A beautiful place to call home…

I come from wandering stock – my mother was an immigrant from Ireland; my paternal grandmother came to America as a child, a refugee from anti-Jewish pogroms in Tsarist Russia. My husband and I grew up in the Midwest; moving to the South in 2011 after a lifetime in Chicagoland was a significant migration for us.

Cloudland

The neighborhood

We landed in Watauga County, North Carolina, not far from the Tennessee border. The Appalachian mountains define the geography of the region. These are some of the oldest mountains in the world, rugged, beautiful, worn down by age. (A Colorado tourist referred to the Appalachian Mountains as “shorties – and compared to the Rockies, they are.) 

Tourism represents a significant portion of the economy in Watauga – the impact of tourism in 2015 was $231.44 million. The county is dotted with “choose-and-cut” Christmas tree farms that bring in an estimated economic impact of about $14 million.

What we found in Watauga County were many people like us – migrants, people who moved here for a variety of reasons  – the view, a job, family.

But we also met people whose families have lived here for centuries. We’ve heard rumors that it’s possible you could perhaps buy land that was deeded to the seller’s family by King George III.

Watauga County is a place people migrate to, but it’s also a place some families never leave.

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Welcome to Watauga!

It’s two hours from the nearest airport, a rural county in western North Carolina. It’s one of the three “lost provinces” of Western North Carolina, a region so remote and so rugged that to get there, you had to be born there, as the joke once went.

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It’s a place where you may just find a couple of renegade cows in your backyard.

It’s Watauga County, North Carolina. Population: almost 54,000. Home to Appalachian State University, part of the University of North Carolina system of public universities. Considered by some to be one of the most influential counties in America.

And it’s the subject of this website…