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.

  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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A Back-home Christmas

By Wayne Easter © 2014

Online: December, 2014

A Christmas Bach HomeA Back-home Christmas. Photo by Wayne Easter.(Editor’s Note: Wayne Easter lives in Mt Airy, North Carolina with his wife of 57 years, Helen. He has written three books about his early years growing up, “way out in the weeds at the foot of the Blue Ridge.” His talent for taking one along on memory trips to his early days on Stewart Creek's, makes reading his stories a genuine pleasure. He has written three books, “Stewart's Creek: (The End of an Era) ,” “In the Foothills of Home: Memories of growing up in the shadow of the Blue Ridge Mountains,” and, “Roads Once Traveled: In the Foothills of the Blue Ridge.” All are available on

By mid-December, things had slowed down considerably, and we were no longer dying in the hot summer fields, the tobacco was sold, the bills were paid, and we had money again. After going barefoot all summer, we had new shoes, and one tobacco-selling day around 1940; I ate my first hamburger on Market Street in Mt Airy. It was right up there with fried chicken. With the big rush over, we had time to think again, and there was great satisfaction in knowing we'd done our best. We'd followed the moon signs like God intended, and everything considered, we'd had a good year. With the basement full of can-stuff, the granary full of corn, fatback and black walnuts from the creek bottoms, and a barn full of food for the animals, nobody or nothing would go hungry on our hill. The wolf would have to find himself another door to scratch at.

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Remembering Christmas on Timbertree

By Rose Carter Parmer © 2014

Online: December, 2014

I'm remembering Christmas on Timbertree, many years ago. Memories of my Mommy during the Christmas season, 1976, are especially poignant. It was to be her last Christmas. And the year she got spoiled.

Mom loved real trees, and that year, me and her had a date to get the Christmas tree. So I came up there around 10:00 in the morning and we drank our coffee, and then bundled up and went up into the woods back on the hill behind the house. We prowled around, and finally found the perfect cedar tree. Momma chopped it down and we hauled it down to the house. We put it in the front room that Dad had built on to the little three room house. (It had a pool table in it, but that is another story.)

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Christmas Memory Long Ago

By Nancy White Grub © 1991

Issue: December, 1991

Can you believe it's almost Christmas again! Time goes by faster and faster each year until it's almost scary. Why, it seems only yesterday I was 8 or 9 years old and my brother Dicky was 4 or 5. Boy, did we believe in the magic of Christmas ... Santa Claus and the whole bit! But, so did our Mom and Dad - they really made Christmas special for us.

It was approximately 40 years ago in the great beautiful mountains of Pageton, West Virginia; a coal mining town - the kind of place where you owed your soul to the company store. On this particular Christmas, we had lots of snow on the ground. I remember because Santa Claus fell down in the road at the back of our house. We were really laughing as we saw him brushing off all that snow. I believe I heard a few "choice" words coming from his direction, also.

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A Christmas Tree in the 1920's

By Grace Cash © 1987

Issue: December, 1987

Editor's Note... The following is one of a series of articles written by Grace Cash. She lived in Flowery Branch, Georgia..

I have never been able to celebrate Christmas with plastic baubles, colorful electric bulbs and mechanized toys. Holiday spending sprees have no parallel with the first "Christmas tree" I attended. In the 1920's, folks might say, "Are you going to the Christmas tree?" The tree was a focal point, representing the festive occasion to the fullest extent.

The first Christmas tree I attended, when I was eight years old, was held at Macedonia Elementary School. The school was housed in two rooms, shaped like the letter L, and located on a broom sedge hill. The only buildings within sight were a white frame church, a country store and several dwelling houses. We drew the water we needed from a well in the yard, and we played on the fallow ground, unrestrained by land lines.

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