Sarah Wagg Dalton

IMG_5096A short conversation with Sarah Dalton quickly reveals a quick wit and an engaging personality.  She has a ready smile and exudes confidence in her ability to take on any task set before her.  It is obvious that she is someone who makes good things happen.

Sarah grew up in the Piney Creek community, the daughter of Mark and Judy Wagg.   Her father is the pastor of Pine Fork Baptist Church in Laurel Springs and is also a cattle farmer.  Sarah says that she “spent a lot of time on the farm” as a girl.  She attended Piney Creek Elementary until the family moved to Ennice.  Her mom drove her back to Piney Creek for a while before Sarah settled in to Glade Creek School.  In the 8th grade, she left public school for a home school program.

SarahDalton3The home school schedule allowed Sarah to spend more time with her parents.  While some kids would view that as something less than positive, Sarah cherishes the time with her mom and dad.  Her dad coached Sarah’s home school basketball team which was based out of Galax.  The team played against Christian and private schools with Sarah filling the role of point guard. She counts playing in a large tournament at Liberty University as a highlight of her high school career.

Sarah’s athletic skills carried over to college.  She continued to play basketball at Piedmont International University in Winston Salem during her freshman and sophomore years.

Then Sarah’s life made an interesting turn.

A young man from Pulaski, Virginia struck up a running conversation with Sarah on social media.  He was a friend of a friend and was serving in the US Army at Fort Carson near Colorado Springs, Colorado.  As their conversation continued and deepened over time, Sarah felt there may be some potential to the relationship.

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In November of 2014, Sarah flew to Colorado to visit Dustin.  As the week neared its end, Sarah found herself high atop Pikes Peak where Dustin asked for her hand in marriage.  He was anticipating a deployment to Germany in the near future.  Faced with the prospect of a long distance courtship, they married in January of 2015.

Instead of Germany, the newlyweds were assigned to Ft. Campbell, Kentucky.  Sarah continued her education through Liberty University’s online program, graduating with a degree in elementary education in 2017.

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Sarah with her parents, Mark and Judy Wagg

As Dustin neared the end of his military enlistment in 2016, the young couple considered where they wanted to live.  As bad as Sarah wanted to return to Alleghany County, she knew she was facing an assortment of personal challenges in transitioning back home.  Since she was home schooled through high school, she didn’t have a network of classmates to help her find a job.  Complicating that further was that she was coming back with a new last name.  It true rural fashion she often introduces herself in relation to her family members.  Her older sister, Stacey Presnell works for the Alleghany County Department of Social Service.  Sarah said with a laugh that, “When I tell people who my sister is they warm up to me pretty quickly.  Everyone seems to know her!”

Sarah began a part-time job with the Alleghany County Chamber of Commerce in November of 2016.  Three months later, she also assumed the role of director with the Sparta Revitalization Committee.  The two jobs put her in the middle of many business and community support activities.  She quickly found that there are a number of local organizations doing similar work.  Establishing communication across those organizational boundaries is a key part of Sarah’s responsibilities.

For those not familiar with basketball, the point guard is the team’s primary ball handler and the player who puts the plays in motion.  On successful teams, this player is fully synced with the coach and becomes extension of the coach on the court.  The truly successful point guards often describe having an intuitive sense of where all the players are at on the court.  Most importantly, they know where those players will be and how to set those players up to score.

Sarah Dalton’s life is characterized by this point guard mentality.  She adjusted to being home schooled and developed a group of life-long friends playing basketball. Her trip to Colorado to explore whether a budding relationship had legs may seem impulsive to some, but her family had been praying for a man to come into her life that would be a good mate.  When marriage took her out of the county, she continued her education online.

This leads to a question we must consider about Sarah and other young Alleghany County residents.  Are we willing to give them the ball and then trust them to make the plays that lead to us having a healthy, thriving community?absolutelyalleghanylogosm

 

Zach Barricklow – The Versado Foundation

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The Boston Marathon

Zach Barricklow is a runner.  The word “runner” is a bit if an understatement.  “Distance runner” is a more accurate descriptor.  He has competed in the Grandfather Mountain Marathon, touted as one of the toughest marathons in the country.  He had a 3:04 hour time in the storied Boston Marathon in 2015.  And he is a frequent competitor in 200 mile relay races such as the Blue Ridge Relay and this year’s inaugural Get Outside Mountain Relay held here in Alleghany County.   His success on the race course is reflective of a work ethic that began in his teenage years.

