Western North Carolina Woman

“Good afternoon, WNC WOMAN.”

“Julie, are you sitting down?” That’s how Eve started out when I answered the phone one afternoon last month.

“Uh, yes...” I replied, wondering what on earth she had up her sleeve.
“Remember that $75 I wanted to donate to WNC WOMAN? Well, I changed my mind.”

“Uh huh...”

“Instead, James and I would like to host a celebration for WNC WOMAN as a fund-raising event.”

“Huh???” (I’m fairly certain I said something much more intelligent than that...)

“I got to thinking about that $75 and decided to do something that could be a MUCH greater support to the magazine. I know you and Sandi are running this magazine with little more than sweat and ingenuity. This is a wonderful thing you do—an incredible service—and we want to help the magazine grow. There has been great enthusiasm from everyone I’ve talked to about it.”
I listened with rapidly growing excitement. You see, Eve and her husband James are a remarkable pair. I had known them since I created the website for their B&B four or five years ago.

Eve is a highly published gardener and floral designer who grew up in Charleston, SC. Oh, and she’s a fabric artist, and a creative chef, and earth mother. James is a Ph.D., a home inspector, a builder, and a non-denominational minister—and an Asheville native. (His father was Dr. Grier Davis, once the Presbyterian minister in Asheville, later president of Montreat College.)

I stopped by to meet with the two of them at The Hawk and Ivy, their scrumptious B&B, to talk about what they had up their sleeves, and why they were led to make this incredibly generous offer. We sat in their sunny, new kitchen that James had built, surrounded by plants, art, and cherished family antiques.

“This winter I had been working on releasing my Superwoman,” Eve said,”...and in the process I had been looking closely at what I truly want to be doing. We had had the leanest months ever in November and December, and so what do you do when times are lean? You give it away!”

Eve (whose natural beauty makes her look like she recently shapeshifted from a flower) laughs like a woman who has just tossed aside a coat-of-many-burdens, and is finally being led only by the deepest core of her heart.
“I was so touched by the centerfold on Clara Curtis in the January issue. She is a beloved friend of mine—for years we have gone to New Bern together to decorate the Tryon Palace for Christmas. As I read the article,” she continued, “I realized what a unique role this magazine plays and what a gift it is for all of us; I was overcome with an intense desire to help support it and bring together a devoted gathering to create that support. I love that you have followed your vision in creating this magazine."

James piped up: “We are very sympathetic with that. We have made a practice of following our guidance even when it didn’t make much practical sense. We follow our dreams...” “It may not always be easy or seamless...” (Eve) “It’s messy.” (James) “But we love it.” (a chorus of Eve and James.) “We are committed to doing our deeper soul’s work” (at this point they are in such sync, the words could come from either mouth!) “and it seems you are too.”

In the mid 70’s, Eve and James were led to create a personal growth and spiritual retreat center in the mountains near Asheville. It was four years of very exciting work, but in the end they were unable to buy the property and returned to Atlanta. Eve’s new vision was to have a cutting garden. She dreamed the house and found it, literally a week later. They loved it and Eve flourished in Atlanta. Eve’s garden became ‘Eve’s Garden’, a splendid display garden with a floral design business that drew thousands of visitors and significant media attention.

But they yearned to return to the mountains. That dream, too, came true. They found the perfect property for a B&B in Barnardsville. James grinned, “For reasons that were never clear to us, the bank gave us a loan even though we had left behind all our sources of income. We had nothing but a dream and lots of pretty pictures...”

And The Hawk and Ivy was born.

Eleven years later the Hawk and Ivy is a holistic, country retreat B&B with 24 acres and a 1910 farmhouse and guest cottage and a well-established and well-deserved reputation for delicious food, beautiful gardens, and simple elegance. The house is full of family antiques, including a grandfather clock that has been in James’ family for seven generations. The organic gardens are an integral part of the B&B from the gourmet breakfasts to the flowers in each room and the wedding decorations in the barn. There are perennial borders, a large kitchen garden full fruits, berries, herbs, and vegetables, and dozens of overflowing pots of flowers. Guests might be greeted in the morning by a bowl of 5 or 6 different kinds of berries, fresh baked scones, an organic asparagus omelet amandine, most of it from the garden. Each morning is a different feast. (The gardens should be lovely on June 26th!)

In the beginning, they had only a passing thought of holding weddings...but people started calling on their own, asking if they could be married there. At the time the barn had no lights, no decks, no toilet. But the setting, never-the-less, was idyllic. The 20 acres of wildflower meadow behind the houses form their own private valley with a long, high ridge affording 360-degree views of the mountains.

They finally said “Okay, God, we get it!” They borrowed money from their best friend to build decks off three sides of the barn. “When you get guidance, you follow and then fill in the blanks as you go along.” Eve explained. They have hosted more than 130 larger weddings on that meadow.
Now they are feeling lead once again to become more of a spiritual retreat center B&B. (James is planning to build small meditation sites on the mountainside.) “We believe when someone comes for a personal retreat—our assumption is they have impeccable guidance. Our role is to reflect what they already know. We meet with them and ask them to articulate their intent for this time. There is magic in articulating intent…they are making a sacred commitment to themselves. We meet a couple of times during their visit to support and encourage and help deepen their intention (--not telling them what to do in any way.)

Sunday June 26: An evening of great food, entertainment, and celebration to honor WNC WOMAN and those who are inspired by it. This event is all inclusive, for spouses, partners, and friends, everyone who loves and wants to support the magazine. And the weekend of June 26th also marks the beginning of our fourth year.

The plans are unfolding as this is being written. There is much excitement and anticipation. Please call if you want to help, and order tickets early! Space is limited.

NOTE: We will keep you informed as the event continues to come together. Just mark June 26th on your calendars. You can call Arlene Winkler at 225-3766 with your credit card to buy your tickets (tickets are $25, $50, or $100...the amount you pay is up to you!). Or you can send a check to WNC WOMAN, PO Box 1332, Mars Hill NC, 28754. If you want to volunteer to help, email sandy@wnc-woman.com for details.

N.B. If you want to take a look at where the big event is going to be, go visit hawkandivy.com, a website I designed for James and Eve.

Western North Carolina Woman Magazine
is a publication of INFINITE CIRCLES, INC.

PO BOX 1332 • MARS HILL NC 28754 • 828-689-2988

Celebrating the Spirit of Place in Western North Carolina