The name “High Cove” emerged from our earliest efforts to find land. We discovered that many of the larger parcels of land available on the market had been farms. Traditionally, farmsteads in the region were nestled in mountain coves, not perched exposed on ridges. (According to the American Heritage Dictionary, a cove is “a recess or small valley in the side of a mountain.”) As we explored the coves and ridges of different parcels of land, we decided that “High Cove” would not only be descriptive, but would capture something of the traditional settlement pattern in western North Carolina.
The High Cove logo includes an image of a cluster of seven leaves. The leaves are from a tree whose scientific name is castanea dentata, but which is more commonly known as the American Chestnut. As we were getting to know the land, we found several chestnut trees on the site. The chestnut tree was once an important part of the landscape, the forest ecosystem, and the local economy– until the blight nearly wiped them all out in the early part of the 20th century. We also learned about the efforts of the American Chestnut Foundation (http://www.acf.org) to restore the population of chestnut trees in the woodlands of the eastern U.S., including a project to reforest mining land in Appalachia.
We began to talk about incorporating the chestnut tree in our own landscaping and stewardship plans, and it occurred to us that the chestnut tree was a good symbol of our attitude toward the land. It is common for new developments to be named after features of the land that were destroyed in order to build. In contrast, we wanted to associate our community with restoration of the land and preservation of its natural beauty.
There are seven leaves in the cluster, one for each of the original members of the core group of High Cove. We also liked the fact that one of the leaves (if you look very closely) has a small bite taken out of it– probably the work of an insect. To us this little “imperfection” added to the appropriateness of the image, since it suggests the life and natural history of a real place, not some idealized and romantic version of “Nature.” It also indicates that the tree is part of an ecosystem that provides habitat for lots of creatures other than us.