As a 16 year-old, Zach began mowing lawns in his hometown of Brooklyn, Michigan.  His customers grew from 10 in 1999 to 120 in 2005.  To meet this growing demand for services, he employed many of his friends.  The business revenue grew from $5,700 the first year to almost $60,000 six years later.  The success of his business earned an award for Young Entrepreneur of Michigan and paid Zach’s way through college.

During his college years, Zach expanded his service orientation through jobs with the AmeriCorps in Southern California, a Spanish language tutoring program in Michigan, and Habitat for Humanity International in Mexico.  After graduating from Hope College in 2005, Zach became a Peace Corp volunteer.  The Peace Corp challenges their volunteers to “Make the Most of Your World” and Zach set out to do just that in the Republic of Panama.

During his five years in Panama, Zach responsibilities grew from consultant to trainer to associate director.  While his titles and roles changed, he spent those five years on community economic development projects.  Through a network of  governmental agencies and non-profit community groups, Zach and his group helped entrepreneurs develop and grow small businesses.  All his work in rural cooperative development, eco-tourism, community mobilization and volunteer training was focused on empowering local people to develop local solutions that were sustainable over time.

One of the best things that happened during those years in Panama was Zach meeting Lauren Edwards of Sparta.  They shared common values and a desire to empower local community members to take charge of their economic and social destinies.  Zach and Lauren were married on December 29, 2007.

In 2010, Zach and Lauren returned to Sparta.  They were drawn to the close-knit community, the outdoor recreation opportunities, the rich cultural heritage, the beautiful scenery at every turn, and the ability to have a vibrant, engaging social life.  The couple plunged into Alleghany County life with Zach serving on the board of Alleghany County Community Foundation and helping co-found the Blue Ridge Developmental Day, a five-star rated daycare facility.  Lauren put her Spanish language skills to work as  Alleghany County School’s Migrant Education Program Coordinator.

The entrepreneurial spirit was still alive in Zach.  He and Lauren co-founded Barricklow Holdings a commercial property management firm with properties in Boone, Wake Forest, and North Wilkesboro.  They are also co-founders of Anytime Fitness, a 24 hour fitness facility in North Wilkesboro.

Their boldest step was partnering with Zach’s siblings to found and launch Versado Training.  In seven short years, the company has developed a global footprint.  They now have 30 full-time employees who live across the country and employ 100 contractors.  Versado recently earned national recognition as an Inc 5000 Fastest Growing Private Companies.  This places them in the 99.98 percentile of small businesses in the United States.

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Zach and Lauren receive the Inc 5000 award for having one of the top 5000 fastest growing private companies in the country

A key element of Versado’s mission is to engage in local communities.  To facilitate this vision, the Barricklows setup the Versado Foundation, the nonprofit arm of their business.  Zach has begun transitioning away from the for-profit side of Versado to spend more time with the foundation.  He is using this transitional period as a sabbatical as he begins channeling his entrepreneurial energy into the social sector.

A beneficiary of this transition is Sparta.  Zach has agreed to partner with the Chamber of Commerce and the Blue Ridge Business Development Center to develop a communication and community engagement plan for the upcoming Streetscape project.  It is his hope that this plan will have applications and usefulness long after the work on Main Street is complete.

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Zach and kids

Which brings us back to the thought of the marathon. Most of us can’t just wake up one morning and run 26.2 miles.  To prepare for a run of that length requires incremental and focused action steps.  Runners must attend to minute details and be willing to make lifestyle changes. They must be aware of their strengths and weaknesses, and have the determination to finish the race well.

Sustainable economic vitality follows a similar path.  There is no simple formula for economic growth.  It takes actionable steps by a number of people working together toward a common goal.  Zach and Lauren Barricklow are committed to helping us grow our community in a way that honors our heritage and culture while meeting the needs of the future.

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Zhen Bin “Jimmy” Li – Golden China

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Jimmy Li

Many of us have nicknames.  For some, it is simply a shortened version of a formal, given name.  Rich for Richard and Bill for William come to mind.  Others are tagged with a term of endearment given to them by a friend or family member.  For Zhen Bin Li, going with “Jimmy” is a matter of practicality in his adopted home.

Jimmy grew up in Fujian province in its capital city of Fuzhou, China.  Fuzhou is located almost due west of Taipei, Taiwan and about 400 miles northeast of Hong Kong along the coastline the East China Sea.  It is a sprawling city of 7.1 million residents with a rich cultural heritage.  Jimmy describes the area simply as “beautiful.”

