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If you don't have your own camper you won't be able to stay at this point - we're both 65+ and have decided not to share the cabin. Tent camping may be available once the weather warms up. The log cabin is no longer available. Once there is a vaccine for Covid-19 things will change and we'll still be needing help. Please keep us in mind.
My wife, Deborah, started with a 15-acre vacation property on the South Fork of the New River, 5 miles from Boone, in the Appalachian Mountains of North Carolina. A 37 year old cabin sits high on the mountain and our new cabin is close to the river. No neighbors are in sight. A steep gravel road goes down to the river – a 10-15 minute walk.
The previous owner had to remove many trees infested with pine beetles but it is still mostly forested. Since March, 2017 we have been fixing up the old log cabin and clearing areas of brush and brambles where the trees once were.
We built a new cabin down the hill where we can hear and see the river and have sold the old cabin and upper 12 acres. We live a 3-hour drive away in Carrboro, NC and Deborah goes to the cabin just about every other weekend. I work there for weeks at the time. My name is Tom. We have a dog; his name is Bogie.
Deborah is a health research analyst. Someday she hopes to be able to work from the cabin but is now content to use it as a retreat from the stresses of a professional career. My work is mostly on the property and am also developing community vermiculture in Carrboro. For most, if not all the time, I will be your sole host.
The New River is special – one of the oldest rivers in the world; it's a mystery how it got its name. We've been told that the section of river that runs past our property is the most scenic in the area – the water is clear and the river is lined mostly with forest and farms. There has been a good flow of water and it's tame enough for beginners. We own 3 kayaks and are on the river every chance we get. There is a grassy area where we love to read in our Adirondack chairs and swing in our hammock – and watch the river go by. A swimming hole is just downstream of the cabin where the current is just right for swimming in place.
Wildlife abounds. I've seen as many as 21 wild turkeys in our yard at once. We've seen many species of birds (including an osprey, really close), peregrine falcon, herds of deer, ground hogs, river otters, and a coyote. There has been evidence of a bear but neighbors have never seen any. We've been told that there are plenty fish in the river.
Help with Eco Projects
DIY and building projects
Creating/ Cooking family meals
Help around the house
This project could involve children. For more information see our guidelines and tips here.
Boone is a rich center of Appalachian culture made manifest mostly through local crafts and, traditional, bluegrass and gospel music. Great music is not hard to find. There is a old time music jam in town on Thursday nights - non-musicians are welcome. Square and contra dancing are possibilities. I'm not from the area but would love to share my heritage through food and story telling.
I can teach chain sawing, vermiculture (there are two small bins in the crawlspace), making biochar, residential energy efficiency, small engine repair, knot tying and kayaking on mild rivers. Vermicompost and biochar are the best soil amendments. I'm also very familiar with raising black soldier fly larvae for chicken, hog and fish feed.
I'm into sustainability in a big way. My major pursuit now is enhancing soil fertility through vermicompost and biochar. I manage an urban worm farm at my community in Carrboro and have started to produce biochar at the cabins. There are 4 worm bins in the cabin basement.
I make the biochar by burning scrap wood from our land clearing and cabin building in an oxygen controlled environment - it is carbon negative and does extremely little to pollute the air. It enhances the soil and doesn't need to be replaced for hundreds of years. Meanwhile it sequesters carbon in the ground. We'll heat our hot tub with a biochar kiln some day but meanwhile trending the fires is an enjoyable way to spend the evening.
We're looking for help landscaping, clearing brush, splitting firewood, trail building, putting in drainage lines, cutting and moving tree limbs and collecting rocks for a patio. Other interesting projects include installing a wood-fired, spring fed, hot tub down by the river, burning brush to make biochar and prepping land for a wildflower meadow. Most land clearing will be with a gas-powered brush cutter/weed eater. There will be some cutting downed trees.
The new cabin has 2 bedrooms and a sleeping loft but will be unavailable to guests until things change with the pandemic. We also have a futon bed on the spacious porch where we can hear the river. It has an outdoor shower under the porch.
Tent camping is available down by the river. Camping there would be quite lovely.
Meals: shopping, preparation and clean up will be shared and the cost of food will be provided. Special diets are fine. A restaurant meal in town is a possibility.
Alcohol: We enjoy craft beer or wine with dinner. Drunkenness will not be tolerated.
For many folks just hanging out on or by the river would be enough but there is plenty of other stuff to do. Boone is the home of Appalachian State University with all its associated great food, local beer and activities. The Blue Ridge Parkway is within 7 miles. A 26 minute drive gets you to Elk Knob with a 1.9 mile hike to its peak and splendid views. Rocky Knob Mountain Bike Park is 3 miles away and has trails that allow runners and hikers. There are other hiking opportunities close by including a splendid green-way that follows the river into town.
Within 45 miles in 3 directions there are plenty of great single or multiple day hikes. To the North: Roan Mountain has some of the best views on the Appalachian Trail and Damascus, VA is a favorite AT town and where one can rent fat tire bikes for the Virginia Creeper Trail - a converted railroad that is 34 miles long, mostly through National Forest. Grayson Highlands State Park in Virginia has a great camp ground, reasonably priced cabins and great trails.
To the West: down the Blue Ridge Parkway is Grandfather Mountain State Park, with its wide variety of trails and famous swinging bridge, the highest in the country; it has 360º views. Also, the Linville Gorge Wilderness area has many miles of rugged trails and the deepest gorge east of the Mississippi River.
To the East: up the parkway is Doughton Recreational Area and Stone Mountain State Park - both have camping and a combined 53 miles of trails.
For those more adventurous, whitewater kayaking and rafting is available on the Watauga River and Wilson Creek, both good for a day trip. Multiple day canoe camping is available at various locations of the New River State Park – no backpack required (we'd be glad to loan dry bags and camping gear). Rock climbing is also available at various locations.
Transportation: It's best if you have your own car but if not I can help out. I can provide a ride from the bus stop in town and from the Raleigh-Durham International Airport, close to where I live, Rides into town would be available for shopping, activities and internet.
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
Can host families
Our internet is only through phones. T-Mobile and AT&T do fine - Verizon not at all. Reception from our signal booster is good inside and on the porch. Iphones do better than android. We have limited data through our hotspot. Otherwise my favorite grocery has WiFi and serves food and draft beer.
Camper vans are great. Many motor homes would be unable to get back up the hill. We would supply an electrical hookup and there is an outside shower under the porch.
Bogie is a sweetheart but tends to be reactive around other dogs. If your dog is more a fighter than a lover they may not get along.
More than two
Maximum 4-5 hours a day, 5 days a week
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