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Changes at Our Shop

There have been some changes at our shop recently. We’ve trimmed down the store at 3 North Main Street to focus on books, cards, posters, and prints and we have moved our line of local gift items up to The Shops at the Senator’s House.

Porch of The Senator’s House
photo by Kathy Murphy

The Senator’s House, located across from the Alleghany Inn, now holds Kathy’s Kreations Bakery and The Parlor Ice Cream shop, as well as many art and crafts. (Check out some of Kathy Murphy’s beautiful baking on her facebook page.)

The house was built by Eugene Transou, who was a State Senator from Laurel Springs, first in 1917, a representative in 1929, a county commissioner in 1923 and a senator again in the forties. He built the house in town, so his wife, Laura Cheek Transou,  wouldn’t have to stay alone on the farm when he was in Raleigh. It’s a charming historic home, where visitors to our community can spend time snacking or relaxing. And with the large grounds, many rooms and catering options, folks can host private parties.

We love that Kathy has it open now, and we’re happy to be a part of the new chapter in the house’s story. Be sure to stop by The Shops at the Senator’s House the next time you’re in Sparta, and take a look at our updated and renovated website,

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BookFest – Downtown Sparta – June 29

Be sure to come to town Saturday, June 29!

From 3 to 5 in the afternoon, regional authors will be appearing for book signings at downtown shops. Preceding the event, from 2 to 3, Becca’s Backwoods will host a Young Writers’ Workshop.

At 5:30, Friends of the Alleghany Public Library will hold a reception at the library.

BookFest details will be added here and on the BookFest facebook page.

Books are great gifts (and re-gifts!), especially those that feature our region’s rich history, art and culture!

Libby Bagby
Lucky’s Plott
Sparta United Methodist Women
Faith, Food, and Fellowship
Books N Friends:
Kay Bodeen
Pat Crisp, Like a Moth to the Flame
Karen Hall
Building the Blue Ridge Parkway
Elva Sieg
Celebrating the Underdog by Tom Sieg
Mangum Cater Pottery on Main:
Ginger B. Collins
Writer & Reader
Doug Butler
After Appomattox: NC Civil War Monuments
Jeff Halsey
Star Route Books
Suzanne Mellow-Irwin
and illustrator Zach Hamm

The Stratford Oaks Tales
Touch of Grace:
JoAn Stout
My Shepherd My Savior
Off to See NC
Twelve Gifts of Christmas
Sam Williams
By This Christmas Moon
Garden Snippets
Wanda Wingler
Only Mary
Una’s Naturals & Vintage:
Jim Akers
One Soldiers Story

Come and join the fun and consider “liking” The Sparta Store for updates on other events and new releases.

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Four Brothers in Gray Available Now

The newest release from Star Route Books, Four Brothers in Gray, is now available! The book tells the story of Confederate soldiers Andy, Harrison, Calvin and Alfred Proffit. Star Route Books reprinted the book with permission from Wilkes Community College (who has copyrights to the 1975 work by Mary Alice Hancock.)

In it, Ms. Hancock tells about the Proffit family of Wilkes County, North Carolina, and the four sons of William and Mary Proffit that left home to fight for the South in the Great Rebellion. She uses the boys’ own words- excerpts taken from over 100 letters sent home to Lewis Fork by the boys and their cousins to trace their paths through the war.

Mary Alice Hancock began writing articles for magazines including the Saturday Evening Post, Sports Illustrated, American Legion Magazine, Progressive Farmer, Catholic Digest and VFW magazine. She wrote two fictional children’s books, Menace on the Mountain in 1968 which was eventually made into a two-part, television episode of The Wonderful World of Disney. Her second book, in 1969, was a non-fiction novel called Thundering Prairie about the Oklahoma Land Rush.

In addition to the narrative, transcriptions of 100+ of the brothers’ letters, which inspired Ms. Hancock, are included. Like other titles in the Star Route history series, Four Brothers in Gray includes contemporary photographs, drawings, illustrations and and period maps obtained from the National Archives, the Library of Congress, Virginia Military Institute, Harpers Pictorial History and many other resources.

