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Christmas Tree Traditions

<p>There are many people who have never displayed an artificial Christmas tree.&nbsp;</p> <p>Long before Ashe County became the No.1 county in the United States in the production of Christmas trees, most families would go into the woods and choose a White Pine for their Christmas tree. &nbsp;While they were there, they would gather branches with flowering red berries from native Holly trees along with mistletoe, which grows in treetops, for decorations.</p> <p>Today, we find loyalty to the rich fragrance of a real Fraser Fir, a Colorado Spruce, or the many other varieties of trees produced in the North Carolina Mountains.&nbsp;</p> <p>A real Christmas tree with its deep green needles and graceful presence in a home now transforms from a gracious thing of nature to the splendor of lights, a crowning star, and sparkling adornments. &nbsp;</p> <p>The tradition of choosing your own Christmas tree is still a family tradition.</p> <h2>Many local tree farmers promote Choose and Cut during November and December.</h2> <p>This is the time of year that hundreds of families come to <a href="https://www.ashecountychristmastrees.com/">Ashe County to Choose and Cut</a> their own family tree.&nbsp;</p> <p>The families gather for a day at one of the Christmas tree farms and select the perfect tree for the upcoming holiday. &nbsp; It is a holiday outing with some farms offering hayrides through the farm&rsquo;s rows of Christmas trees while sipping hot chocolate or apple cider until the perfect tree appears. &nbsp; It is part of their Christmas tradition year after year.</p> <p>For some people, Choose and Cut is only a day trip, while others stay the weekend in one of the many<a href="https://www.stayblueridge.com"> rental log cabins or mountain homes </a>available. It is an annual event that becomes an annual tradition.</p> <h2>The Town of West Jefferson Comes Alive with the Holiday Spirit. &nbsp;</h2> <p>The shop owners and art galleries have offerings of local items, handmade goods, and a plethora of art in every medium imaginable. &nbsp;The restaurants serve deliciously home-cooked, locally grown food, while coffee shops and award-winning breweries offer their Christmas specials. West Jefferson offers unique eateries and shops with distinctive Christmas gifts for all the family. &nbsp;</p> <p>Ashe County Cheese is one of the mainstays in downtown West Jefferson. &nbsp;In 1930, they began producing cheddar cheese, which was sold nationwide. &nbsp;Today, they produce other varieties including their original cheddar. For the holidays, people come from near and far to buy cheese and Christmas foods sold at the Ashe County Cheese Store. &nbsp;</p> <h2>The Christmas Tree</h2> <p>We should remember how the Christmas tree came from something long ago. &nbsp;It is a symbol of something evergreen and everlasting. &nbsp;A recognition of the coming time of growth and a remembrance of the birth of Christ.</p> <p>&nbsp;It is so much more than a place to display presents. &nbsp; A real Christmas tree embodies the meanings and the traditions of the holiday itself. &nbsp; &nbsp;<br /> &nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p>

