Leigh Ann Henion

Henion is a writer and photographer based in western North Carolina. Her essays and articles have appeared in Washington Post Magazine, Smithsonian, Oxford American, Orion, Preservation, and a variety of other publications. She has garnered a number of accolades for her work, including a Lowell Thomas Award, and her stories have been noted in three editions of The Best American Travel Writing. Her debut book – Phenomenal – was published by Penguin Press in March 2015.

Features

Making Blue Ridge Memories on Max Patch

A marriage proposal in a sprawling meadow. Mating warblers in the brush. Orphaned boots on the Appalachian Trail. We are drawn to the majesty of Max Patch — a gorgeous bald in Madison County, 4,600 feet above sea level, where forest ends and 350 acres of open land begin — to gather life-changing memories.

Features

Beneath Still Waters

Pioneering environmentalist Rachel Carson, author of Silent Spring, began her writing career on a 2,300-acre network of islands a short paddle south of Beaufort. At the reserve that now bears her name, marine scientists follow in her wake.

Features

Gathering Wool & Wisdom

On a typical sheep, one year of fleece growth will yield three sweaters. But there are precious few shearers to tend all of the flocks in North Carolina. For the last traveling shearers, an age-old trade has become a kind of modern artistry.

Features

Mr. Smith’s Tree Goes to Washington

This year, one lucky Fraser fir from Avery County is headed to the White House. There are hundreds of contenders on Larry Smith’s tree farm, and he grooms each one to be a star.

Home & Garden

The Everything Root

A cure-all to many, wild ginseng is still hunted and sold in Blue Ridge counties. Protecting it takes vigilance, know-how, and, sometimes, even a stakeout.

Features

The Salamander Safari

They’re called a lot of uncharitable names — snot otters, devil dogs, hellbenders — but the ancient aquatic creatures of Appalachia are a prime indicator of the health of our waterways.

Western

A Perpetual Harvest

Filed away in card catalog drawers in a Watauga County library, packets of heirloom seeds await planting. And with every seed comes a story.

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