Life in the Carolinas: Coffee and conversation in West Jefferson
By Carl White
Enjoying a warm beverage at the West Jefferson Coffee House has always given me a sense of satisfaction. I’ve met many of the area’s more colorful people as they come and go through the doors of this cozy establishment. While visiting, I’ve met many of the area’s fine artists. One such artist is Stephen Shoemaker who has, among other things, captured the essence of the historic railway and trains that have serviced the region over the years. His creative attention to detail has attracted collectors from around the world.
Raney Rogers is another local artist. She has a personality as colorful as her paintings, and she helps others express their creative side with painting classes.
When you walk around town it’s easy to see that the people of West Jefferson have embraced their creative selves. There are several beautiful murals around town, and the Ashe County Arts Council does a fine job of promoting the many talented artists in the region with an active program schedule.
The coffee shop is a good place to talk about the arts and just about anything else that you might think about. I enjoy taking with Jan. He owns the local radio station and knows about most if not all things that happen in the county.
It seems like all conversation is fair game. I recall one lady who came in and sat at the counter a few seats down from me. Before long she shared the story of a family member going through a difficult situation. It seemed like we had our collective Dr. Phil moment and then it was off to the next topic. No judgments, just good conversation.
Julie is the owner of the coffee shop. She’s a hard working lady from Pennsylvania, and I always enjoy our conversations. Julie seems to know about the comings and goings of the area, and she has a very practical outlook on life.
Maybe it’s the mountain air that makes conversation so easy and relaxed. I know that every time I make my way through the ever turning mountain roads, the higher I ascend, the easier my thoughts become. As soon as I see the Christmas tree farms I start having pleasant thoughts. I think about the Ashe County Christmas trees that have been selected for the White House and the thousands of people who have made it a family tradition to drive up from the towns and cities in the Carolinas to select their trees.
West Jefferson hosts the annual Christmas in July Festival, and it seems to attract people from all over the region. I recall the first one I attended. I met the well-known luthier and entertainer Wayne Henderson. I enjoy his style of playing and have since had the chance to visit his home and workshop, where he makes the highly prized Henderson Guitars. He has been on the show a few times over the years and I have become a bit fan of Wayne’s way of approaching life.
I like cows and I like cheese, and I was happy several years ago when I learned about Ashe County Cheese. This company started making cheese in 1930. The business has gone through many changes over the years. They continue to grow in popularity, for which I am very pleased. They make wonderful cheddar and when I am in West Jefferson I stop in for a supply. I have been known to try all the samples, even though I know very well what they taste like. I don’t think they mind.
I look forward to my next visit and I’m sure it will include a cup of coffee with friends.
Carl White is the executive producer and host of the award winning syndicated TV show Carl White’s Life In the Carolinas. The weekly show is now in its seventh year of syndication and can be seen in the Charlotte viewing market on WJZY Fox 46 Sunday mornings at 10:00am. For more on the show visit www.lifeinthecarolinas.com, You can email Carl White at Carl@lifeinthecarolinas.com.
Copyright 2016 Carl White / Carl White’s Life In The Carolinas