Lifestyle

Wild Spaces & Dark Skies in an Urban World

Wild Spaces & Dark Skies in an Urban World

For Bernie and Holly Arghiere, the land was everything. Not just any mountain land, mind you, but land that was carefully preserved, had significant elevation, was far removed from urban intrusion, yet within a short drive of Asheville, NC. “We were very focused on what we were looking for,” says Bernie. “We didn’t want golf. We aren’t club people. We are nature people. And when you start looking for preserved land at a particular elevation, yet close to civilization, you realize how few and far between those places actually are today.”

Eastward Ho!

The Arghiere’s packed up their belongings and headed east from the San Francisco Bay area in 1992. Bernie had developed a successful electronic billing software company for the healthcare industry. With that success came the freedom to live wherever they wanted. He and Holly chose Asheville, NC, for its majestic mountains, numerous outdoor enticements, nearness to their children’s grandparents, and a then-burgeoning progressive, health-forward lifestyle. “We fell in love with the area,” says Bernie. “It was a lot different in 1992 than it is today, of course, not as much development, certainly not as many people. And we still love Asheville, and have our primary home there. But in 2006, Holly and I started looking for a mountain property that was away from Asheville proper, to give us more of a secluded, wild setting that was still within easy reach of the city. And we were picky, which made it a challenge.” Bernie and Holly eventually found exactly what they were looking for at The Preserve at Little Pine—located just outside of Marshall, NC, just a short drive from Asheville.

Big Dreams at Little Pine

Little Pine had everything Bernie and Holly were looking for. It was a conservation community with elevation in excess of 4,000 feet, and yet it was just a short drive to their other home in Asheville. “When we saw Little Pine,” says Bernie, “we knew this was the place. I couldn’t believe you could get 4,000-foot views so close to Asheville. That was like discovering gold for us. And Little Pine is a true conservation community, with large tracts of land protected from future development—unlike some of these communities that protect a handful of acres and call themselves a conservation community. Little Pine is different, they are truly committed to preserving this land and keeping it in its pristine state.” The Arghiere’s built their new home atop Grassland Mountain meadows, which boasts some of the most incredible views in all the region. When the sun is out and the air is clear, one can see Max Patch from the Mountain Lodge at Little Pine, as well as Cold Mountain, Mount Pisgah, the Black Mountains, Mount Mitchell (the tallest peak east of the Mississippi River), and Mount Sterling, which is on the eastern edge of the Great Smokies. “The views up here never get old,” says Bernie. “The other thing I love about Little Pine, that is also rare, is the bald, rolling hills up on Grassland Mountain and its meadows. There just aren’t a lot of bald mountain tops around—and to have one above 4,000 feet, in a private community, is kind of unheard of, at least to me, and trust me, I’ve looked.”

Preserving the Sky, as well as the Land

Jack Fisher, the Founder and Developer at Preserve Communities (which includes The Preserve at Little Pine and French Broad Crossing), is not some outside developer who has come in to build as much product as possible. He is from this area and is committed to responsible development—that means low density with minimal impact on the environment. In fact, his goal is to preserve the land.

“I was born in Marshall, North Carolina. These mountains mean something to me. They’re a part of me. My vision for Preserve Communities is to protect this one-of-a-kind setting in Western North Carolina for individuals who cherish this land as much as I do—and who want to safeguard these mountains, streams, and valleys to ensure a living legacy for our children’s children.”

— Jack Fisher, Founder & Developer, Preserve Communities

Actions speak these days, and Fisher has placed nearly 1,500 acres of the 2,000 acres at Little Pine in conservation with the Southeast Regional Land Conservancy—primarily the steep slopes and watershed areas that are so critical to the natural flora and fauna indigenous to this region of the Blue Ridge Mountains. In addition to the land, streams, forest, and wildlife, Preserve Communities is committed to conservation in a larger sense, that even includes the sky. Yes, the sky. As in dark skies. At Little Pine, you won’t find exterior lighting, or even street lights. That is by design. The intention is to preserve the integrity of the night sky, which in the mountains, far from town, is quite dark, as nature intended. What you will find, however, is the state-of-the-art Grassland Mountain Observatory—a private observatory (owned and operated by the Astronomy Club of Asheville) well above 4,000 feet that features a high-powered Meade LX200R 16-inch f/10 Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope—with a computer-controlled Paramount ME mount on a permanent pier. This makes for some extraordinary viewing—of planets, stars, galaxies, and more.

“On a clear night you can see the bands of the Milk Way,” says Bernie, “and certain stars and constellations you won’t be able to see closer to cities. You can’t see them in Asheville, for instance. I know because I’ve lived there for decades. But out here, you can. And we’re just 19 miles down the road, yet the experience is totally different. That’s pretty amazing.”

— Bernie Arghiere, Little Pine homeowner

Wilderness with Infrastructure

Like it does for others, Little Pine gives Bernie and Holly the best of both worlds: immersion in a nature preserve, with a host of onsite amenities, and easy access to the thriving, dynamic city of Asheville just down the interstate. “Little Pine is the perfect place for people like us,” says Bernie. “Families that don’t want golf or the ‘clubby’ vibe. This is more down-to-earth and rooted in nature. There is a diversity of native wildflowers, trees, and wildlife up here. Spring and summer are fertile, spectacular seasons at Little Pine. Delicious, wild morel mushrooms can be found here in abundance growing under the native white ash trees. We also have white-tailed deer, black bears, bobcats, barred owls, the occasional red-headed woodpeckers, scarlet tanagers, indigo buntings, and ruffed grouse. I’ve even spotted a bald eagle in the fall. On top of that, there are plenty of nature-based amenities at Preserve Communities—at French Broad Crossing and Little Pine—that families have access to. It’s rare to find places like this in today’s world, places that are preserved and vital and thriving in their natural state. And the fact that they are so rare makes them all the more special.”

Learn More about Preserve Communities

To see these properties is to fall in love. The expansive views, the French Broad River, the majestic Blue Ridge Mountains, the towering ridgelines, the freedom to live life on your own terms…it’s all here. It’s waiting for those who feel the pull of this mountain paradise. To find out if one of our communities is the home you’ve been longing for, please contact our Sales Office at sales@preservecommunities.com, or call us at 866-947-9629.