The Key Note - A Town Blog

Ding, Dong! They are Coming for You… 

You’re stuck at home now, and there’s nowhere to hide.

You pause your Zoom call, rush to close the blinds, turn off all the lights, crouch down behind the curtains in a panic. 

*DING, DONG!* … they still know you’re there. 

You think this pandemic is scary, that it will never end, but here is something much more relentless… 


Now that I’ve got your attention, here is how to prevent a census collector from knocking on your door. 

  1. Dig that piece of mail out of the trash, fill it out, and send it back. 

But wait, what if you cannot find that piece of mail buried deep down under last night’s leftovers? 

  1. You can fill it out online! 

Yes, it truly is that simple! In just a few, easy, foolproof steps, you can make a difference in your community! By taking five minutes out of your day you can prevent hundreds of thousands of dollars from going to Charlotte or Asheville and help increase funding here to the greatest town on Earth! Help fund our emergency services, housing, school programs, and so much more. AND WAIT, there’s more! 

The census determines the size of our representation in Congress. With your help, North Carolina is likely to gain another seat, which will boost our representation at the national level. 

So please, fill out that dang form already. It really isn’t that scary. 

Our Local Business Spotlight - Taupe Gallery 

Art, history, and culture are back under the spotlight.

Lights turned off as early as March in museums and art galleries in Wilkes County during the coronavirus pandemic. For Taupe Gallery, their daily operations have now drastically changed as they wait to flip the switch back on permanently.

Taupe Gallery is the love of its purveyors Jim Lyall and Steve Key. Together for 9 years, they have explored the foothills and mountain region of North Carolina. Jim and Steve have lived in Wilkes County since childhood, and with so many talented artists living in the mountains of NC, they decided Downtown North Wilkesboro would be an exemplary spot to open their gallery. 

Taupe Gallery is an unexpected surprise nestled off 10th Street. Founded in 2010, the vignettes of clay, paintings, glass, and jewelry converge into a warm and inviting experience. When Jim and Steve decided to embark on this adventure, they wanted to open a contemporary art gallery with edgy products, just a tad away from traditional pottery and paintings.

Visitors to Taupe Gallery often comment that they have “never seen a collection of artists with their works so unique to any other gallery” as Jim and Steve take pride in having an awe-inspiring eye for finding pieces that are unconventional and special. One of Taupe’s  guidelines is to offer only handcrafted, one-of-a-kind works. Jim and Steve spend their time visiting as many artists as possible, learning how they work, and hand-picking art for their shop. Jim and Steve simply stated, “If we like it, we can sell it!”

The culmination of their quests is a varied array of hundreds of artists they meet and collaborate with to bring you the creations you seek. “While we showcase over 125 artists from all over the country, 75% of the artists are from Western NC and surrounding areas, with the other 25% from out of state.” 

Patrons have been overheard saying, "I had no idea such a wonderful gallery existed here!" "This is the kind of space you see in a big city without all the stuffiness.""I didn’t know what I wanted until Jim and Steve listened to what I had in mind." Their talents are limitless! 

These comments, and countless others, are the results of Jim and Steve making art something you talk about, touch, photograph, and experience in your home. The cold, antiseptic, stand-off, and gasp! at the price is the complete opposite attitude of Taupe Gallery. Walking in, you immediately feel the colors, textures, and comfort of stepping into the home of a friend. 

Unlike other galleries, Jim and Steve welcome you to take pictures and experience the art. They will even coordinate with you to see what piece of art you are considering, and what it will look like in your home! Jim and Steve offer a unique local experience as they will arrange to bring the art to your home to get a feel for it in your own environment. 

Taupe’s top priorities now are focusing on updating their webpage, creating a new online store, and giving their Facebook and Instagram pages a makeover through their new marketing program. 

Jim and Steve are ready to welcome the North Wilkesboro community back into the Gallery with more stories than ever, and that same familiar smile (even if it is under a mask). 

I personally am anxious to finally stand in front of a piece of art, and allow my mind to become consumed by it. And just for a moment, let all other worries subside.

Jim and Steve are currently working in the Gallery with limited hours each week and by appointment only, so make sure to call ahead before making your trip (and they unquestionably are worth the trip!). Continue to check their website at and follow their newly remodeled social media platforms @TaupeGallery for more updates! 

