The Transylvania Times -

Magazine Highlights Local Landmarks – Transylvania County, NC


September 2, 2019

Three Transylvania landmarks and families are featured in the September issue of Our State magazine, including the old Shuford Farm barn on Everett Road, now owned by Clay Sykes and family, the Pisgah Fish Camp and the Hawkins family, and Headwaters Outfitters and the Whitmire family.

The magazine’s September issue is dedicated to the “enduring legacy of North Carolina’s beloved barns.” The issue’s cover story by Mark Kemp features Sykes’s newly renovated barn. The story delves into Sykes’s family life, his decision to move to Transylvania County and the hefty renovation of his house and barn.

“I thought the whole article was really well done,” said Sykes in a phone interview. “Everybody that I interacted with at Our State magazine was real excited about the magazine and the company…it was neat to me to hear people associated with any company speak in such glowing terms about the management and the ownership of the magazine and the long-term outlook.”

In the article, Sykes said he finally made the decision to move to Transylvania County after he lost his footing while climbing Looking Glass Rock and it led him to put his life in perspective.

Then just a few years later, Sykes and his wife, Lisa, bought the Shuford Farm property and began restoring the house and barn. They decided life away from the big city and in a community they felt connected to were important for them and their son, Jake.

Sykes is an avid outdoor adventurer, and he and Lisa felt Jake would thrive on this new property, caring for the farm animals and connecting to nature.

“It got a little bit more personal,” he said. “We originally thought the article was going to be focused on the barn, and it kind of more or less focused on our family. And that was the whole reason that we bought the farm – was to provide long term, essentially a profession, a career, for my son.”

The Sykeses are working on building a new house on their property, next to the old farmhouse where they plan for Jake (who has severe ADHD and is on the Autism spectrum) to live in once the new house is completed.


The Hawkins family has been owners of the Pisgah Fish Camp for 51 years. Fran and Dan Hawkins first opened the Pisgah Fish Camp doors in 1968, and a Hawkins family member – whether it be Fran, Dan (who have both since passed) or one of their children, Dana, Mike, Jeanne and Chris – has been serving up seafood ever since.

The article by Sheri Castle paints a portrait of a loving, dedicated and light-hearted family who take immense pride in serving the people of Brevard good food with great service.

“It’s been a lot of fun,” said Jeanne on the process of being profiled by Our State. “It was a really neat process to sort of have to reminisce and go back over our roots and beginnings. That was a lot of fun to sit down with my bothers and talk about things we hadn’t thought about in a while.”

Hawkins attributed the lasting power of her family’s restaurant to the community of Brevard and its long-term support.

“We’ve been blessed to have a local following that has kept us here for this many years,” said Jeanne.


While the Whitmire family doesn’t get a multi-page spread like the Hawkinses or the Sykeses, Our State still gave a positive shout-out to the French Broad River experts at Headwaters Outfitters and maintained the theme of multi-generational businesses in the area.

“On any given day, you might find three generations of a family launching canoes…” writes C.A. Carlson, and anyone who’s ventured into Headwaters has likely seen one of the Whitmires busy making sure visitors get the most enjoyment possible out of the French Broad River. The article also highlighted Headwaters’ efforts to engage the community on river conservation.

Recently, David Whitmire wrote a contributing article about how the Hellbender 20-Miler Canoe Race helped raise money to rehabilitate the Island Ford put-in for the French Broad.


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