Ashe County claims the nickname “the coolest corner of North Carolina” because of its 3,000 foot elevation and location between Mount Jefferson and Paddy Mountain in the state’s northwest corner. In the 1800s, just a few families lived in the valley, known for cherry tree orchards. In the early 1900s, the Virginia-Carolina Railroad brought development and a growing population.

Today, the area draws people in with majestic mountain scenery, ancient rivers and vibrant arts. Yet the hills and valleys still echo with stories—of family, triumph, tragedy and the resilience of the human spirit. Welcome to CPJW 2021, Echoes of Appalachia.