By Gina Malone
A glorious autumn day is the perfect time to take a trip to Transylvania County. The family-friendly town of Brevard brims over with places to visit and things to see, and beyond the town limits there are outdoor opportunities for all, including waterfall hikes, paddling excursions and fly fishing.
“In Brevard we have three art districts,” says Tammy Hopkins, executive director of the Transylvania Community Arts Council (TCArts), “downtown, Brevard Lumberyard Arts District and Potters Row on Hwy. 276 South.” Downtown is a veritable scavenger hunt for art with 14 galleries, nine murals and 19 animal sculptures.
Artist Ann DerGara and her husband Tom Cabe, owners of Red Wolf Gallery, spearheaded the Brevard Sculpture Project. Nineteen animals native to WNC are scattered around the downtown business district. For a fun family project as you explore downtown, visit transylvaniaexplorer.com for a list of clues to fi nding them. More information about the project, which seeks to raise awareness about and appreciation for these animals, can be found at brevardsculpture.org. A brochure is also available at the Brevard/Transylvania Chamber of Commerce.
And while you’re on the lookout for critters, keep your eyes peeled for white squirrels. Brevard is home to so many that a festival celebrates them each May. Even if you don’t see the real thing, there are plenty of decorative critters on downtown trees and traffic lights.
It’s doubtful you’ll see one larger than Warren, who sits on the sidewalk outside The White Squirrel Shoppe. Under new management after the original owner retired last fall, the shop has been a downtown mainstay for more than 30 years. “Under the new ownership,” says manager Karen Kamp, “we have concentrated on more of a souvenir/boutique/garden atmosphere, with many custom items featuring our famous white squirrels.”
Be sure to step next door to see the artwork at Number 7 Arts, a TCArts co-op featuring 35 local artists exhibiting fi ne arts and crafts including painting, ceramic arts, basketry, woodworking and stained glass. Number 7 Arts has been in operation for 18 years, making it the oldest operating gallery in Brevard. Members helped prepare the space as the new location for the gallery, opening in January. “We did the demolition and subsequent restoration,” says photographer and member Jack Christfield. That involved a great deal of work, including removing walls, painting, replacing windows and restoring exterior detail to its historic appearance. The result is an inviting and airy space filled with natural light and beautiful works.
One of Brevard’s newest art destinations is Dragonfly Gallery, featuring the art of three local artists: Rebecca Kahrs, watercolors; Mary Alice Braukman, water media collage; and Jon Houglum, oil landscapes. “We chose Brevard,” says Kahrs, “because we love the small town feel and friendliness of the community. We may be a small community but we have a big heart for the arts and the artists are all very supportive of one another.”
Among other galleries not to be missed is Trade-Arama with a collection of fine art, pottery, wood, prints and folk art, as well as unusual vintage pieces. Penny Lane Exchange has served as the town’s “cultural gateway” for 20 years and is the place to find a costume for the ever-popular HalloweenFest. This 35-year town tradition will be held Saturday, October 28, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
“Penny Lane Exchange delights all generations,” says owner Laura Minerd, “with year-round costuming, classy retro clothing, colorful bohemian attire and décor as well as cultural icons.”
When hunger strikes, stop by The Square Root for a fantastic meal inside or on the terrace. The restaurant is one of the many Transylvania County spots that regularly feature live music along with sumptuous fare. Others include 185 King Street, The Phoenix and Fox, Wine Down, Oskar Blues and Lake Toxaway Community Center.
Visit Headwaters Outfitters for such adventures as the Colors of Fall Canoeing Trips on Saturdays throughout October. Pisgah Field School offers Waterfalls & Wine, hiking excursions to some of the county’s more than 250 waterfalls finished off with a wine tasting at Broad Street Wines. Perfect for the season, the historic Allison-Deaver House will host Down By the Barn Stories & Music on Saturday, October 21, at 5:30 p.m.