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My wife, Deborah, and I own 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 are building the new cabin where we can hear and see the river and are selling 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), 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.
Cooking / shopping
Help with Eco project
Help in the house
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. 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 am starting to produce biochar at the cabins.
I make the biochar by burning scrap wood from our land clearing and cabin building in an oxygen controlled environment - it is carbon negitive 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.
The top priority now is staining the new cabin. We're also looking for help landscaping, clearing brush, 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 and splitting fire wood.
The log cabin has one bedroom with a queen sized bed and a spacious loft with two twin beds (they are now together to make a king sized bed). It has one bathroom. Tent camping is available down by the river. Camping there would be quite lovely.
The new cabin has 2 bedrooms and a sleeping loft. We also have a futon bed on the spacious porch where we can hear the river better. It has an outdoor shower under the porch.
Meals: shopping, preparation and clean up will be shared but he 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.
Phone reception: At the cabin phone and data are good with AT&T; not as good with Verizon. Internet at the cabin is limited to a Verizon hot spot from, my phone. It's slow, and at times extremely slow, but most of the time it's good enough for email and social media. Otherwise my favorite grocery has WiFi and serves food and draft beer.
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.
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 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 Raleigh-Durham International Airport, 174 miles away, sharing the cost of gas. A car can be rented in Boone for longer day trips and overnight excursions. Rides into town would be available for shopping, activities and internet.
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
More than two
Maximum 4-5 hours a day, 5 days a week