- March 12, 2015
- Keeping Good Company with Toad&Co
If you were to conduct a blind touch test of clothing fabrics in the Outdoor Department at Mast General Store, you may find one brand’s “hand feel” to be exceptionally soft. These super soft clothes made from nearly 100% organic cotton, with recycled polyester, and using environment-friendly dyes are the hallmark of our new line, Toad&Co.
- March 4, 2015
- Remembering the Valle with Blanche Hodges Kohnle - Part Two
Reflecting on her own childhood, Blanche describes her dad, Clingman Hodges, as “the greatest musician”. He mastered the banjo, mandolin, and auto harp . Each morning, he’d awaken the children for school and their mother’s fresh made biscuit breakfast by picking a cheerful tune on the banjo.
- February 24, 2015
- Remembering the Valle with Blanche Hodges Kohnle - Part One
Last year, a beautiful, petite, and cheerful 96-year-old woman and her son stopped by the Mast Store in Asheville and visited with us for a while. Many Mast guests with rich histories and even richer stories pass through our doors every day, but this guest was particularly special because she holds the keys to the history of our beloved Valle. Valle Crucis – the birthplace of Mast General Store.
- February 16, 2015
- Easy Photography Tips for Winter Landscapes
Long-range views, snowy scenes, and gorgeous sunsets: Winter provides ample opportunity to capture beautiful photos and you don’t have to be an expert photographer or own a lot of expensive equipment to get the perfect shot. This week our Mast Store Photo Stylist, Heather, shares some helpful tips for shooting winter landscapes with your point-and-shoot camera or your cell phone too.
- February 6, 2015
- Nine Essential Winter Hiking Tips
Hiking in winter poses challenges that are very different from hitting the trail all other seasons of the year. Shortened daylight, lower temperatures, and quickly changing conditions may present obstacles, but they are all easy to safely navigate with proper planning. We sat down this week with Dan, one of our resident “hiking experts” at the Mast Store Asheville, for some valuable tips you’ll want to use as you plan your outdoor adventure in the coldest season of the year.
- January 28, 2015
- Exploring the Mountains in Winter
Winter is gradually making its grand appearance with sinking temperatures and driving snow. After the wintry mix is plowed and the wind abates, it’s time to head outside for some wintertime exploration. The detail, clarity, and focus across multiple mountain ranges are most spectacular in the deep of winter. Closer views are just as thrilling because the bare trees reveal details on the landscape that are easy to miss when blocked by rich foliage.
- January 20, 2015
- Sock Monkeyin' Around
LaVerna arrived for work in the Home and Hearth Department at the Asheville Store one morning and watched carefully as a woman casually walked through the store with two companions.
- January 12, 2015
- The Holidays Revisited
For my family, the holiday season isn’t complete without a reading of Dylan Thomas’ “A Child’s Christmas In Wales”. Everyone’s favorite ornament on the tree is a wide-mouthed Santa who, when you squeeze his cheeks, offers a chocolate kiss. And each stocking gets a beautiful, large navel orange in the bottom of the toe, just like my Swedish cousins have done for generations.
- December 30, 2014
- Cooking for the New Year
Here we are about to put another year in the books. How can 365 days pass by so quickly? With the New Year just hours away, it's time to begin preparing to greet the New Year in a traditional way in order to have a full year of good luck.
- December 23, 2014
- Accidental Christmas Traditions
The holidays are here with all of their pomp and circumstance, parties and decorations, traditions and food. Many of the celebrations around the holidays have their roots in ancient Christian beliefs and pagan festivals. But there are some that are, well, accidental
- December 18, 2014
- Good to Eat and Easy to Fix
Well, the holidays are upon us. Everyone's calendars are full of parties, get togethers, and covered dish gatherings. The schedule for family visits is lengthy and covers most of the time between Christmas Eve and Christmas Night. With so many places to go and people to see, it's often not practical to prepare a full meal for your guests. That's where a smattering of hearty appetizers and sweet treats will help tide them over to their next stop.
- December 8, 2014
- A Gift to Enjoy the Outdoors
It is often a challenge to find just the right gift for everyone on your list, particularly if you are trying to find something for the outdoor enthusiast. Just a few questions that can be asked in casual conversation can help steer you to a thoughtful and useful gift that will serve him or her for years to come.
- November 26, 2014
- Bringing the Family Together for the Holidays
The holidays can be the most stressful time of the year. All of us create imagined expectations that are often unrealistic, that we push ourselves to achieve, when what we need to do is take a deep breath and relax. When family comes over, are they really coming to critique your housekeeping or to have an enjoyable meal filled with lots of laughter? While we'll agree that everyone wants to keep a perfect house, but for most of us, it's not practical, so hide the clutter in the extra bedroom (we guarantee that it'll be there later), do a quickie vacuum and dust job, and clean the bathrooms.
- October 23, 2014
- Safely Scrub-A-Dub-Dub with American Made SallyeAnder Soaps
The SallyeAnder Soaps story started 30 years ago when the creators’ infant son couldn’t tolerate the bath products on the market. Everything the couple tried irritated his skin, and so the Minetto, NY natives decided to make their own gentle and natural soap for their son. The results were spectacular for them, as well as many other families, and the soap rapidly gained in popularity. A few years later, the couple quit their day jobs, and started SallyeAnder Soaps, selling their American-made, all-natural soaps across the globe.
- October 6, 2014
- Smart Travelers Get a Head Start on Fall Weekends in the Mountains
Gardens are bearing the last of their summer gifts. Children awaken early for hours filled with learning. The length of sunlight shortens with each passing day. Some mornings there’s a familiar crisp scent in the air reminding us that fall is fast approaching. Knowing this beloved season is quickly come and gone, it’s never too early to plan your autumn excursion to the Blue Ridge and Smoky Mountains.
- September 26, 2014
- Putting Your Garden to Bed
A good cleanup in the fall is well worth your while for a healthy, vital garden next spring. Get started by pulling up vegetable plants such as tomatoes, squashes, peas, and beans. Compost the disease-free ones; put sickly or blighted ones on the burn pile or discard away from the garden. Pull up and put away garden stakes and tomato cages. Don’t forget to clean up dead or declining annuals... and remember marigolds, calendulas and zinnias are easy to grow next year, from the seeds you save.
- September 15, 2014
- Making the Most of Apple Season
Apple picking season is one of the sweetest times of year and we’re fortunate to live in an area that offers quite a few “pick your own” fruit farms and orchards. Here are some tips to help you get the most out of Apple Season – from fun-filled orchard exploration to preparing fall flavored treats at home.
- September 1, 2014
- Canning Your Summer Harvest
With a national trend toward “back-to-the-land” homesteading, many Americans are growing their own food in their backyards. But what to do with this ample harvest when more food is grown than can be eaten in a single season? When you run out of neighbors to give it to, canning your extra homegrown produce is the perfect way to enjoy your garden’s bounty all year long.
- August 22, 2014
- Neighbors Helping Neighbors
Waynesville resident, Carl Hughes, is not the kind of fellow who backs down from a serious challenge. As a construction supervisor for Chevron in Angola, Carl was familiar with malaria symptoms, having suffered through it eight times during his many trips abroad. But when his co-worker’s daughter died from the vicious mosquito-borne disease, he was dumbstruck. During a one-month break at home, he resolved to create an insect repellant which would stop the spread of malaria. His research and experimentation led to the creation of Whup-a-Bug.
- August 8, 2014
- Ask Francine - Low Fat Sweet Potato Pie?
Would you think it's possible to make a good fried sweet potato pie at home that is not loaded with saturated fat?