In the Cooking Studio. From left: Chocolate Making Instructor Robert Reeb, Governor Beverly Perdue, and Jan Davidson

Today, Governor Beverly Perdue came to Cherokee County. In downtown Murphy, she visited the Cherokee County Court House and The Cherokee Scout newspaper, and then it was on to Brasstown.

The Governor asked me to ride with her so we got a chance to talk about the Folk School. I told her how we contribute to the local economy, providing income for our staff, 650 instructors, and hundreds of craftspeople in the shop and the Fall Festival. I wanted her to know that we are teaching people skills that add value to raw materials and create home businesses. I wanted her to know about our local involvement, our young folks’ programs, our free concerts, dance community, and our plans for a “greener” Folk School. I had an opportunity also to say thanks for the North Carolina Arts Council, which is a great supporter of our programs.

By the time we reached the Folk School, I had offered the Governor several options. Decisively, she chose to go straight to the chocolate class, where Robert Reeb and Chris Carroll and a roomful of students from all over the country were dipping coconut macaroons in dark ganache.

The macaroons were really good, and the Governor ordered all the troopers to try some. Everybody tried some and nobody wanted to leave.

The party proceeded to the Clay Spencer Blacksmith Shop, in only its second week of operation, where Tom McElfresh demonstrated for Governor Perdue a forge weld on a basket-handled poker. As we left the blacksmith shop, the Governor jumped almost into Brendle Branch to pick some forget-me-nots and to select a flat rock for her collection of rocks from cool places in North Carolina.

Resident potter Mike Lalone gave her a bowl which she likes very much, and we fixed her up with “the Full Folk School” with caps, tshirts, DVD, CD, apron and a jar of Folk School Sourwood Honey.

I found out afterward that the Cherokee County Chamber of Commerce gave her a jar of honey, too.

Then I found out she’s a beekeeper and put up 170 pounds this year. So The Governor’s got honey.

According to the Cherokee Scout, the last time a sitting governor came to Cherokee County was when Governor Jim Hunt landed his helicopter on the Folk School maypole field, and dedicated the Folk School’s new classroom building. It is now Davidson Hall, home of the chocolatiers.

Governor Perdue wore a white jacket that remained spotless through ganache, forging, flower picking, rock collecting and hugging chocolate makers and blacksmiths. It was a quick, but pleasant visit with someone who would be fun to have as a classmate at the Folk School. She’s hoping to take a weekend class, maybe in pottery.

Blacksmithing Instructor Tom McElfresh demonstrates a forge weld for Governor Perdue

Gathering forget-me-nots and rocks from Brendle Branch

Governor Perdue and Jan in front of the Francis Whitaker Blacksmith Shop

Governor Beverly Perdue at left visits Robert Reeb's chocolate making class.