Jimmy’s father emigrated from Fuzhou to New York in 1990.  He found employment in a restaurant and established legal residency.  It took him five years to settle in before sending for the rest of his family.

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When 19 year-old Jimmy arrived in New York, he spoke no English.  Like his father, he took a job in a restaurant. He took a class in English, but primarily picked up the language by practicing his skills in conversational settings

In the 1990s a family friend opened the Golden China Restaurant in Sparta Plaza.  He asked Jimmy to come to Sparta in 1998 to run the store.  Jimmy and his family have managed the business for the past 19 years.

When asked about the challenges in having a small business in Sparta, Jimmy voices many of the same concerns experienced by most local businesses: maintaining a steady, consistent stream of customers; adjusting to the seasonal fluctuations of customer traffic; and dealing with the occasional disruptions caused by weather.  In addition to these work related challenges, he is faced with trying to maintain a work/family life balance.  The store is open from 10:30 am until 9:30 pm six days each week with Tuesday as their only day off.

Jimmy’s family works alongside him in the restaurant.  His wife, Biao Yun Cai (pronounced Be-Yow Unoon), and his sister pitch in by taking customer’s orders and helping cook.  His parents also help out during peak times.  Jimmy and Biao Yun’s daughter is a 4th grader at Sparta Elementary and can often be found in the dining area of the restaurant.  Many in Sparta have seen Biao Yun zipping around Sparta on her pink scooter.

When pressed about why he has planted his family here in Sparta, Jimmy quickly runs through a list of attributes: the quiet mountain setting, good neighbors, low crime rate and a place where he fits in.  Jimmy takes the mindset of fitting in and extends it to his customers.  He has a strong base of Hispanic patrons, many of whom speak limited English.  So, Jimmy has learned basic Spanish to help his Spanish speaking customers feel welcomed.  It makes for an interesting lunch experience to hear Jimmy toggle back and forth from Chinese to English to Spanish while he juggles taking an order by phone, ringing up a customer and cooking the next dish.

When we think of international melting pots, our thoughts generally steer toward cities like New York or Los Angeles with their sprawling ethnic communities. Sparta doesn’t seem to remotely fit that category. But, a quick survey of businesses along Hwy 21 through town offers an alternative definition and viewpoint.  Manuel Rivas Alvarez of La Mexicana Restaurant is from Spain and his wife, Janet, is from Bolivia.  The Torres family of Mis Arados is from Mexico.  Ofelia Killeen hails from Peru. Gill Thadani of Gill’s Jeans and Things is from India and spent time in Hong Kong.  And Jimmy Li and family is from China.

On the surface, this international flavor challenges of stereotype of what it means to be Absolutely Alleghany.  But a closer examination reveal these business owners plug in perfectly to our community.  They bring their unique perspectives and skills, and integrate them with local residents.  Jimmy Li words may best describe this group of residents: good neighbors with a longing to fit in.

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Call in orders to Golden China can be placed at 336-372-6938.

Josh Greene – Alleghany County Maintenance Department

IMG_4965While Alleghany County government is small in comparison to most counties, the infrastructure is surprisingly expansive.  Some properties such as the courthouse, administrative building, transfer station and fairgrounds are seen by many on a daily basis while the community college, public library, social services and health department and others are a bit more off the daily traveled path.  One commonality among these scattered service providers is that the facilities have to be maintained.  That job falls to Josh Greene and his staff with the Alleghany County maintenance department.

Josh Greene grew up in Alleghany County in the Ennice community.  He graduated from Alleghany High School in 2003 where he played basketball, golf, baseball and wrestled.  An avid outdoorsman, he enjoys hunting, fishing and in his words, “everything outdoors.”

When Josh was 14, he took a part-time job with Robert Patrick of Patrick’s Heating and Cooling.  There he learned the basics of heating and air conditioning repair. Josh came to enjoy being given a problem, working to diagnose the cause of the issue, and then developing a solution.

After high school graduation, Josh gave the air conditioning, heating and refrigeration program at Surry Community College (SCC) a try.  One semester was enough.  He left SCC and went to work with Shaw Brothers Construction where he received a hands-on education in general construction, and heating and air conditioning repair.  He worked with Shaw Brothers for eight years before coming to the Alleghany County maintenance department on 2011.  In 2013, he became the department supervisor.

