Welcome to our Mountain Traditions Blog

We'll be writing about things going on at Mountain Traditions and around the area, such as events, festivals and fairs. We'll also share photos of our new clubhouse, walking trails and new floorplans and house designs. We may even have a ghost story or two to tell.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Registering with Technorati

It's one thing to write posts.  It's another to get them viral.  One of the first steps is to register with blogging directories such as Technorati.com.  So, to "claim" my blog on Techno, I have to post a verification code number and then they (hopefully) will accept me.  I feel like I'm interviewing for a job and waiting to hear if I made the cut...
 Here's the code number.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Extreme makeover on 1800s cabin.

─ Polly Jenkins

Jud Ammons, the developer of Mountain Traditions, was told that it would be too costly to renovate the 1800s cabin that sits right smack dab in the middle of the community. Being a “green” developer and true visionary, Jud balked at the idea to tear down the cabin; instead, he wanted to save its character, its charm and its past, and resurrect it for others to enjoy.
“I want people to experience a real mountain cabin, Jud explained. "This is what Mountain Traditions is all about – simpler times.” He added, “I grew up in a small house, not an actual cabin, but it didn’t have indoor plumbing and we had one naked light bulb in the center of the room. And, even if you’ve never lived in an old cabin like this, you can’t help but feel a calm come over you when you walk onto the porch.”  -- Jud Ammons, developer.

This cabin has great bone structure and Jud Ammons saw it immediately. It just took the rest of us a bit longer to see it.

Except for the raccoon family we had to evict (don’t worry, there’s plenty of places for them to set up new residence), no one knows, alive anyway, who used to live in the cabin. All we know is that it would become the centerpiece of Mountain Traditions. But, boy, was there a lot of work to be done. Where’s Ty Pennington when you need him?

It was the spring of 2008. The first time I visited Mountain Traditions in Mars Hill, North Carolina. I wouldn’t even go into the cabin when we first walked the property. I said it was because I wasn’t wearing the right shoes. Wrong! I was afraid of falling through the floorboards; or worse, surprising a copperhead (that’s a snake – for you city folk).

Fast forward to the spring of 2010. There’s still more work to be done, but the cabin has transformed into a welcoming beacon to the heart of the community and all the onsite amenities. I don’t have pictures of the inside yet. The original fireplace in the main gathering room had been saved, which will have gas logs to warm you on chilly mountain nights. The original wood siding (inside and out) was saved as well, but all the join mortar had to be replaced.

The walls were stripped of layers of old newspaper (used as insulation in the previous centuries) to the bare wood siding. The original support beams are still there. They add such character to the cabin. Standing in the front doorway and looking in I noticed that there’s not a single straight wall…almost like a fun house. But don’t worry, this cabin is as structurally sound as a Blue Tick hound on the trail of a marauding coon (raccoon – for you city folk).
We had to totally replace the old rusted tin roof with a brand new shiny one, but it will oxidize soon enough and capture that cabin’s old look and charm of bygone days. All the creaky flooring, where the spaces between the boards were big enough to see the ground beneath, had to be replaced.

A kitchen galley and restroom were added. The front door had to be replaced, but the carpenter retained the aesthetic feel of the previous one.

The new front porch is wide and inviting and is supported by Poplar tree posts. The cabin overlooks a pond with walking trails and outdoor grill and picnic area. Landscaping will be kept native and natural.
The extreme makeover of this cabin will be complete in early July and will be open for homeowners and their family and friends to enjoy. And we’re planning a grand opening this fall (more details to come later).

Mountain Traditions is a 400-acre mountain community where 140 families will call home, whether retirement, seasonal or year-round.  Mountain Tradition is located only 10 minutes from Mars Hill, NC, and the Mars Hill College.  And just 20 minutes from the community entrance is the hub of western North Carolina, Asheville.  For more information on Mountain Traditions, visit our website http://www.mountaintraditionsnc.com/.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Mountain Traditions welcomes its first homeowners.

Some encouraging signs that the real estate market in North Carolina is starting to rebound: getting more traffic to your website, more calls to your welcome center (not merely asking for directions to the nearest Starbucks), people coming out to tour your community...

And finally, someone actually purchasing a home or homesite.  Yahoo!  Ring that bell!  Pavlov's dog is salivating!  It's a great day in the neighborhood.  You get my drift.

I would like you to meet Paul and Cindy Anderson, our first homowners at Mountain Traditions.  The Andersons are from Weaverville, North Carolina,  "just down the road a piece".  Paul has several businesses around Western North Carolina.  They visited the model home during the Asheville Home Builders Association (HBA) Parade of Homes tour last fall.  Cindy and Paul loved the model so much that they not only purchased the home, but all the furnishings, right down to the linens and coffee maker. 

“We enjoy incredible country living here, and we’re only 20 minutes from Asheville,” said Cindy in a recent interview. “I can’t wait to return to my new ‘peace and quiet’ after work every day!”

The Anderson’s home is positioned “just so” to delight in the morning sunrise from one porch and the evening sunset from another. “Our view of stars in the night sky is spectacular,” Cindy commented. “We see so many more here than we did when we lived within the glare of city lights.”

Just as we had hoped, Paul and Cindy are taking advantage of our scenic walking trails, fishing pond, and soon the newly restored 1800s cabin-turned-clubhouse scheduled to open in June.

