Memorial Day in MHC

Of the last five Memorial Day weekends in Henry County, Virginia, we’ve had rain or threat of rain on four of them.  Somehow, this has never been able to really put a dampener on the weekend – at least for us.

There are so many things to do around here on Memorial Day weekend that it would get a little ridiculous to list them.  However, there are a couple of events that are a lot of fun that you might not hear about unless you just stumble across them.

Yard Sales & The Local Flea Market on Highway 58

The first is the stretch of Highway 58 between Martinsville and Stuart that fills up with yard sales.  This is apparently one of the very best kept secrets in the area.  There are a number of individual yard and garage sales at private homes along the highway and then there is one large flea market-style sale just next door to Larry’s Variety (which is a good spot to find new and used furniture). The flea market is not promoted online that I can find and I’ve looked.  It shouldn’t be this hard to find, especially when you already know it exists.  All I can truly tell you is that it is a large area and it usually has a good attendance regardless of the weather.  The flea market rents spaces for $15 a day and I’d guess that they normally have around two acres covered with vendors. I believe that it is put together by an area Methodist Church, but I can’t find which one.  There is $1 paid parking but a lot of people park along the highway.  The driveway in and out is topped with rock and the parking itself is grass so, even with rain, mud is not really an issue. If someone local has any idea about who puts this on, please let me know.

Although we do not typically go to yard sales, I do make a point to go to this one.  There is a lot of kitsch and a lot of junk but there are also some handmade things there from time to time. I usually find at least one thing there each year.  One year I found a hand-painted pie safe for $15. Vendor turn out was down this year (70% chance of rain on Saturday and it looked fierce) but we still went and found some home-canned pickles from Moose Country Farm, a local farm that also specializes in goat milk lotion with essential oils.  Their dill pickles are delicious and their spicy pickles mean business! They sell a variety of things through their Facebook page. It did not rain on us.

Mountain Valley Brewing’s Anniversary Party

The second is a newcomer.  Memorial Day weekend happens to also mark the anniversary of Henry County’s first Craft Brewery, Mountain Valley Brewing, and 2018 was their first anniversary.  They had two bands lined up and they tapped the raspberry wheat that weekend.

Virginia Brew Hub, a Roanoke-based magazine that covers all things craft, was on hand with their drone and took the following footage over the course of the day.

It was a great day and, while we only intended to stay for a couple of beers, we ended up listening to the whole set by Faded Travelers (and buying their CD).  The video below is just a snippet to give you an idea of the feel of the band.

Mountain Valley Brewing is growing so fast.  They started out with just the tap room. Could that really have only been a year ago? Then came the pavilion.  Then the covered deck off of the tap room.  Now lawn games like corn hole are showing up and I understand that DAM Good Equipment, a Martinsville-based company making hammocks, tents, backpacks and sleeping bags, is planning on putting in a hammock garden.  They’ve already put in a couple (see the first video).  Take a look at their site too (https://www.damtough.com).  Besides their products, they are taking their own photos and not using stock images on their website. It’s fun to guess where the pictures were taken. Hoorah to DAM Good Equipment for that.

I’ve never seen a hammock garden.  Have you?

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Brewsterwalk 2017

Another summer has rolled past in southern Virginia and fall festivals have begun to seep into our calendar.  If the 2017 Brewsterwalk Craft Beer Festival can serve as an omen for our upcoming fall festivities, we are in phenomenal shape for a great pre-Christmas season. Continue reading “Brewsterwalk 2017”

Creek Bottom Brews – Galax

The leaves have been late to change this year but, like everyone else, we’ve been anxious to get out and see them anyway. We knew not to expect much last weekend so our plan was to stop at Lovers Leap Scenic Outlook in Meadows of Dan and see what the color looked like.  If it was impressive, we’d hit the Parkway.  If not, we’d drive past the Parkway to Galax and stop in at a new craft beer brewpub we’d found on the way to Damascus last time. The color at Lovers Leap was not impressive. Continue reading “Creek Bottom Brews – Galax”

Here, There, Everywhere – Beer

Neither of us remember there being craft beer festivals back in Dallas. There had to be some. Surely, right?

