New BeginningsBlock Number: 91
By Ginger Todd
On Friday, July 1, 2011, the 91st Quilt Block on the McDowell Quilt Trail was installed, hosted by Tom and Barbara Butler of 11611 Montford Cove Road. The block, entitled “New Beginnings” sits to the left of the main entrance to the Barn House Inn, a bed and breakfast owned and operated by the Butlers, and was placed by Mike Lucas and Jack Raker. The barn-structured Inn sits at the base of Cat Knob Mountain, named years ago by locals who reported sightings of bobcats in and around the caves located there.
Tom and Barbara moved to the mountains from the Charleston, South Carolina area after Tom retired with the closing of the Charleston Naval Shipyard in 1995, where he had been employed as a nuclear reactor engineer technician. The land they purchased in our North Carolina Mountains was a part of the well known “Old Nanny Farm.” It was once a 300-acre working farm and peach orchard over 100 years ago, now divided and sold by the estate in the mid ‘90s. The Butlers lived in their camper while they designed and built the rustic barn-patterned future B & B.
The springhouse shed, still on the property, disclosed several of the original farming implements, which they retrieved and have used to adorn the walls of the Inn. An old mulberry fruit tree adds a distinctive flavor to the landscape. They also salvaged some of the windows from the original century-old farmhouse to add to the rustic feel, but added modern conveniences. Scattered throughout the interior are various stained glass pieces created by Barbara, who has a degree in art and did custom work in Charleston.
The Barn House Inn, which has been host to everything from receptions, family vacations to a quiet writer’s retreat has had two especially attention-drawing surprises to the small community: rides on a hot air balloon in the back field and a surprise helicopter landing given by the bride to her husband for them to head off on their honeymoon.
Barbara’s interest in hosting a quilt block was sparked by memories of the first quilt she made, a double wedding ring pattern, for her daughter. The block “New Beginnings” was named for the proprietors’ new beginning in the mountains, and for the new beginnings that are formed at weddings and other functions held at the Inn.
The 4’ x 4’ block, which faces west, may be seen in the “Crossings at Sugar Hill” area of Montford Cove, and is a variation of the double wedding ring pattern. Two interlocking golden wedding rings sit across a dark green Cat Knob Mountain rising in the background, with two half medium blue rings and two half lighter blue rings acting as a backdrop against the Carolina blue sky. In front of the looming Cat Knob Mountain are six smaller hills in various shades of green with a creek flowing through at a lower elevation, representative of Cove Creek, which is located behind the Inn. At this creek, the terrain begins to rise, and is enhanced by an arbor which is often used for weddings. The entire block is edged in dark red with each corner highlighted in gold.
After the block installation, Jill Lucas, chairperson of the McDowell Quilt Trail, presented a Certificate of Authenticity to the Butlers. Take a beautiful summer drive out to Montford Cove to get a view of this newest block on the McDowell Quilt Trail and the quaint Barn House Inn Bed and Breakfast.