Thank you Jim and Steve for bringing the perspective of an artist to others. I cannot stress enough the power of art, to teach art, and to allow ourselves and our children to live with a national tradition of art, because the arts give us the tools and means for connecting and communicating about the way we see the world (yes, even in a pandemic). 

June 30, 2020

How to Celebrate Fourth of July during a Pandemic.

Fourth of July festivities are on their way this weekend and most of us have looked forward to celebrating with our friends and families for backyard barbecues, beach side fun, and Main Street parades. Unfortunately, traditions look a little different this year.

Luckily, North Wilkesboro has a day of celebrating our independence planned for you. You heard it, you do not have to be on the beach to feel like you’re celebrating the Fourth of July accordingly.

Since the Holiday falls on a Saturday, the Wilkes County Farmers Market will be open for business from 7:30am-12:00pm . Local vendors are social distancing and following extra safety measures to keep their customers safe.

Enjoy some fresh air as you are shopping locally downtown. A number of downtown businesses will be open to welcome you back, and admire their holiday-themed decor along their storefronts. American flags will be proudly displayed on light posts, with patriotic music filling the streets on 9th and C Streets .

Drive-by the Wilkesboro Avenue Bridge and witness the Town of North Wilkesboro and Wilkesboro celebrate patriotism and public servants by flying the American flag from our aerial fire trucks! We are inviting all residents to cruise-by in your cars and salute the flag 9 between the hours of 5-8:00pm . We are calling this experience a ‘miniature reverse parade’ where our trucks are stationary as viewers drive-by.

Conclude your evening with our first VIRTUAL Fourth of July CONCERT at 8:00pm! We are excited to showcase local artists Will Easter and Alex Key via the Downtown North Wilkesboro YouTube page (search: Downtown North Wilkesboro). 

Remember it may look a little different, but we hope you find joy in these innovative social-distancing events (or even a little relaxation of getting your kids out of the house). If you are attending the farmers market or shopping downtown, please kindly continue to social distance and wear a mask .

There’s still always a way to celebrate and keep special traditions alive. We have had to adjust our expectations and get creative, because when life gives you lemons—well, you know what to do with them.

Of course, this particular lemon is big (like, life-altering big)—but that only makes it more important to find happiness and comfort in small things, like celebrating what you’d normally be celebrating right now.

Happy Fourth of July!

June 26, 2020

Are you rocking this summer trend?

We’re living in a time when the latest “must-have” (legally!) accessory is a face mask. Many people are adapting to this new norm and making face masks a fashion statement, while others are opting for functionality. So, I decided to highlight this new accessory to ensure you are reppin’ the hottest summer trend around North Wilkesboro. 

  1. The Surgical Mask

The surgical mask is the most common and easiest mask to find these days. Though it is not the best mask for catching nasty air particles, it rates high on my comfortability scale. When paired with the proper scrub uniform, you can pretend you’re the new head surgeon in town.  

    2. The N95 Mask

N95-MaskThe N95 mask is the Mercedes Benz of today’s mask market. If you’re one of the lucky ones who had one of these bad-boys stored far away under your kitchen cabinet pre-corona, I bet you could sell it now for three times the original price. You’re definitely no fashionista if you’re wearing the N95, but its utmost protection should provide a fool-proof barrier against the virus. It is also comfortable and easy to wear. You might want to check it out for yourself if these features sound cool for you.

   3. The Beauty Mask

Beauty MaskWe have now arrived at my favorite mask of the bunch, the beauty mask. This mask is neither fashionable nor functional, but your skin will glow after a day with one of these slapped on your face. It is good for your skin, but it is not equipped to protect you from the virus.

   4. The Homemade Mask

These versatile masks are putting grandmas to work across the world. All jokes aside, local businesses across North Wilkesboro are working tirelessly to pump out a fashionable and functional accessory to match your personal style. Who says you can’t look great while protecting yourself and others?

Check out Under His Wings on 10th Street for custom-made masks! Men and women’s designs are available in a pattern of your choice! These 3-layer washable masks can be ordered in-person, over the phone, or through their Facebook page. Masks for Kids $6 & Adults $8. 

