Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Guardian in the Woods

This photo is copyright by Harold Jerrell. Harold took this photo, titled "Guardian in the Woods," here in western Lee County in January 2006.

I'm wanting to post some of Harold's western Lee County wildflowers photos, but I'll wait until a little closer to Spring perhaps.

It's snowing here in Rose Hill right now. School's already on a 2-hour delay for tomorrow and there's a winter storm watch tonight (i.e., more snow coming). I heard those frogs still peeping earlier today!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

The Old Cudjo's Cave

What to do around here in the mountains near Rose Hill, when it's still wintertime and cold and dark and dreary outside??
Go visit the old Cudjo's Cave! Now known as Gap Cave, it is owned and operated by the Cumberland Gap National Historical Park today.
Gap Cave tours are offered every Sunday and every Saturday, year-round. The tours leave the Visitor Center at 2PM on Saturdays and Sundays. Join park rangers in exploring Gap Cave, a majestic, underground cathedral. With flashlights in hand, discover glistening stalagmites and sparkling stalactites or catch a glimpse of a bat. Listen to tales of exploration and discovery. Open to ages 6 and older, this underground adventure takes about two hours, involving a 1.5 mile walk and 183 steps. Comfortable walking shoes and appropriate clothing is a must. Reservations are recommended. Call the Visitor Center at (606) 248-2817. Admission is $8 for adults, $4 for seniors, and $4 for children ages 6-12.
Spring must not be TOO far away. The frogs are peeping loud and clear. My crocus have started blooming. I even found a little snow-drop flower blooming in the yard. Bachelors buttons and larkspur and bunches of spring bulbs are popping up. Won't be TOO long and the four-lane will be lined with blooming redbuds.
Check out the recently-updated "Local Events" section on the website. There's LOTS of GREAT fun to be had around here in 2008!!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Constitutional Oaks Lone Eagle section

There's a super written strategic plan for Rose Hill's Constitutional Oaks industrial park. The long-term plan includes creating a Lone Eagle section up in the woods for technology/service businesses and the like. I'm quite interested in building a building up there. Anyone else possibly interested in some future shared office space up in the Lone Eagle section, please post here or call me at (276)445-4600. Thank you!

Silicon Holler

I was digging up a copy of this article today, so I thought I'd share an excerpt.

The article was printed back in 2003 when Lenowisco launched the Lenowisco Rural Area Network. The broadband connections in Rose Hill are linked into the regional Lenowisco Rural Area Network. Tobacco Commission funds for the Lenowisco Rural Area Network provided the matching dollars required for the USDA Connect Rose Hill grant.

The article's headline was "High Tech's Tobacco Road" and was printed in The Wall Street Journal on June 12, 2003.

Here are some excerpts, "When states settled their lawsuit against the big tobacco companies in 1998, farmers in tobacco-growing communities took a hit, as federal quotas and subsidies for their crops got cut. Lawmakers scratched their heads over how to fund a replacement industry in places where tobacco reigned."

"Now, an entrepreneur in Virginia - which is due to collect some $4 billion from the settlement - has prodded the state's Tobacco Indemnification and Community Revitalization Commission to turn over some $625,000 in tobacco money to jumpstart a fiber-optic ring that will help the southwestern corner of the state into the 21st century."

"With help from a nonprofit group, the Lenowisco Rural Area Network, local officials went an extra mile (or more) by lying fiber-optic cable with water pipes for an expanded water system."

In the article, the reporters are talking with Jonesville entrepreneur Paul Elswick. The story concludes with a great quote: "We call it Silicon Holler," he says with a laugh."

Sunday, February 10, 2008

ASD Recruits Local Organic Farmers

This photo is copyright by Rose Hill resident Harold Jerrell.
Since this post is about recruiting Lee County farmers to a regional organic growers network, I wanted to include a photo of western Lee County farmland.
On February 12, 2008 at 6:00 PM, Appalachian Harvest (operated by Appalachian Sustainable Development) will be holding a Recruitment Meeting for Growers. The meeting will provide potential growers with an opportunity to learn about organic produce.
Meeting date and location: February 12
Lee County Farmer’s Cooperative in Jonesville
5:30 p.m. sign-in and 6-8 p.m. meeting.

For more information visit http://www.asdevelop.org/ or call (276) 623-1121.
Here's a personal "testimonial." Several years ago when I lived just outside Abingdon, I was a certified organic grower. Appalachian Harvest of Appalachian Sustainable Development quickly sold everything I brought to their convenient produce drop-off spot. For example, they sold my blackberries and sugarsnap peas to nice downtown Bristol restaurants. They even help train you in organic growing techniques through fun farm tours and such.
Today, as reported in the February 6, 2008 edition of the Powell Valley News, "Seven supermarket chains in a six state area will be purchasing Appalachian Harvest produce in 2008, with a minimum weekly demand of over 7,000 cases of cucumbers, squash, tomatoes, peppers, and other items. Additionally, several more are needed to raise free-range eggs, with current demand exceeding one thousand dozen eggs per week."
If you miss the February meeting in Jonesville, I believe there's another such meeting in Gate City in March.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

peeping frogs in February

Like the photos on the Rose Hill website home page, this photo is copyright by Harold Jerrell. You can buy some of his beautiful prints at Rosemary's Specialty House in Rose Hill.