Here, however, we have been to four craft beer festivals in just the past couple of years.  Each one has had its pros and cons but, wow, a craft beer festival.  That’s right up there with an ice cream festival.

The BallPark Beer Festival – Hooker Field, Martinsville

We went to the first (annual) BallPark Beer Festival at Hooker Field in Martinsville in May of 2015. It was great.  They had several tents and multiple brewers in each tent. Instead of kegs, each brewer had vats of different brews iced down.  I thought that this was great because normally each brewer only brings two to four kegs. By having the bottles, they were able to have more different kinds of beers. The glasses were the size of juice glasses and one perk to standing on grass is that you could easily pour out anything you didn’t like or didn’t want.

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The Kings of Belmont played and it was a great scene. We wished that we had brought chairs to sit on the lawn and listen to the band.

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We missed it this year but that’s just because it fell off of our radar.  Next year, I’ll remember to keep an eye out for it in JULY.

Brewsterwalk – Uptown Martinsville

Then there was Brewsterwalk in October (also 2015) held in the old downtown area known as Uptown.  Brewsterwalk is kind of a play on words because there is a huge annual multi-day concert here called Roosterwalk.  It’s kind of a big deal.

Attendance was capped at 600 tickets, so it was a little bigger than the BallPark’s Beer Fest that had been capped at 400.   There were food trucks and a sitting area just to the right of the stage, so that worked really well.

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This was where we discovered Raven’s Roost Porter by Parkway Brewing.   And look at that glass! It’s a full-sized pint glass.  We love those glasses.  We also still love Raven’s Roost.  We believe that the local Food Lion (on Greensboro Road) is keeping it in stock just for us.  So we buy it.  A lot.

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We heard a couple of bands, the Chris Duarte Group and Wild Ponies, but left before the finale band, Junto, came on. The bands were awesome.  But we are a music area, right?  I guess you have to expect greatness when it comes to the music around here.

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Wild Ponies at 2015 Brewsterwalk

 

MicroFestivus Premiere Craft Beer Festival – Roanoke

We’ve actually made it to MicroFestivus twice now and we are learning how to do this properly.  For instance, this year we rented a hotel room within walking distance to the festival. How’s that for an idea?!

The first time it rained.

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Lost in Roanoke in the Rain

MicroFestivus was supposed to be held in Elmwood Park but, due to the rain, it got moved into the parking garage adjacent to Elmwood Park.  We found it.  We had our list of brewers and brews that we especially wanted to find and we set off.  Our big discovery in 2014 was Southern Tier’s Creme Brulee Stout. We do buy that occasionally when we see it in a craft beer store but it really is a little on the dessert side for a beer.

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It continued to rain.  There was a band set up on a soundstage but I honestly don’t remember them playing.  It was wet and kind of cruddy.  The beer festival was inside the garage, so you wound around the levels and that worked out really well.

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The food trucks were outside of the garage and the way to them was covered by white tents.

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Fast forward to 2016.  We missed 2015 MicroFestivus for some reason. This year, however, this year we were ready.  There are rain clouds.  The festival this year is a street festival. We have a hotel room.

We have a hotel room in Hotel Roanoke.  Let me tell you, THIS is the way to “do” downtown Roanoke.  Honestly, we will be staying here again. This is the prettiest hotel that I’ve ever seen and it has this wonderful “vibe”.  The closest that I’ve ever experienced was the Hotel Del in San Diego.  It’s old world but … almost other world.

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The festival went off without a hitch. (Which is really good because the area it was in flooded two days later).  Our discovery this year?   South Street Brewery’s Ice Cream Porter.

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Or Hardywood’s Raspberry Stout. I’m not sure.  I guess it’s going to depend on who gets their bottles out to the stores. They were both stand outs.

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It did not rain but it was hot. The festival entrance was on Campbell Avenue and ran two blocks up 1st Street to end at food trucks.  Both Kirk Avenue and Church Avenue, which cross 1st Street, were closed and had beer tents running a block to two blocks along their sidewalks.

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It was crowded but I have photos that make it look thronged and others that make it look like a Sunday afternoon church bazaar.

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Roanoke is a craft beer destination even without the festival. Check out these local breweries when you can (and these probably aren’t all of them):

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Band at Roanoke’s 2016 MicroFestivus