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.


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.


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.


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.