"We know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose." (Romans 8:28)

Monday, May 30, 2011

Exploring the Crooked Road

A place of beauty - a place of song. Come with us on this scenic driving trail through communities that are the roots of Old Time Mountain Music, Bluegrass, and Country. 
Even the graffiti under the bridge on this hiking trail hints of the importance of music around here.
 A litte more info about the area's musical roots.
 Our journey starts at Meadows of Dan, a community a little southwest of Mabry's Mill.

 Next to the visitor's center, these hand-made mountain stringed instruments are on display.

 I remember someone playing one of these at a jam session on the Blue Ridge a few years ago, and wondered what it was.
There's a lot to see and do in this little town. We stopped in the Poor Farmers Market.
 With it's colorful display of fruits and vegetables, some of it locally grown.
 What General Store is complete without a candy counter?
 And a few odd things...
 I think this guy could use some of that "Bear in the Woods."
 Oh, look. A broom for short people. (I'm a short person) And, on the right, brooms for those even shorter than me.
Nancy was real excited to find this candy factory. She strutted in like she owned the place.

 Checking out the fudge and chocolates.
 Fashion show.

We ate lunch at Two by Two BBQ, where they served up a pork sandwich with their own special version of Carolina Slaw. 'Twas good.
Next to the van in the parking lot, this Killdeer was loudly defending her nest. If you look carefully, you can see her clutch of 3 eggs in the lower left corner of the picture.
Up close. Fortunately, for her, the nest was just under the fence, because cars come and go there all day long. 
 After lunch, she was sitting on her eggs, and we carefully avoided upsetting her again.
 Behind the restaurant...out in those meadows, there was a festival going on.
 With different groups providing musical entertainment all day long.
This machine/engine show reminded me of the antique tractor shows I went to as a kid in VT. Each antique engine has been lovingly restored and maintained by their owners.
Ice cream machine
 A kerosene tractor
 Circa 1930 Caterpillar 

 We didn't leave without thinking of the fur kids.
Our next stop was the old town of Mayberry, once home to Andy Griffith's mother, and where they got the name for the TV show town. Unlike Mt. Airy, Mayberry hasn't grown into a metropolis of big box stores.
The Mayberry Presbyterian Church was founded in the early 1920s.
The Mayberry Trading Post was built in 1892 and originally housed the Mayberry Post Office and a general store. The General Store is still operating today.
 Inside the store
 Nan found her a T-shirt
 Local crafts on display
 Gas is coming down around here, but it's tricky getting to the pump sometimes.
 On down the Crooked Road we come to Lovers Leap with its breathtaking view. Of course there's a legend about it....do you want to hear it? It goes like most legends: In the 1600s, the son of a white settler fell in love with the Indian Chief's daughter. They were threatened and shunned. So with  the beautiful mountains and flowers as their backdrop, they jumped into the wild blue yonder ensuring they would be together forever...You can still hear them whisper in the cool evening breezes. That's the short version.
The town of Woolwine boasts two of only five publicly owned covered bridges in Virginia. The 48' Jacks Creek Covered Bridge was built of oak in 1914.

Both covered bridges cross the Smith River.
The 80' Bob White Covered Bridge was built in 1921.
It was built with a rare "Queen Post Truss" construction, whatever that is.
Nan was walking toward the light at the end of the tunnel. She suddenly let out a cry and came two-stepping back toward me. Why?
The brochure says that "Floyd is a "state of mind." I guess we'll never know why the name was changed from Jacksonville.
 We visited Floyd 3 times. The first time was to just have a look around. 
 A town that evokes childhood memories of things like soda fountains in the drug store. Only problem was, while the sign was still there, a woodworking artisan sold furniture there now.
 The hardware store was real though, and was fun to look through.
 Lots of stuff in there.
 The old stove looked original.
 Floyd is full of art studios, specialty shops, and restaurants, but is especially known for its music venues with live mountain music and bluegrass performances daily in the stores or in the streets.
 A sign sure to catch your attention.
 THe Floyd Country store is a gathering place for musicians, dancers, and visitors.
 A place where loitering is not only allowed, but encouraged.
At the Friday Night Jamboree there will be standing room only, but today there's plenty of room for Nan to practice her dance steps.
 A local delicacy served with tongue-in-cheek.

 Of course you already knew this.

 Our second trip to Floyd was to visit the laundromat and local grocery store. It was a chance to meet some of the charming local people. "Are you almost finished with that dryer?"
 Slaughter's Market was recommended to us because they sell local produce and cut their own meat. They were having a special on chicken feet. I wonder how you prepare chicken feet? Nan offered to cook them if I'd eat them. What a deal!
 When's the last time anybody gave you Green Stamps?
 We missed the Friday Night Jamboree because of a heavy thunderstorm. I didn't want to drive in it. And we were too late for the Saturday music festival after our tour of the Crooked Road. All that was left were these street musicians. It was pretty unique to have live musical entertainment while using the restroom though.
Tomorrow we bid good-bye to Rocky Knob and Floyd County. Off to explore another part of the Blue Ridge. Tune in again for upcoming episodes.