"Climb the Mountains and get their good tidings. Nature's peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop like autumn leaves."
~ John Muir

About Us

Thistledown on Yellow Mountain is a beautiful twenty two acre retreat site that is nestled in the Southern Appalachian Highlands. It is located on the side of Big Yellow Mountain off 19E in Minneapolis North Carolina between Spruce Pine and Elk Park. The exceptional views and the peace filled woodland forest and grassy meadows provide a chance for guests to reconnect with nature. Guests may come as a retreat to get away from the daily stress of life or may come to take classes or gather with friends. Thistledown is open to individuals or groups. It is a great meeting site for small boards, support groups, study groups, small group celebrations or individuals who want to be away from daily distractions.

There are 7 sleeping rooms for guests providing 12 individual beds. There are 3 large deck areas and a large gathering room with two sitting areas and a large dining table. Meals are served family style on the deck overlooking the mountains, if weather permits, or in the gathering room on cool, rainy days. A campfire circle provides an area to sit around a fire and star gaze. A small mediation garden provides a perfect place to sit and enjoy the wildlife. The center offers art classes in a small nurturing environment. Two studios are available for classes in stained glass and wood turning. Healing touch is also offered on site to promote self healing and relaxation.

Nearby areas of interest include: Grandfather Mountain, Beech Mountain, Sugar Mountain, Linville Falls, Linville Caverns, Blue Ridge Parkway, Appalachian Trail, Roan Mountain, Mast General Store, The Blowing Rock, Banner Elk Winery, Linville Falls Winery, Roan Mountain State Park, Penland School of Arts, Crossnore School and Ben Long Fresco, Elk River Falls and Trosley Farm

Lees McRae College and Appalachian State University are also located nearby.


TheThistledown Story
In the late 1980’s, we took our children to Camp Celo near Burnsville, NC. Upon picking up the children from camp, we would marvel at how they had been transformed by spending time in nature in an environment that was non-competitive and invited them to discover their creative talents. It was after several summers of experiencing this that we began the dream of creating a similar environment where adults could come to commune with nature, discover new talents and renew their spirit. Beginning in the early 1990’s, we began buying small parcels of land on the site where Thistledown now resides. As a family, we enjoyed many fun camping trips on this land over the years.

In the summer of 2007, we began building our dream. Over the next four years, numerous mountain folks, who have become like family,  put their handprint on creating Thistledown. During this time, family and friends also gathered with us at Thistledown  to infuse it with a spirit of joy and love. In 2010, we sold our home of 28 years in Charlotte, North Carolina and moved to Thistledown full time in order to finish building. Thistledown officially opened for business in July 2011.

The name Thistledown came from the thistle plant which is indigenous to the area and seen on the property. The thistle is a hardy plant that is very resilient and strong. While the thistle can be quite prickly, the down of the thistle is light and care free. Thistledown is the soft feathery material that protects the fruiting part of the thistle and safely carries the seeds to new life. It is our hope that Thistledown on Yellow Mountain will provide a soft nurturing place where folks can come to develop new talents, and be free to discover a new spirit that rejuvenates their soul.

About the Masters

Tom grew up in northern Ohio in the small town of Medina. He spent much of his formative years working with his family on a farm. There he began his love for being with nature and working with his hands. His formal education was from Eastern Illinois University where he received degrees in Zoology, Chemistry and German. He continued his education at Loyola University in Chicago where he completed his doctorate in physiology. He worked for 38 years with Carolinas Healthcare System in Charlotte as the director of cardiovascular research retiring in 2009. His love for working with his hands continued to develop as he explored the arts in stained glass, wood turning, weaving and pottery while attending classes at John C Campbell and  in the Charlotte area. He has been an active member in the Woodturning club in the Charlotte area and continues to enjoy spending time in his studios.

Sara grew up in eastern Tennessee in Kingsport. She spent much of her childhood outdoors, camping and hiking with her family. Her formal education was at Clemson University where she received her BS in Nursing. She later continued her education at UNCC where she completed her MSN in Community Health Nursing. She worked in nursing and nursing education with Carolinas Healthcare System for 32 years before retiring in 2010. She is a Healing Touch Certified Practitioner who provides Healing Touch for those seeking optimum health and wellness. Her passion for caring for others and her love for nature provide her with a gift of serving. She enjoys quilting, knitting, hiking and working in her garden. She also hopes to start some weaving projects soon.

Tom and Sara have been married for 33 years and have 5 children, 3 grandchildren and 1 schnauzer with whom they love spending time. They love living on the mountain and enjoy sharing it with others.

Contact Information: 828-733-2573  Email: Sara.masters@att.net  

5 Responses to About Us

  • Albert & Mary Acierno says:

    We are getting excited about our up coming visit to the Thistledown. All of us are looking forward to a very relaxing time.

  • Laura says:

    Thank you for putting out your snow pictures!

  • Brenda Harrison says:

    I grew up in Minneapolis and didn’t even know your beautiful place existed! I don’t get back up there very often, but would love to be on your email list just to learn more about it.

    • sara says:

      We can definitely keep your information and try to let you know what is happening on the mountain. We do have a facebook page too. Check us out if you are on that site! Come visit anytime!

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