Susan Stafford Kelly

Susan Stafford Kelly was raised in Rutherfordton. She attended UNC-Chapel Hill and earned a Master of Fine Arts from Warren Wilson College. She is the author of Carolina Classics, a collection of essays that have appeared in Our State, and five novels: How Close We Come, Even Now, The Last of Something, Now You Know, and By Accident. Susan has three grown children and lives in Greensboro with her husband, Sterling.


Brevard’s McGaha Chapel Is Tiny, but Mighty

Hidden in the woods, McGaha Chapel helped bridge a community’s divisions nearly 150 years ago. At Christmastime, folks still come together here to lift their hopeful voices in holiday song.


A Holiday Poem for the Ages

Seventy years ago, Elinor Hawkins’s professor asked her to choose a book she’d collect for the rest of her life. She picked “The Night Before Christmas.” Today, she has more than 1,000 copies.


The Finest Firs

At the Pinehurst Festival of Trees, wander through a forest of exquisitely decorated Christmas trees — and share the spirit of the season with children in need.

Farm Tour

Daddy Pete Farms in Stony Point

A Century Farm in Alexander County capitalized on an underappreciated and often-overlooked product already sitting in the cow pastures.


Good Times at the Old Hampton Store

In an old trading post and gristmill near Grandfather Mountain, an artist has created a community of locals and tourists who come together over pulled pork and fried pickles, High Country cocktails, and traditional Appalachian art and music.


The Fairest of Them All

In Pinehurst, an unusual barn once served as an exhibition hall for livestock and a stump for local politicians, who’d snap their suspenders and make big promises. Today, this restored barn in the heart of horse country hosts weddings, dinners, and even rock concerts.