The maintenance of county properties is an overwhelming task.  Interior and exterior light bulbs have to be changed, leaky plumbing repaired, and rooms painted.  There are scores of trash cans to be emptied, floors to be mopped or vacuumed, and furniture to be wiped down.  The maintenance staff maintains the county’s fleet of vehicles and the heavy equipment at the transfer station.  Throughout an average day, the crew moves from building to building.  Often, they are pulled from one job to another that has a higher sense of urgency.  And when they “catch up,” they handle construction projects such as the recent shelter at Veterans Park or the new maintenance building.  Josh handles these responsibilities with three maintenance staff and two custodians.

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Josh Greene repaints the lines for parking spaces at the Alleghany County Library

One of Josh’s biggest challenges is the operation of the county’s transfer station. The station operates 12 hours a day, six days a week and is managed by two teams of two employees.  Last year, they handled 9200 tons of household trash, building materials, scrap lumber, oil, and other materials.  That is over 18 million pounds of refuse.  The county contracts to have this trash hauled to a landfill in Caldwell County for $65 per ton for an annual cost of $598,000 per year.  While the transfer station staff encourages users to recycle, Josh estimates that between 10% and 20% of the trash hauled to the landfill could be recycled.  This would save county residents upwards of $100,000 per year.

The transfer station is also one of the biggest sources of complaints for Josh and his staff.  With an average of 60,000 pounds of trash deposited each day, it is inevitable that the wind will carry some out of the receptacles.  They rely on community service workers to help with this clean up.

Another surprising area of responsibility for the maintenance staff is animal control.  They average 2-3 animal pickups per week.  They also average one dog bite investigation per week.  These are time consuming tasks that often include follow-up consultations with the local health department and law enforcement.

It sounds exhausting.

It also points to someone who is committed to their community.

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Josh, his wife Karena, and their three children are deeply rooted into the Ennice community on the family farm.  Karena works for the county tax department.  The three children are students at Sparta Elementary.  Josh coaches baseball and the family attends Living by Faith Baptist Church in nearby Independence, Virginia.

Josh, his wife, and the county maintenance staff are reflective of so many Alleghany County residents.  They go about their lives a quiet manner that can easily go unnoticed, often working two – sometimes three jobs– in order to live in Alleghany.  They provide us with services and coach our kids’ athletic teams.  They work all week, worship on Sunday and start it all again on Monday. People like Josh Greene are the bindings that hold our community together.

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Lindsay Carrier – Paramedic

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Steve and Lindsay Carrier

Lindsay Carrier of Piney Creek laughs when she describes her childhood as the daughter of Sparta Elementary teacher, Kathy Vaught.  “It was hard to get by with much,” Lindsay said recently.  “If I had a bad test score or didn’t eat my lunch, my mom knew it before I got home.”  But while some might consider those high expectations a curse, for those who fall under Lindsay’s care these days, it is definitely a blessing.

Ever the high achiever, Lindsay graduated from Alleghany High School a semester early in 1998.  After high school, she enrolled in the criminal justice program at Surry Community College (SCC).  Her criminal justice degree led to a job as a telecommunicator with the Elkin Police Department.

Telecommunicators are the lifeline between the public and emergency responders, and between those responders and those coming to their assistance.  The telecommunicators develop the ability to fill in the gaps between what a caller in distress needs and how to meet those needs.  They learn to juggle a caller on the phone, entering data into a computer, and talking on the radio with responders.  Oftentimes they handle multiple calls at once.  It is a high stress occupation that is often underappreciated.

After a stint in Elkin, Lindsay took a similar job in Iredell County and then came back home to the Alleghany County Sheriff’s Office.  She had one daughter and was pregnant with her second child.  She went into labor at 28 weeks and found herself at Hugh Chatham Hospital in Elkin.

Lindsay recalls those hours as extremely difficult.  Her daughter, Tori, was born and immediately whisked away to Brenners Children’s Hospital’s Neonatal Intensive Care unit.  Lindsay didn’t get to hold Tori after the birth and instead was simply given a telephone number to call to check on Tori’s status.  Lindsay called that number later that day.  The call was answered by a cheery nurse who identified herself as Lori.  After giving an update on Tori’s condition, Lori offered to bring some things from Breeners.  That evening Lori drove from Winston Salem to Elkin with photos of Tori and a blanket that she had been using.  Lindsay said that at that moment she and Lori clicked.  They have been best friends ever since that first visit.

After Tori’s birth, Lindsay went back to work in Iredell County as a detention officer in the county jail.  She quickly grew tired of dealing with so much negatively and found herself growing increasingly cynical.  Hoping to tap back into a greater sense of public service, she left the sheriff’s office and enrolled in the emergency medical technician (EMT) program at SCC.