Ashe County Christmas Trees

<p>Did you know that Ashe County is the largest Christmas tree producing county in the United States?&nbsp; For anyone not familiar with the area, it may be difficult to believe that our treasured small corner of North Carolina produces the most Christmas trees in the country.&nbsp; All it takes is a short drive along a country road in Ashe County, to confirm this information.&nbsp;</p> <p>Fraser firs, the most common Christmas tree, blanket the rolling mountains outside of West Jefferson and throughout the rest of Ashe County.&nbsp; The Fraser Fir accounts for over 90% of all Christmas trees grown in North Carolina and is overwhelmingly known as the quintessential holiday decoration across the United States.&nbsp; The Fraser Fir is known for its refreshing holiday aroma, rich green color, and strong branches capable of hanging heavy ornaments and lights.&nbsp;</p> <h2><strong>Why Ashe County?</strong></h2> <p>Fraser Firs are native to the southern Appalachian Mountains.&nbsp; Situated in the mountains of northwestern North Carolina, Ashe County is a premier location for growing Fraser Firs.</p> <p>&nbsp;An average elevation of around 3,000 feet means cooler temperatures year-round.&nbsp; The area averages 51 inches of rain and 20 inches of snow per year &ndash; nourishing the trees and minimizing the amount of artificial irrigation needed to grow the perfect Christmas tree.</p> <p>&nbsp;Ashe County is close in proximity to major highways including US 421 and Interstate 77, allowing the easy transportation of trees all over the nation.&nbsp; Some Christmas trees from northwestern North Carolina are even delivered to the Caribbean Islands, Mexico, Canada, Bermuda, and other countries across the world.</p> <h2><strong>Economic Impact of Ashe Christmas Trees</strong></h2> <p>There are approximately 12,000 acres of agricultural land dedicated to Christmas tree production in Ashe County; this amounts to approximately 20 million trees.&nbsp; The Christmas tree industry is a major driver for the local economy and contributes more than $85 million every year.</p> <p>The Christmas trees planted on steep slopes help to stabilize soil, protect invaluable water resources while supplying a natural habitat for wildlife.&nbsp; Since most trees are harvested between 6-15 feet, views of nearby mountain peaks are left unobstructed.&nbsp; When one tree is harvested, there are typically one or two trees that get planted in its place.&nbsp; And while any tree &ndash; real or artificial &ndash; can foster a holiday spirit, real Christmas trees are 100% recyclable and biodegradable.&nbsp;</p> <h2><strong>Where to Buy an Ashe County Christmas Tree</strong></h2> <p>There are plenty of places throughout Ashe County to pick up the perfect Christmas tree, handcrafted wreaths, garlands, and other natural holiday decorations.&nbsp; Choose and cut farms offer a natural and authentic experience for families to pick a unique tree&nbsp;from the ground.</p> <p>Family farms have both choose and cut, retail lots, or wholesale buying options.&nbsp; These family farms employ over 700 people year-round with an increased 2,000 jobs added over the harvest season.</p> <p>There are many Christmas trees in Ashe County grown on family farms; however, the major part is on large tracts of land bought or leased by the wholesale growers</p> <p>&nbsp;If weather or other reasons are keeping you from traveling to the mountains, don&rsquo;t fret -- there are many retail lots across the state to pick up an Ashe County Fraser Fir to add holiday cheer to your home.&nbsp;</p> <p><a href="http://www.ashecountychristmastrees.com" target="_self">AsheCountyChristmasTrees</a>.com has a complete list of <em>Choose and Cut</em> farms in Ashe County and a list of retail lots for an Ashe County Christmas tree near you.</p> <p><strong>Environmental Impact of Ashe Christmas Trees</strong></p> <p><em>Evergreens of all types produce an especially high level of oxygen throughout their lifetime.&nbsp; </em></p> <p><em>Christmas trees in Ashe County supply enough oxygen every day for 216,000 people.&nbsp; </em></p> <p><em>Since the year 2000, Christmas trees have seen a reduction in active pesticide usage per acre due to responsible management.</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h3><strong>Other Facts About Ashe County Christmas Trees</strong></h3> <p><em>&nbsp;Ashe County has sent more Christmas trees (7) to the White House than any other county in the nation&nbsp;</em></p> <p><em>&nbsp;Depending on rainfall and other factors, the average 8-foot Christmas tree is 10-12 years old</em></p> <p><em>&nbsp;A Fraser Fir seedling only grows to a height of 1-inch in its first year of life</em></p> <p><em>&nbsp;In Ashe County, due to steep terrain, many Christmas trees are planted by hand.&nbsp; </em></p> <p><strong>The image used in this blog was furnished by Carolina Fraser Fir Company.&nbsp;</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p>

NC Mountains winter snow

<h1>Winter is on the Agenda in NC Mountains.</h1> <p>Now that the autumn days has ended and the colorful October days have turned toward winter, one must look back to the foggy days of August. &nbsp;According to Appalachia folklore, foggy days in August decides the number of snows in the winter season.&nbsp;</p> <h2>Predicting the Number of Snows in Winter&nbsp;</h2> <p>August is the month when fog gathers throughout the blue ridges and mountain tops. &nbsp;The pumpkins are almost ready for harvest, and the mountain tradition of predicting the number of snows for the coming winter begins.&nbsp;</p> <p>We understand this tradition, passed down by early settlers, came from the Native Americans who lived among them in Appalachia at that time. &nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <h2>Here is how it works. &nbsp;</h2> <p>For every foggy morning that the NC Mountains had in August, one would place either a large or a small bean placed in a jar will predict the number of snows that winter. &nbsp;</p> <p><strong>For example</strong>: &nbsp;If an August morning fog lingers midway up the mountains, you would place a small bean. &nbsp;The small bean stands for a light snow, the mountain folks call it a &ldquo;dusting of snow.&rdquo; &nbsp;When fog cover the ground and stretches to the top of the mountains, place a large bean into the jar. &nbsp;A large bean stands for a deep snow that winter. (One must measure the fog from a designated location each morning.)</p> <p>Fall in Appalachia brings other notable traditions and events. &nbsp;Continue to follow Ashe High Country Realty&rsquo;s blogs to learn of happenings in and around Appalachia. &nbsp;</p> <p>In the spring, we will learn whether counting the foggy days in August is only folklore or if it really happens. &nbsp;</p> <p>We will let you know!<br /> &nbsp;</p>

