Munsey Millaway

The Pendleton Spring Jubilee is a wonderful festival and a great spot to find interesting artisans. I was particularly drawn to the mound of oddly-shaped birdhouses made by Munsey Millaway. Munsey fashions his folk art birdhouses from an eclectic assortment of found objects and, like most folks artists, he manages to assemble his finds in a pleasing and unique way. I came back at closing time and we worked out a deal.

The birdhouses sold well and I contacted Munsey about making a trip to his place above Boone, North Carolina to understand his context and to purchase more art.

So, a road trip was born. We arrived above Boone, North Carolina after being detoured for two hours through the Pleasant Valley. The highway was shut down for blasting just a few miles short of our goal. But it was a beautiful drive and, hey, we were on a road trip, right?

Munsey had been waiting for us and displayed his inventory of birdhouses all over the yard for our inspection. We had a good time picking and choosing with a rest every now and then to swap some tall tales. (Munsey likes a good story as much as I do!) I was particularly drawn to the small workshop that Munsey uses to make his creations. I now have a new reference standard for chaos. Mary’s favorite find was the bicycle that somehow found its way into a tree in the yard.

After our visit, we were off to Blowing Rock, North Carolina where we had a delightful walk, meal, and overnight lodging at the Inn at Ragged Gardens. As some electrical work was ongoing in the hall near our room, we were awarded a suite complete with a jacuzzi tub, a sitting area with two fireplaces, and a garden-view porch for breakfast.

We visited the Moses Cone Memorial Park just off the Blue Ridge parkway and hiked to Cone Cemetery and Flat Top Mountain Tower. The Southern Highland Craft Guild store at the Parkway Craft Center held a bounty of treasures. We were heading home after a very full day when we saw a sign for the Crossnore School. We were glad we stopped. My gracious, what a gem hidden away in this little mountain town! In the span of two hours, we were treated to a personal tour of an unbelievable art collection, a weaving museum/studio/store, a remarkable fresco in an old stone chapel, and a terrific meal at the Loaves and Fishes Restaurant.

We got our money’s worth on this road trip!

Enjoy pictures from our trip and please visit Pixel Point to see Munsey’s folk art birdhouses. ~ (emh)

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