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High angle rescue training

Prior to Tori’s birth, Lindsay had completed her basic emergency medical technician course and was working on the advanced level.  She dropped out of the program to focus her energy on Tori.  Now, years later, she found herself making the commute from Piney Creek to Mt. Airy each day.  Her previous EMT certification had lapsed so she had to go back through the six month basic program.  She then entered the paramedic program.

The paramedic program is 13 months of intense, stress filled training.  There is little room for error and perfection is expected of the students.  The course combines 1200 hours of classroom instruction with 700 hours of clinical work in the hospital or “ride time” in an ambulance.  This structure allows the students to take classroom theory and put it into practice in real-life situations.  Those clinical hours are closely monitored by a preceptor who constantly evaluates the students.  Those years of her mom’s close oversight and the stress inoculation from her time as a telecommuniactor made Lindsay a natural for this work.

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Surry Community College Paramedic graduates

After completing the program, Lindsay chose a job with the Yadkin County Emergency Medical Services.  She viewed the high call volume in Yadkin County as a way to quickly develop her skills.  It also gave her access to a part-time job with the Miller Ambulance Service which handles ambulatory transports.

The two jobs stretch into one long 36 hour shift which Lindsay completes twice a week.  She is quick to point out the she couldn’t have completed her education or taken this job without the assistance of her husband, Alleghany deputy Steve Carrier, or her mom.  Both daughters are involved in sports and church activities.  It takes the whole extended family to make it all work.

An obvious question in response to this hectic schedule is, “Why live here?”  It would seem to be easier to live “off the mountain” or to relocate in the county to lessen the commute.  Lindsay has a quick response to that question.  “We make those sacrifices to live in Alleghany County.  This is our home.  We wouldn’t want to live anywhere else.”

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5 Reasons You Should Attend the Alleghany County Fiddlers Convention

Looking for an enjoyable way to spend a summer afternoon and evening?  At the top of that list of possibilities should be attending the Alleghany County Fiddlers Convention. This family oriented event is scheduled for July 21st and 22nd in Sparta, North Carolina at the Alleghany County Fairgrounds.  Here are five reasons you should plan to attend:

#1 Be a part of a longstanding mountain tradition.  String music and fiddlers’ conventions are an integral part of Appalachian culture.  These gatherings give neighbors opportunities to get together to share tunes and reestablish old friendships.  Toss in some friendly competition and you have a fiddlers convention.  As you wander through the campground, you will be treated to a variety of very fine old-time and bluegrass music.  Do you play or are you a budding musician? Most jams are welcoming to newcomers.  Keep in mind there is usually informal etiquette that may vary from group to group.  General jam etiquette can be found here.

#2  This is a fundraising event.  The proceeds raised benefit our community.  This event is one of the primary fundraisers for the Sparta-Alleghany Volunteer Fire Department. Entrance fees go to help this group of dedicated volunteers keep our community safe.  Once inside the gates, the Sparta Lions Club offers delicious hamburgers and hotdogs.  And there are a host of other vendors who pour their resources back into the community.

#3  Enjoy a cool mountain evening.  While much of the south is simmering in oven-like temperatures in mid-July, Alleghany County evenings can be quite cool, averaging in the low 60s.  You may consider bring a sweatshirt or light jacket just in case!

#4  You will feel welcomed.  From the volunteer firefighter who helps you with parking to the lady serving a made to order funnel cake, you will experience a sense of belonging to our community.  In fact, this welcoming atmosphere is often given as the number one reason people return year after year.

#5  It’s fun!  The stage show gives musicians of all skill levels a chance to perform.  There is a dance area where everyone is welcome to practice their favorite steps.  If you don’t know how to dance, there are folks who are always looking for a partner and will be more than happy to lend you a hand.

The Alleghany County Fiddlers Convention is more than a music event.  Music and dance help balance culture and erase class boundaries.  This event is a place where new friendships are formed and old ones strengthened.  It has a “come as you are” air that is a unique part of mountain life.  Who would want to miss that?

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For complete information about the Alleghany County Fiddlers Convention, visit their website here.  Photos were retrieved from this site.

For information on lodging, restaurants, and other retail needs, visit the Alleghany County Chamber of Commerce’s website here or call them at 336-372-5473.

The videos were retrieved from the YouTube channel, Lovin’ Bluegrass by Carol McDuffie.  Visit her channel for more great videos.

