WNC Staff

WNC Staff
Five local inventors who are changing the world, one innovation at a time

Smart companions for your next cookout

Last spring, we invited amateur and professional photographers alike to enter our inaugural Images of Western North Carolina Photo Contest, and with so much here to inspire a shutterbug’s focus, more than 600 submissions flooded in. Check out the finalists’ photos as well as the winners of the Amateur and Professional categories on these pages, then visit wncmagazine.com to view other honorable mentions and vote for your overall favorite by January 31. The Readers’ Choice winner will be announced in our March/April issue.

Hugging the banks of the North Toe River, surrounded by blue-tinged mountains, the rural Mitchell County town of Spruce Pine holds a rich history, one with tales of trains and commerce, a hoard of minerals, and a nationally recognized theater. After falling in love with the community and learning of its heritage, Boone-based events planner Elizabeth Hempfling decided to pay homage. “I wanted to do something that portrayed love, but wanted it to be unique and to mean something,” she says. Hempfling staged a photo project that offers period recreations of Spruce Pine’s past, from the early 1900s to the 1950s, as well as snapshots of the thriving community today. In all, some 30 local residents pooled resources and time to stage, style, and snap pictures over four days. The result is a nostalgic portrayal of the town’s story, told with passion and reverence.

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"Everything is an art material"

Internationally known for the quality of the mica in its soil, Spruce Pine is also ground zero for one of the most highly regarded craft communities in the nation. Potters and other artisan wizards work in the hills and hollers that surround Mineral City, making Spruce Pine a prime base for hiking, touring, and studio-hopping.

The Southern Outer Banks beckon with pristine beaches, wild horses, and 300 years of swashbuckling lore

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