Ashe County Autumn Day

<h1><em>Autumn in Ashe County</em></h1> <p>Here at Ashe High Country Realty, we think all quintessential fall activities are best enjoyed in the mountains of north western North Carolina.&nbsp; Whether you&rsquo;re looking to carve pumpkins, enjoy the leaves as they showcase their brilliant colors, or just visiting around the Thanksgiving holiday, you&rsquo;re sure to enjoy your time in the mountains of Ashe County.</p> <h2><em>Pumpkins&nbsp;</em></h2> <p>It is easy to pick up the perfect pumpkin and other fall decorations near the town of Jefferson.&nbsp; Located at the corner of NC Highway 16 and Don Walters Road, Third Day Market&rsquo;s Pumpkin Patch is one of the most popular destinations in the area.&nbsp; Visitors will find all sizes and colors of pumpkins, gourds, squash, corn shocks, Indian corn, and mums.&nbsp; Stop by to find the perfect pumpkin to carve your best jack-o-lantern, and the rest of your fall decorations!</p> <h2><em>Changing Leaves in NC Mountains</em></h2> <p>One of most popular reasons to visit North Carolina&rsquo;s mountains in the fall are the changing leaves.&nbsp; Every year, the month of October (and early November in lower elevations) the Blue Ridge Mountains transform into vibrant red, yellow, and orange as leaves on native deciduous trees change color before falling off for the winter.&nbsp; The Blue Ridge Parkway is an especially popular area for motorists to drive and enjoy the colors.&nbsp; During the fall months, overlooks on the Blue Ridge Parkway often display a tale of three seasons; the lush green of the lower-elevation Yadkin Valley, hues of red, yellow and orange on the mountain slopes, and the brown of winter on high mountain peaks.&nbsp;</p> <p>Whether visiting family or simply escaping to the mountains for the Holiday season, Ashe County truly shines during the fall months.&nbsp; There are plenty of restaurant options in both West Jefferson and Jefferson, and certainly no shortage of ways to appreciate the area&rsquo;s beautiful surroundings.&nbsp; Come discover why so many choose to call Ashe County home.&nbsp;</p> <h3><em>And, then there is Halloween!</em></h3> <p>Be sure to attend the activities in and around West Jefferson for Halloween.</p> <p>This year, a full blue moon will appear on Halloween night.&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p>

State of Franklin

<p>The State of Franklin</p> <p>Many in North Carolina and Tennessee may not know about the State of Franklin which came into existence on December 14th, 1784.&nbsp; The State of Franklin began at the crest of the Blue Ridge Mountains and extended west to include most of what is now Alleghany, Ashe, and Watauga counties. &nbsp;The territory also included what is now Washington, Sullivan, Hawkins, and Green counties in Tennessee.&nbsp; The State of Franklin lasted for five years, ceasing to exist in 1789.</p> <p>After the Revolutionary War, many citizens residing in the Appalachian Mountain region were so far removed from their state&rsquo;s capitol that they were not able to receive their government&rsquo;s support in times of need.&nbsp; Most were still paying state taxes but were too far away to receive aid should an emergency arise.&nbsp; For example, Native Americans had allied with the British during the Revolutionary War, but most tribes had not been notified of the War&rsquo;s end and continued raids on settlements in the mountains of North Carolina and Tennessee.&nbsp; Mountain folk were left to deal with these and many other hardships without the aid of their government &ndash; survival in these times meant being self-sufficient.</p> <p>Largely due to sentiments arising from this unique situation, there was a push in this remote region of the nation to create an independent state.&nbsp; John Sevier was one of the main leaders to lead the charge for this region&rsquo;s autonomy and served as the region&rsquo;s first and only governor. &nbsp;In May of 1785, a delegation submitted a petition for statehood to United State Congress with the proposed name of Frankland.&nbsp; Seven states voted to admit Frankland into the Union, but the nascent state still lacked the two-thirds majority needed to officially become a state under the Articles of Confederation.&nbsp; John Sevier, along with other leaders of the region, changed the name of their state to Franklin soon after these obstacles for statehood were encountered.&nbsp; Sevier even sought Benjamin Franklin&rsquo;s backing, but failed to gain additional support from him or others with additional pull in the US government.&nbsp;</p> <p>While not officially a state recognized by the United States&rsquo; government, the State of Franklin&rsquo;s territory independently functioned under a constitution written by elected representatives and fashioned to resemble the Constitution of the State of North Carolina.&nbsp; At the time of its creation in December 1784, the region had a population of around twenty-five thousand people.&nbsp; Most landowners wrote deeds to Jonesborough, the capitol of the State of Franklin.</p> <p>John Sevier would later serve as the governor of Tennessee after the State of Franklin&rsquo;s territory was ceded to North Carolina and Tennessee.&nbsp; No back taxes were paid by Franklin residents to their new states, and each family was able to keep their homestead without penalty from their new respective states.&nbsp;</p> <p>Even though Ashe county residents are now proudly North Carolinians; a large portion of southern Appalachia was at one point rather close to becoming an independent state.&nbsp; If it was not for a few decisions made by politicians in the late 18th century, we very well may be living in the State of Franklin today.&nbsp; No matter the name of our beautiful corner of the state, those now living in Ashe County are now well connected to the rest of North Carolina all while enjoying the splendor the Blue Ridge Mountains have to offer.</p> <p>Source:</p> <p>Arthur Lloyd Fletcher, 2006.&nbsp;Ashe County, A History, a new edition.&nbsp;Contributions to Southern Appalachian Studies, 14.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p>

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