 

Zdenko Peros – From Croatia to Alleghany County

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Zdenko and Doreen Peros

On October 12, 1973, Zdenko Peros walked away from the only life he knew.  The 17 year-old Croatian was working on a cruise ship when it docked in New York.  The crew was given a six day visa that allowed them to leave the ship and explore the city.  With only the clothes he wore, a six day visa, his passport and $40 in his pocket, Zdenko made the decision to start a new life in America.

“There was no future for me in Croatia,” he recently said from a table in his restaurant in Roaring Gap.  “Croatia was still part of communist Yugoslavia, and when I returned I was facing mandatory military enlistment.  I couldn’t bring myself to serve the communist government.”

Adriatic seaZdenko’s family has lived in the coastal village of Zaton in eastern Croatia along the Adriatic Sea for 500 years.  His great-grandfather was governor in the 1930s and was a large landowner.  After World War II, the communists took control of the region and much of his family’s property was seized then converted to state use.  This history instilled a deep distrust of communism and led to Zdenko’s decision to walk away from that ship.

Given our current state of security and policies on immigration, Zdenko’s next days are difficult to imagine.

“The next day after leaving the ship, I went to an office where a nice lady asked how she could help me.  I told her I needed papers to work.  She said, ‘You’ll need a social security card’ and issued me one.  Then I went to a restaurant and told them I needed a job.  They put me to work washing dishes.”

Washing dishes led to his promotion to salad man which led to him becoming a line cook. The chef took an interest in Zdenko and helped develop his culinary skills.  Along this time, Zdenko and Doreen were married.  While they were away on their honeymoon, he received a call from the restaurant telling him that his mentor, the lead chef, had died unexpectedly.  They asked if Zdenko and Doreen could cut their honeymoon short and return to the restaurant.  At 21, the newly married Zdenko became the head chef of a New Jersey restaurant.  He laughs as he thinks of those days.  “I had to grow up very fast.”

In 1980, after working in restaurants in New York and New Jersey with noted Italian and French chefs, Zdenko and Doreen moved south to Morehead City.  They renovated an old house and opened an Italian restaurant.  They named it Nikola’s after Zdenko’s grandfather and their oldest son.  They built up and managed the restaurant for 23 years until they grew weary of hurricanes and the always present humidity.  Doreen found a vacant restaurant for sale in Alleghany County and they drove up to take a look at the building and area.

Zdenko’s father was a game warden back in Croatia.  Zdenko grew up going out on patrol with his father. His father instilled a deep love of the outdoors, and specifically for hunting and fishing.  As they drove through Alleghany County on that first trip, they saw deer and turkeys to hunt, and streams to fish.  Zdenko told Doreen, “This is the place.”

They bought the restaurant and inn at High Meadows.  Both required much work to get the facilities ready to meet their high standards.  In 2014, to help with the hotel, the Travel Channel’s makeover show, Hotel Impossible came in to film a segment.

 

Woven throughout a conversation with Zdenko and Doreen is the topic of family.  They began their family when they were young and their sons grew up in the restaurant business.  Oldest son, Nikola, is a teacher in Iceland, and owns a restaurant and bed and breakfast.  Sons Tony and Petar are both chefs at Roaring Gap Country Club.  They all set aside Sundays and holidays to gather at the restaurant for a private family meal.  And for two months each year, Zdenko and Doreen return to Croatia where they reconnect with their extended family.

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Zdenko and Doreen’s home in Croatia

The importance of family carries over to their approach to business.  “We want to have a family atmosphere to our restaurant,” explain Doreen.  “We have nice table clothes and cloth napkins because we want our ‘family’ to feel respected and appreciated.  That can give our place a formal feel, but we welcome families with children and there is no dress code.”  She goes on to describe how regular customers sometimes go missing from their tables and are found in the kitchen with the gregarious Zdenko who is entertaining them with hunting and fishing tales, or with stories of Croatia.  She adds, “We invite everyone in our community to come have a meal and get to know us.”

When Zdenko recalls the story of him “jumping ship” in 1973, he points out that it was Columbus Day.  We celebrate that day as one of exploration and discovery.  For Zdenko Peros, that path of discovery lead from Croatia to New York City; to family and business owner; to citizenship in 1986; and ultimately to Alleghany County.  Zdenko describes settling here as finding, “a little piece of Heaven on earth.”

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More information about the High Meadows Inn and Nikola’s can be found here or by calling 336-363-2221 (Inn) or 336-363-6060 (Restaurant).

Their menu can be found on line here.

They can also be found on Facebook at High Meadows Inn and Nikolas Restaurant.

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