Anyway, the frogs are peeping this week! It's only the first week of February, and sure enough, while I was hauling off my trash on a warm sunny afternoon to the convenient Rose Hill convenience station, right by that creek, I could hear those frogs peeping! I associate that wonderful sound with early Spring. Strange to hear it this time of year. What do they do, crawl back into the mud when the next Winter weather spurt hits? It's supposed to be snowing again this weekend. I also saw a bluebird this week, which surprised me again. Word has it though, that the bluebirds are staying over during the Winter cuz folks are feeding them at bird feeders. Anyway, it was unseasonably warm here some this week, and now the frogs are peeping, bluebirds are flying around, and my Spring flower bulbs are popping up out of the ground.

Shame it's going to be snowing this weekend, cuz Harlan County Ridge Runners ATV Club is sponsoring a Sweetheart Ride on Saturday. Sounded fun! They've got lots of great events planned already for 2008, and we'll have more information posted in the events section soon.


Tuesday, February 5, 2008

River Place on the Clinch (new lodging options!)

Kyle's Ford TN is not too far away from Rose Hill, just over 30 miles. It's probably alot shorter distance "as the crow flies." My ancestors lived in the Kyle's Ford TN/ Blackwater VA vicinity, and I just love that whole area. It appears there's a real push for some eco-tourism development in Kyle's Ford. They're touting a retreat center, several cabin/cottage rental facilities, seasonal canoe rentals, a market, and a cafe. Check out the website at www.clinchriverecotourism.com. The online menu for the cafe is pretty nifty. It appears that you can get a cheeseburger for only $1.69! Want some fries with that? French fries cost only 79 cents! I'll bet you get excellent service with a smile too. Sounds like the perfect destination for one of my scooter tours this Spring. Okay, who wants to go with me to get a cheeseburger and some fries in Kyles Ford? At those prices, I'll even buy your lunch!

Study suggests a Rose Hill hotel

There's an article in today's Kingsport Times News with the headline, "Study suggests Duffield, Rose Hill as possible sites for hotel." The article explains that Lenowisco Planning District Commission presented a report that may help spawn growth of hotels and motels in the western corner of the Commonwealth. The report explains that The Wilderness Road State Park (which is primarily comprised of a replica of the original Martins Station fort, which was located at the present-day Rose Hill), which opened in 1997, brought in 118,000 visitors in 2006. The park has averaged a annual 25% increase in visitor traffic since 2000. The park is now one of the region's fastest-growing attractions. Lenowisco's Senior Planner, Frank Kibler, explained that the study can be provided to developers to promote the construction of a hotel.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Resident Tourist

I've lived here in Rose Hill for almost five years now, but I've yet to learn much of the backroads around here. It's beautiful everywhere around here, and I'd like to tour about these backroads a bit more, take some time to learn my way around in the vast countryside surrounding downtown Rose Hill. So I got myself a toy for Christmas... it's a scooter! Gets about 80 miles to the gallon! So now I feel that between my rugged off-road "two-wheeler" and now my road legal scooter, I can go tour around about anywhere! In spite of it being wintertime, I managed to put over 100 miles on that thing one day. Went plumb past Mulberry Gap over to Vardy! Yep, rode that thing right over Newmans Ridge. The scooter maxes out at about 8 mph going up the mountain and about 35 mph coming down the mountain. It's a great way to see the local countryside! You can take alot in at 8 mph! I was laughing about my scooter and "two-wheeler" adventures recently, and a nice "native" Rose Hill resident declared me to be a "resident tourist." haha! I liked that little phrase. Perhaps it's an apt description. This scooter was previously a rental scooter for tourists at a little resort down in the Great Smoky National Park. I think it likes going up and down mountains! haha! I think the scooter population in Rose Hill is up past 6 now. I wasn't the first one in Rose Hill running around town on a scooter, and I sure ain't the only one either. We'll have a scooter club and Saturday rentals running in town before too long. hehe!

Inside Rose Hill Library

This photo was taken inside the Rose Hill Library computer center, just before it opened in June. The new library wing and computer center were developed through the USDA Community Connect grant. Folks are using the computers now and attending the free workshops provided in the center.

Hidden Holler General Store

The Hidden Holler General Store has opened in downtown Rose Hill. We'll get it added to the business directory here soon. They sell all kinds of nifty stuff from Raleighs salve (YES! You can still buy "old-fashioned" Rawleighs products!!) to handmade dulcimers to Moonpies. Matter-of-fact, seems like you might can swing thru and get a Moonpie AND a Pepsi to go with it, for only a dollar! It's a great, new downtown store.

Springtime blossoms at the post office

Okay, I must have taken the winter off from blogging. No, it's not really Spring here yet... this photo was taken last year. I like it because the tree at the post office is in bloom.