April 1.
"I wanted to offer local," Garland said, "an outlet for local people to sell handmade merchandise that represents mountain life. We're from Boone, grew up in Boone, and we're very much mountain people, so we're very excited about it."
Mountain Girl Gallery boasts more than 50 vendors who run the gamut for uniquely local art and crafts, including (but hardly limited to) candles, clothing, lamps, furniture and artwork.
"We've got so many things - handmade beeswax candles, lamps and clocks made out of old fence posts from an artist's property, birdhouses made from driftwood found in Watauga Lake," Garland said. "We have some great artists who represent their own local places. Everything in there is unique and special. I have a hard time not buying stuff every time I go in there."
The new Mountain Girl Market isn't making it any easier. Adjacent to the gallery, the market sells organic produce, fruits and vegetables, all grown in North Carolina.
And there's more to come. Garland's planning a series of picking parties, "with a bunch of buddies who are talented musicians ... bring a chair, sit in the parking lot, listen to music," she said.
"Hopefully, we'll have our first one toward the end of May."
In the meantime, folks can meet the Mountain Girl at an open house Saturday, April 30, from 6 to 8 p.m. , featuring a meet-and-greet with artists, food from Sorrento's Bistro and, as Garland promised, "a fun time."
"We had a really good time last year, and I'm really looking forward to doing it again," she said.
"We're really excited to have such talented people exhibiting in the store, and I have a great, friendly staff who's helpful and knowledgeable about what we're selling. Without them, I couldn't do it."
Mountain Girl Gallery is located at 4516 Tynecastle Highway in Banner Elk. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., seven days a week. For more information, call (828) 898-9581.