Warren Wilson College hosts herb symposium in memory of Frank Cook

Who was Frank Cook? That’s like asking who first swam the entire Amazon (Martin Strel, of course.) Quite likely, many of the 150 who attended the April 7 Herb Symposium at Warren Wilson College in memory of Cook didn’t know him. In ethnobotany and herbalist circles, Cook was legendary for his global knowledge of plants and their uses. (photo by Jonathan Poston)

Review: Moscow’s Great Russian Nutcracker performs in Asheville

Getting beyond the sticker shock of $60-80 tickets show tickets, $10 parking and $5 tiny plastic glasses of wine, the Moscow Ballet’s Great Russian Nutcracker offered a grand spectacle. The promise of a spellbinding performance attracted a near-full capacity crowd to the Thomas Wolfe Auditorium on Monday, Dec. 19. Attendees came in classic Asheville mixed […]

Working elm: A day harvesting slippery elm’s medicinal bark

One Sunday morning in mid-August, I left Asheville for the one-hour drive to my friend Doug Elliott’s wooded homestead in Union Mills, N.C. During my last visit, around the exact same time of year, he showed me how to harvest and prepare elderberry for tincturing. I didn’t know what lay in store this time, other than he said we would be “working elm,” but I knew it would involve swatting mosquitoes and flies, dodging briars, poison ivy and random angry yellow jackets. Why drive 50 mountain miles to play victim to nature’s sadistic instruments? Doug is one of America’s preeminent herbalists, natural history authors, and folklore storytellers. As an elder living in organic union with the land He is celebrated among new age wild crafters, ethnobotanists, and urban foragers.

From Clingman’s Dome to the Outer Banks: Thru-hiker forages the Mountains-to-Sea Trail

Less than two weeks ago, long-distance hiker and Appalachian Trail veteran Heather Housekeeper, 28, began walking. Twelve days later, on May 28,  she made some time to share her goals with this reporter, just before reaching camp, off Ox Creek Road near Asheville. Outside of the occasional friend tagging along for a few miles here and there, she’s doing it all alone, and not counting the random “trail magic” (assistance like snacks, shoes, a bed, etc.) that strangers have given her along the way, she’s doing the trip totally unsupported.


Nearly every time I’m out for a trail run, I come upon something that makes me think back to one of the interviews I’ve done for Mountain Xpress with some of the many local wild-skills experts. These days, I can’t seem to go more than a mile without stooping down to get a whiff of […]

Capsicum Fever

Asheville's not usually known for its hot spells, but that's all about to change. There's a heat wave in town that's about to get hotter. Pick a pepper: Joel Mowrey grows the peppers for the hot sauce he makes, including the infamous ghost chili. Photos by Jonathan Poston Xpress recently sat down with Joel Mowrey, […]


The tradition began 30 years ago. Norman Blair, fresh out of college, began meeting with a few other elite runners for a weekly track workout. Over the years, the group has met at tracks all over Asheville, including those at Christ School, Asheville School, T.C. Roberson High School and Asheville High School. Nowadays, anywhere from […]

The Green Scene

Plant lovers mosey in and out of The North Carolina Arboretum every day, admiring the plants and the landscape around them. Most, though, are totally unaware of the small, twin labs tucked away in the less-visited greenhouse. The Bent Creek Institute, launched several years ago with support from groups like Mission Hospitals, the Buncombe County […]

Yo-yo hiker

Imagine hiking almost 1,000 miles. You get to the end, take in the views … and then turn around and hike back. That's pretty much what Scot "Taba" Ward did last year on North Carolina's Mountains-to-Sea Trail, which runs through Asheville on its way from Clingman's Dome in the Smokies to the Outer Banks. En […]

Outdoors: March movie madness

Punxsutawney Phil, the famous prognosticating groundhog, spotted his shadow this year, and everybody knows what that means: six more weeks of winter. Get set, ready, ride! The Mars Hill Cycling Team hopes to send most of its riders to the national championship this year. A March 11 film fest will help them raise the money […]

Outdoors: Messing about with boats

Art at work: The design has changed very little in the last 500 years, but there's still finesse in making a vintage wooden canoe shine. Photo courtesy Headwaters Outfitters Lec Hobbs must love boats. Since coming onboard at Headwaters Outfitters 12 years ago, he has risen through the ranks to become the adventure company's sales-and-marketing […]

Outdoors: Ice up

Photos below I like to envision myself as one of those hardy pioneers who, when an arctic blast blew their way, would walk out shirtless and barefoot through the snow and ice to chop wood for a family of 10. But these days, harsh winters keep most of us indoors, snuggling with the cats while […]