The Mountain Laurel
The Journal of Mountain Life

Visit us on FaceBookGenerations of Memories
from the
Heart of the Blue Ridge

  • Memories of a vanishing era

    Left to right: Coy Oliver Yeatts, mountain philosopher and nature lover; Ella Hughes Boyd, midwife and grit best describe this wonderful lady; Adam Clement, beekeeper extraordinaire. They are just a few among hundreds who have shared their stories and memories in The Mountain Laurel. Their stories are a national treasure.

  • Picturesque Blue Ridge Backroads

    Discover the Real Blue Ridge

    Scenes like this are just around the next bend or over the next hill along the hundreds of miles of backroads you'll discover with our easy to follow self-guided Backroad Tours.

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  • The Stoneman Family

    A Heritage of Mountain Music

    It was more than a concert, it was a rare privilege to be attending the Stoneman Family Festival at Willis, Virginia in August. The reason it was more than a concert was that family members from Maryland and Tennessee traveled here for a reunion.

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  • Making Old Fashion Mountain Molasses

    B. L. (Bunny) and Tella Mae Cockram

    B.L. (Bunny) and Tella Mae Cockram are each 73 years old. They’ve been married for 50 years and since 1935, home for them has been their 60 acre farm in the Mountain View section of Meadows of Dan, Virginia. Tella Mae has a hundred laying hens and she sells eggs to a lot of the folks here-'bouts. In addition to the 100 laying hens, she and Bunny have 50 head of cattle and 25 head of sheep.

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  • Woodrow (Woody) Dalton on the old Appalachian Trail

    Arrowhead Marker built by John Barnard

    The original route of the Appalachian Trail crossed the Pinnacles of Dan, traversed the Dan River Gorge and climbed Indian Ladder to the plateau known locally as the Rich Bent. This path carried hikers through some of the most breathtakingly beautiful terrain the Blue Ridge Mountains have to offer. Earl Shaffer on his historic first ever through hike of the entire Appalachian Trail in one season, passed through this area and described it ...

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Sherman and Velma Sutphin - A Lifetime Together

By Bob Heafner © 1984-2012

Issue: February, 1984

sherman and velma sutphin 2George Moles and Velma Bolt Sutphin. (See article for information about this photograph.)Driving north from Meadows of Dan, Virginia, on the Blue Ridge Parkway, past the turn of the century water mill known as Mabry Mill, I turned left onto state road 758 and headed toward Buffalo Mountain. Old chestnut rail fences, naturally weathered buildings and rusty antique farm implements give you the feeling of driving through an outdoor museum. To the right, majestic Buffalo Mountain stands as a silent witness and monument to the spirit of those brave, determined souls who first ventured here in search of “home.”

The first of them have long been gone, but the legacy they left to their offspring survives the wrath of time and storms of change of the last two hundred years. Here in the shadow of the “Buffalo,” hard work and determination along with a spirit of self-reliance are still a part of everyday life. Like the majestic Buffalo, old fashioned values have withstood the test of time here without noticeable change.

Turning to the right, the Buffalo behind me, I travel over a small winding gravel road. At the crest of the first hill, I am treated to the rare sight of perhaps thirty wild turkeys in the road before me. They quickly scatter into the surrounding woods as I pass. Over several more hills, past an old homeplace and several sharp curves, I finally reach my destination, the home of Sherman McKinley Sutphin and his wife, Velma Bolt Sutphin.

Sherman was born on September 27, 1897 and Velma, on May 1, 1898. They were married on the 14th day of May, 1919 and their love, like the Buffalo, has endured the test of time. They were born within two miles of each other and were childhood sweethearts. Sherman first proposed to his future bride when they were 15 years old but didn’t tie the knot until they were in their early twenties. They were classmates at the old Brammer School, which was named for its first teacher, Bell Brammer, many years before.

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A Place Remembered

By C. David Hay © 2014

An Excerpt from the book, "Wings of the Mind."

Online: November, 2014

On a peaceful Blue Ridge backroad in Meadows of Dan, Virginia, this old rented farm house was where The Mountain Laurel was born.In the shadows of our mind
Lives a place of long ago
That time will never change
Because we loved it so.

A country lane less travel worn,
The house all trimmed in white,
Twilight song of peepers
On a tranquil summer's night.

The flowers bloomed eternal
With a sky of endless blue;
It was a piece of heaven
Where all our dreams came true.

Visions of our loved ones,
They live and always will –
For no one ever dies in
The place that time stands still.

It was a special sanctum
From where we left to roam;
A hideaway of yesterday –
Our hearts still call it home

Read the Book Review of C. David Hay's latest book, "Wings of the Mind."

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Mrs. Clara Marshall's Mountain Memories

By Mrs. Clara Marshall © 1983

Issue: June, 1983

(The following is Mrs. Clara Marshall’s story of her tragic first marriage, told in her own words, from a taped interview with her.)

“I’ll be 90, July 25. I was born in 1893. Did you ever hear about my first marriage? I was married to my first cousin. (Her mother’s brother and his family lived in West Virginia and worked in the coal mines for a living. Young Ray was visiting his relatives here at Mayberry at that time.)

We had to send through the mail to get a license from this store. (Mayberry Trading Post today.) This was the place where we got our mail. We’s having to keep it a secret because of my parents. They didn’t want to let me go, so I had to sign Mammy’s name to the papers myself. I know’d she wasn’t going to give me up to go and get married. Well, we sent the papers and he came to the store and got it. He said, ‘Look here what I got! It’s our license.’ ‘Oh,’ I said, ‘Well you better keep this straight now and not tell anybody for I won’t get to go. How are we going to manage this?’ My sister-in-law, she knew, so she made my dress and nobody know’d that. So I says, ‘I tell you, we’ll go horsebacking over to Mr. Barnard’s.’ My brother had horses.

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Latest Additions

Latest Additions to The Mountain Laurel Archive:

The stories in The Mountain Laurel Archive are sorted from the earliest edition (1983) to the latest (2015). This is done so that articles continued from one month to the next will appear in order as they were originally printed. Unfortunately, this causes the newest articles to appear at the very end of the stories listed in each category. In order to highlight the latest stories added we have created this page.

A Postcard from Mayberry - 1899

When I Am Old

Apple Butter Time

Charlotte Dawn Heafner - A Legacy of Mountain Lore

This Cake is Musty

The Sisters

Matt Burnett's Mountain Memories (Update)

Yes, You Can Go Home Again!

Mountain Mama

A Tribute to My Mother - Lavada Mae Creed Golding

Springtime In The Mountains

Front Porch Memories

Yesterday's Mountain Woman: A Legend in Her Own Time

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