Fruit of the Vine on Main Street is also selling masks! These double-layered t-shirt masks are super soft! Great for those who have to wear for long hours. While you’re there, grab one of these COVID-KEYS! It is a hands free door opener and button pusher tool to prevent contact with shared surfaces, such as doors and debt keypads. Visit their Facebook page for more information.

If you’re okay with a "Plane Jane" mask, the Town of North Wilkesboro is handing out free masks at its walk-up window on Main St.

Because North Carolinians are now required to  wear a face mask in public, it sure helps to pair it with a smile underneath! I hope you and your families are staying safe, washing your hands, and have plenty of TP.

Wear, Wait, Wash,


Face Face Cover

June 26, 2020

Pause the Netflix, it’s time to plan a day in Downtown North Wilkesboro.  

1. Visit Wilkes County Farmers’ Market on a Saturday morning and Tuesday afternoon

The Wilkes County Farmers’ Market is located in the heart of downtown at the Yadkin Valley Marketplace, just across the street from the Old Train Depot on Saturdays 7:30am-noon and Tuesdays 3:30-5:30pm. Visit Wilkes County Farmers’ Market and support local vendors. Vendors in the region provide locally made and produced food, art, music, and crafts. It is truly a community gathering place and source of pride for the county. Visit Wilkes County’s oldest farmers market at 842 CBD Loop. Find them on Facebook for up to the minute details. 

2. Grab lunch at Talia’s on Main

Talia Espresso is a bistro-style coffee house featuring gourmet lattes, espresso, cappuccinos, smoothies and more delicious hot and cold beverages along with fresh homemade lunch options such as chicken salad croissants, spanikopita, quiche, fresh homemade bread, and salad dressings, as well as, seasonal options including gazpacho,strawberry summer salads and, when available,farm-to-table options from local growers. Jim and Kathy Kozak are owners and operators of Talia Espresso Main St. and Talia Espresso Drive-thru. Since 2005, the Kozaks have been pushing toward excellence in the coffee service industry as well as fresh sustainable foods. Taila’s Main Street location hours are 7am-4:30pm.

Talia’s is taking extra precautions to ensure the safety of their customers. Under Phase Two, restaurant dining rooms can open at 50% capacity, which allows for greater physical distancing within the restaurant. If you’re ready to finally leave the couch for some fresh air, Talia’s offers outside patio-dining!

3. Take an afternoon stroll or family bike ride on the Yadkin River Greenway

The Yadkin River Greenway is a linear pedestrian park and biking trail running along the river from Kerr Scott Dam and Reservoir, through the towns of Wilkesboro and North Wilkesboro, NC to Smoot Park, a distance of 10 miles. Much of the greenway is included in the Overmountain Victory Historic Trail, a U.S. National Park.The Yadkin River Greenway Council’s mission statement is to “ enhance the quality of life by ensuring the creation of riverside greenway that connects the major institutions and neighborhoods of our community. ” For more information about upcoming projects, visit here

We would love to know what your #dayindowntownNW looks like! Use the hashtag #dayindowntownNW to share your photos with us! Follow our Facebook

Walk on the Yadkin River Greenway

June 19, 2020

Bringing you the good news during hard times.

Hello North Wilkesboro! 

First, I would like to introduce myself. My name is Sierra Watson, and I am the Town of North Wilkesboro’s intern for the summer. I graduated from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte in 2018 with an undergraduate degree in Business Marketing and Innovation and a minor in American Studies. Upon completing undergrad, I applied to Appalachian State University to learn more about the public sector through pursuing a Graduate Certificate in Not-For-Profit Management. I quickly realized I had a passion for serving others, and I went on to receive my Master’s in Public Administration in May. 

As a native of Alexander County, I empathize with the hardships Western North Carolina communities are facing. Amid COVID-19, my goal is to provide the Town of North Wilkesboro with timely general information of interest, where we round up the good, surprising, and inspiring things that have happened around North Wilkesboro’s community. I’ll share these in a weekly blog to lift spirits! 

Kindness and uplifting moments are coming to light, and if you wish to hear more, please stick around. I will provide up-to-date stories about our local businesses and safe activities to engage in (other than hours of binging Netflix). I hope this blog can help us stay positive and optimistic during the challenges fate can throw our way.

No matter what you’re feeling or experiencing, I hope this blog will bring you some joy!



Sierra Watson, Intern

Sierra Watson