Dovecote Garden and Books, Cashiers, NC

Jun 12, 2015

BACKROADS BOOKSTORES, literary ramblings from sea to shining sea.

The official population of Cashiers North Carolina in 2010 was 157, in 2014 it was listed at 79. I don’t believe it for a minute. I’ve seen more people than that at the farmers market. Another site lists the full time population at nearly 2000 which swells in the summer to 10,000 – 15,000 people. That seasonal flux is typical. Who wouldn’t want to come to the mountains to escape the summer heat? The confusion over exact population for full time residents probably rests in the fact that Cashiers is a ‘census designated place and unincorporated village.’  Nobody agrees about what should be included in ‘the place’ but everybody agrees that it is a wonderful place to be. The elevation atop the highest plateau in the Blue Ridge Mountains is 3,487 feet above sea level. The temperature is usually about 20 degrees cooler than anywhere else in the southeastern United States.

I spend a good amount of time in Cashiers which sits proudly at the crossroads of U.S. Route 64 and North Carolina Highway 107. It is a world away from chaos. U.S Route 64 stretches from Whale Bone Junction, North Carolina to Teec Nos Pos, Arizona. I’ve found several Backroads Bookstores in communities along the western mountains section of Route 64: Hendersonville, Brevard, Highlands, and Franklin. And it is just a short detour to Tryon, Sylva and Waynesville, each sporting a vital bookshop.

Tiny and Wonderful

Tiny and Wonderful

Mary Palmer Dargan in Dovecote

Mary Palmer Dargan in Dovecote

Just across from the Cornucopia Restaurant you will ramble into the absolutely delightful Dovecote Porch and Garden Shop. This is the home base for landscape architects Hugh and Mary Palmer Dargan. Attached to their business is, far and away, the tiniest bookshop I rambled across in the mountains. Dovecote is an adventure that shouldn’t be missed. You might find just the garden book that you are looking for or one didn’t know you existed. Their selection is highly personal and top quality.

But you are certain to be swept up into the life of the Dargans who lead many garden talk salons where you may learn to make bitters or create fairy gardens. Even more, the Dargans might allow you to pick fresh greens from their garden or take you out back to show you the fresh bear tracks.


No shop pets? No problem. Mary Palmer dashed to the office to get a stuffed white squirrel, placed it on the bookshelf and declared it the shop pet. Why did she have such a thing? It should be noted that when Mary Palmer discovered her favorite squirrel “sparky” the victim of a car, she stopped traffic, gathered him up, and hurried the fluffy corpse off to the taxidermist to commemorate the little fellow. Only to find the next week, that the real Sparky was still alive and jumping in the back yard garden. The identity of the imposter remains a mystery.

The 'Not Sparky' Shop Pet

The ‘Not Sparky’ Shop Pet

The Dargans are also the authors of Lifelong Landscape Design and Timeless Landscape Design: The Four-Part Master Plan.


Dovecote Porch and Garden

35 Flash Point Drive

Cashiers, NC 28717