Also included is family information, describing the relationships of the brothers, their cousins and in-laws, who are frequently mentioned in their letters. Their letters reveal the excitement of battle, the loneliness at the front, thoughts of home and their concern for family and nation.

The 320-page, black and white, softcover book, 7.44″ x 9.68″ (Crown Quarto size), is currently available at The Sparta Store in Sparta, N.C., and online at for $32, + tax and shipping. For more information on wholesale pricing, please contact Claire.

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New Projects at Star Route Books!

We’ve got some exciting book projects planned at Star Route. Here are summaries of what’s coming:

The cover of Paths and Passages

Paths and Passages, Navigating the Blue Ridge: Available now. Photographs of the Blue Ridge Mountains in northwestern North Carolina. Scenes of the New River and the Blue Ridge Parkway in Ashe and Alleghany Counties by photographer, Jeff Halsey. The latest from Star Route Books and first in a series of photographic portfolios that attempt to describe and define the mountain region.

Tea Time Recipes: Available now. The much sought-after Dirty Fingers Garden Club cookbook, originally published in 2004 and out of print for many years, is available once again! Now you can learn how to make such delicacies as Cherry-and-Cream Scones, Strawberry Pound Cake, and Lavender Blueberry Soup. 20 photos are included, in black and white and in color.

Stratford Oaks Tales, The Tale of Clyde: Available September 2012. In the follow-up to The Tale of Gretchen, Dr. Suzanne Mellow-Irwin shares the story of a young calf and how he persevered to join the herd. Zach Hamm’s delicate pencil art complements Suzanne’s inspiring message.

Sparta Presbyterian Church’s Centennial Cookbook: Available September 2013. This popular cookbook was originally printed in 2006, in celebration of the Church’s Centennial. The book is now available once again; it quickly sold out during the first printing.

Emma Jean’s Blue Ridge Almanac: Available Late 2013. Emma Jean’s Blue Ridge Almanac is written, printed, and published in Sparta, North Carolina. Featuring a calendar, community events, important phone numbers and email addresses for town and county departments, home remedies and more, it is a general resource for folks in Ashe County, NC, Alleghany County, NC and Grayson County, VA.

The Westover Manuscripts: Coming 2014. Written in the 1720s and 1730s, The Westover Manuscripts focuses on the efforts to map the border between NC and VA, as well as other surveying trips during early years of our colonization. The book was actually three books all written by Virginian William Byrd. The “Land of Eden” refers to North Carolina.

Four Brothers in Gray: Coming 2013. A collaborative project with Wilkes Community College, Four Brothers in Gray is the story of the four Proffit sons who went to fight in the Civil War, and the one who returned. The book recounts the Wilkes County family’s wartime experiences in their own words with excerpts from 126 letters.

Get more information on those projects at the Star Route Books site.

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Tea Time Recipes Available Again!

The much sought-after Dirty Fingers Garden Club cookbook, Tea Time Recipes, originally published in 2004 and out of print for many years, is available once again! Now you can learn how to make such delicacies as Cherry-and-Cream Scones, Strawberry Pound Cake, and Lavender Blueberry Soup.

The DFGC meets at (and owns) the “Meeting House” in Piney Creek. The Meeting House was originally built in 1875 for the Piney Creek Primitive Baptist Church which was established in 1825.

“Being the oldest church in the area the early church grew rapidly and exerted great influence on the lives in the community. The names of most of the early settlers and their families are recorded on its books. During the months October to January 1857-1858, the church received 86 new members.”

History of Alleghany County, 1859-1976

Tea Time Recipes from the Dirty Fingers Garden Club in Piney Creek, North Carolina.

The club hosts their celebrated English Teas at the newly-renovated structure throughout the year. The recipes in the book are the best of the best dishes from these well-loved events. For tickets, contact Sara McMillan, Glenna Gambill or anyone in the Dirty Fingers Garden Club! Groups are welcome.

Proceeds from the book go to the Dirty Fingers Garden Club, a member of the Garden Club of North Carolina, for their many community projects and events.

The recipe book is available from The Sparta Store, both online and in the shop at 3 North Main in Sparta.

Got a great cookbook idea for your organization? Contact Imaging Specialists, today!