Call of the Valley: Jason Land's journey to Black Mountain and real estate
At the outset, Jason Land wasn’t overly conscious of a trajectory that would eventually lead him to Black Mountain and its “idyllic slice of Americana.” Growing up on in a mill town in the suburbs of Charlotte, he wasn’t even aware of this locale. But the more he thought about it, the more he began to sense a thread to his entire journey. He began by hearkening back to elementary school.
“I recall when the teacher asked what we wanted to be when we grew up, I initially wanted to be a chemist," Land said. "I envisioned mixing chemicals and having an explosion. At the time I was watching a show called 'Mister Wizard’s World' and some of his experiments were chemistry related. This aspiration lasted until I discovered in junior high I wasn’t any good at math. But I still wanted to mix things and make something happen so I segued to being a chef. Mixing ingredients and coming up with a new product.”
That prospect waned when, as a teenager, he worked the deep-fry grill at a nearby drive-in. However, at the same time he was called upon to come up with creative solutions to fix outdated projectors and the like so the drive-in could remain operative during the weekends.
And so Land began to think of himself as a tinkerer who loved the challenge as other creative outlets appealed to him. The writings of the humorist Louis Grizzard and his weekly newspaper column doing takeoffs on his fellow Southerners struck his fancy. And so did hanging around the newsroom of the daily paper doing various odd jobs and being in the know ahead of everybody else.
Moving on to UNC Charlotte, by 1992 he switched to broadcast journalism and the Carolina School of Broadcasting. His first professional gig was at the CBS TV affiliate as a cameraman. And here is where challenges plus a requisite rush of adrenalin became a fixture. Over the years he went from a behind the scene Jack of all trades in live broadcast news (including Carolina Panthers games) to the chief engineer for a major hospital telemedicine network. Through the advent of new technologies, he experienced the rush of transmitting actual surgical procedures around the world.
During this period, always open to the next venture, Black Mountain came into the picture. As it happens, Land and his partner decided to take a daytrip to Asheville. Needing a break after reaching the crest on the interstate, they came upon the sign and then the Sourwood Festival by the train tracks in full swing.
“We sauntered around, were taken with Cherry Street, the quaint shops and the Veranda Restaurant, and before we knew it had spent the entire day here and never made it to Asheville," Land said. "Driving back home I said, Wouldn’t it be great to have a place here to come back to? Lots of energy, lots of things going on. So, soon after, my partner did some research and hooked up with the realtor Dawn Wilson. And that initiated our relationship and friendship. We came up on weekends and after almost a year, she found the perfect property we’re living in now.”
Around 2020, Land left his corporate job and found that selfsame adrenalin rush in buying investment properties here and there. He obtained a real estate license in order to better understand the dynamics and was taken with “the autonomy of being an entrepreneur” as elements “mixed, changed and new challenges presented themselves.” Once again a “fixer” with each never-ending transaction. Finally out of the office into the fresh air of this place with its incomparable natural setting.
"The thread then turns out to be a guarantee of an ebb and flow and things to overcome," Land said. "If there’s a problem, I want to come up with the best solution. I recently purchased the venerable Dawn Wilson Realty as the broker in charge, helping people with the process. Ensconced in a special community where you meet your neighbors, whose voices are heard in civic matters — all told a quintessential Norman Rockwell-ish rendition of what a small town should be.”