This past Saturday morning was a little bookish. Mother and I trekked into Uptown Martinsville to renew a book at the local library and check out the new bookstore that opened this past week.
The Blue Ridge Regional Library has several locations and the Uptown location is on Church Street as you are heading into Uptown.
It’s a beautiful building with a lot of natural light pouring in. It also has a huge selection of large print books.
Across the street from the library is Scuffle Hill. Now a parish office for Christ Episcopal Church next door, Scuffle Hill is most notable for the numerous local business leaders who called it home over the years but it is also an impressive landmark as you enter the Uptown business district.
Next door to the library is what is called “The Grey Lady”. It is now home to Rives S. Brown Realtors.
Registered as the John Waddey Carter House, the plaque by the door reads:
This beautiful Queen Anne residence was built in 1896 by John W. Carter as a wedding present for his young bride, Miss Mary Kizzah Drewery, daughter of Dr. and Mrs. Henry M. Drewery. Referred to as the “Grey Lady”, the dwelling is a textbook example of the Queen Anne style possessing typical features of irregular composition, mixture of materials and surface use of Eastlake ornamentation. Conspicuously located on one of Martinsville’s main thoroughfares, the house was appropriate for a prominent and prosperous lawyer and his young wife.”
The new bookstore, Books and Crannies, also has a Church Street address but is actually on Broad Street, facing out towards a public parking lot. We found it quite by accident since we were looking for addresses on Church Street and only pulled into the parking lot because another car was wanting to get past us. Both selection and prices are good and it is a welcome addition to our area.
There is not a lot going on in Uptown. I rarely see many other shoppers out. We walked down to Rucker’s Antique Store, which was open, and Serendipity Coffee House, which was closed. Serendipity is another business that has a Church street address but has to be accessed from the parking lot behind the building. I went to the upstairs door in back and, although the sign said “open”, the door was locked.
Still, Uptown Martinsville is a pretty place to visit on a pretty day. There is a 50’s and 60’s flare to the signage on the buildings and there are several colorful murals throughout the district. The architecture is unique and in good shape.
We thought that we’d try to go see the old courthouse which is now the Martinsville-Henry County Heritage Center and Museum but it turns out that it is only open from 2 to 5 on Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays.
So we swung around to one business that always seems to be open, Fido’s Finds & Kittie’s Kollectibles. This is a thrift shop that benefits our local SPCA. It always seems to have some name-brand furniture for sale and lots of small odds and ends. It is a good spot for holiday items, like Christmas-themed cookie jars and animal-inspired greeting cards. They also have a decent corner of used books, rounding out our book theme for this Saturday trip.
The Uptown district really is pretty but, with the exception of the Farmer’s Market on Moss Street, it feels like a bit of a ghost town on the weekends unless there is an event going on. There are a few other businesses open on a Saturday morning and worth checking out. If you are heading that way, be sure to stop in at:
Studio 107 – Gallery and Working Artist Studios
Pieces Boutique – Women’s Clothing
JunkBabies Antique Mall & Auction Store
Ruckers Antiques Emporium & Auction House
Fido’s Finds & Kittie’s Kollectibles SPCA Thrift Store
What else is fun to visit in Uptown Martinsville on a Saturday morning?