“Why wouldn’t we?” asked Paul. “It’s beautiful here. We’re thrilled to experience a tranquil lifestyle with city amenities nearby. We wouldn’t change a thing!”

Check out the 2009 Parade Home  on the Mountain Traditions website.  We're finishing up on the 2010 Parade Home and I'll write about that one in the very near future.  You may also want to check out other homestyles and floorplans.  You'll find that here is an eclectic array of floorplan choices.  Here, at Mountain Traditions, you may bring your own builder or choose from one of our custom builders; and you can build now or later.

Ok, here's the 15-second commercial:  Mountain Traditions is a beautiful 400-acre mountain community just 20 minutes north of Asheville in the quaint college town of Mars Hill.  Mountain Traditions offers homesites ranging from one to over four acres and valued from the $100s to $400s. Amenities include walking trails, fish pond, overlooks and natural parks and a restored 1800s cabin that serves as the clubhouse overlooking the neighborhood pond. This debt free community is being developed by Jud Ammons, who grew up in Mars Hill and where his family still has deep roots. Visit our website MountainTraditionsNC.com. 

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Going Nuts at Mountain Traditions in Mars Hill, NC

American chestnuts, that is. 
Mountain Traditions is working with Mars Hill College and the American Chestnut Foundation to grow 200 seedlings on our property to plant in area forests later this year.  Woody Ammons, the community manger, is an avid conservationist and a member of the Foundation.  With Woody's involvement with the Foundation and Mountain Traditions' ties to Mars Hill College, it was natural for Woody to offer a perfect spot at Mountain Traditions for the blight-resistant chestnut seedlings to be planted.

"My family has always been about saving trees and conserving our natural resources," Woody proudly explains. "It was the right thing to do for us to help with this pilot program. We're proud to be a part of the American Chestnut Foundation project to re-introduce the Great American Chestnut back into the mountains of Western North Carolina."

The American Chestnut Foundation is working with several local groups to bring back this great tree species to its once prolific majesty of of  more than 50 years ago.  These mighty trees where abundant then.  They provide food and shelter to local wildlife and fuel and income to Appalachian Mountain residents.  During the middle 1900s, an Asian blight - an exotic fungus - virtually wiped out the American chestnut from our mountain landscape.

For more than 26 years the American Chestnut Foundation, along with scientists from the US Forest Service, have been creating a blight-resistant strain of chestnut by cross-breeding the Chinese chestnut with the American.  The result is a blight-resistant hybrid species that is 94 percent American chestnut.

For the past couple of years the Foundation has been responsible for planting more than 1,200 seedlings in "secret" national forests in North Carolina, Virginia and Tennessee.  More than 500 more seedlings are expected to be planted in 2010.

By crossing the Chinese chestnut with the American, the goal of the Foundation is to "develop a breed of tree that grows like the American chestnut but resistant to blight and other fungus that destroys these trees and other species as well."

Bryan Burhans, president and CEO of the Foundation, explained in a newspaper article in the Asheville Citizen-Times last fall that the current project is the "evaluation stage" to study whether the new genetics is strong enough to reforest the country with American chestnuts.  The paper further quoted Burhan, "We believe that these restoration efforts will serve as a model for future efforts to restore this native species."

The pilot project could takes up to 15 years before it is determined a success and full-scale restoration efforts begin.  But scientist are encouraged so far.

"If successful, this chestnut restoration project could represent one the most important conservation success stories in the history of the forest service," reported Stacy Clark, a research forester with the US Forest Service's Southern Research Station. "This could provide hope for other tree species decimated by exotic pests."

Mountain Traditions is doing its part to help in the effort.  Woody and his brother Jud Ammons have always been mindful stewards of the land.  Jud Ammons, a builder and real estate developer for more than 40 years, would move a road to save a majestic tree.  Or plant 10,000 trees on a 600-acre farmland and wait for 15 years before developing a golf course among those trees.  When Jud purchased the 400-acre property on Broomstraw Mountain in Madison County, just minutes from Mars Hill and downtown Asheville, he never doubted that nature would play a vital role he envisioned for Mountain Traditions, a traditional mountain community that maximizes casual living while minimizing its environmental impact. 

Detailed information about the test plantings and future aspirations for a large-scale restoration of the American chestnut species can be found at www.fs.fed.us/r8/chestnut. The website also features photos of recent tree growth, video of the monitoring process and historic information about the American chestnut.

For more information about Mountain Traditions, visit our website www.mountaintraditionsnc.com.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Is "going green" wicked?

Last night I saw the wonderful musical "Wicked" at the Performing Art Center in Durham, NC (dpac). By the way, if you've not experienced it, I strongly recommend it. It is a cauldron full of delicious song, dance and amazing imagery to feast upon.

You ask, what does seeing a musical have to do with "going green"? Well, Elphaba, the Wicked Witch of the West, made a comment about "going green". Of course, she was referring to her skin color (it got a big laugh). Nevertheless, it made me wonder just how over-used the ecological word "green" has become. We are now seeing it in everything...from house and auto paint to lip stick...(well, maybe not lipstick...unless you count "no animal testing" in which I'm a strong supporter). Yes "greening" is a good thing. But are companies and industries really embracing it or is "green" merely the "in" color this season?

Want to learn more about Mountain Traditions? Go to MountainTraditionsNC.com.