I had started this year hoping to really get in some local hikes but, as they say, the best laid plans oft go astray. I did succeed in finding a fantastic local hiking group connected to the Reynolds Homestead, The Homestead Hikers, and joined them on their inaugural hike for the 2017 year – The Silverbell Trail.
Every year, just before the leaves begin to make a serious effort to start changing (we’ve got about two more weeks for that), the community of Spencer throws an annual community fair. 2017 marked the 81st annual fair. The local Ruritan Club Building opens its doors from 10 to 6, serving up huge bowls of Brunswick stew, plates loaded with fried chicken, and homemade desserts. Continue reading “Brunswick Stew – A Local Tradition”
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.
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:
We don’t go to a lot places in the evening because we have chickens. If you don’t have chickens, you probably would never think of this but just about everything else in the world wants to eat them. In order to protect them from nighttime predators, you have to lock the coop up behind them after they go in to roost. If you are a chicken owner, that means that you absolutely must be home by dark.
The Rogues were scheduled to play in a street dance fundraiser for the renovation of the Fieldale Recreation Center last Saturday evening, so we thought that we’d go catch a few songs and check out the Textile Heritage Trail. We caught the full act of the warm up group, Heart Strings, before we had to go and we had a great time.
This was one of many fundraisers to help revitalize the Fieldale Recreation Center. Fieldale is a jewel of city, well, a town, in Henry County. Like everything else here, it has struggled in the post-NAFTA economy and seems to have been all but forgotten, lost in time. This, despite the fact that there is a Smith River access within walking distance of the downtown, plus the Fieldale Walking Trail that runs along the river, the Textile Heritage Loop Trail, and a beautiful city park. It really is an incredible destination to an outsider. Fieldcrest towels were made here, once upon a time.
In a larger economy, a developer would have swooped in and claimed the small but quaint downtown area for their own. It is a small oval-shaped commercial district with early twentieth century brick storefronts, anchored now by the Fieldale Cafe and a beautifully restored Shell station that is actually an antiques store. Given the river access for kayaking and trout fishing, it would seem like an outfitter would do well here. The Virginia Home Inn consistently gets great reviews on TripAdvisor. Reviews of the Fieldale Cafe call it “the ultimate local diner” and a “hidden gem”. Obviously, Fieldale is not wholly undiscovered.
We went a little early because Mother had not yet seen the Textile Heritage Trail that is nestled next to the City Park, across the street from the Smith River. I had taken some photos of it back in 2014 but I wanted a chance to snap some more shots of it.
The trail is short, only about a quarter of a mile, but features a variety of walking surfaces. It starts and ends as a crushed rock trail, it has some bare earth lengths along the way, and there is a raised boardwalk in the middle.
Much of the trail winds. It makes for some gorgeous shots. It is almost all shaded, with dappled light changing every potential shot as clouds and leaves above shift with the breeze.
There are placards all along the trail that explain the history of the textile industry in Martinsville and Henry County, so the trail can be as educational as you want it to be. Even without the placards, it is a truly beautiful trail.
I uploaded several of my shots to Instagram and have been pleased that they have been popular there (@lifeinmhc). I couldn’t decide between two boardwalk shots and all of the filters in Instagram are just outstanding with the trail photos.
Our walk and the concert that Saturday were both fun but now I’m more anxious for fall than ever. I also want to go back to Fieldale in particular to get more shots. Fieldale Walking Trail is just across the street from this one and meanders along the river. I can just imagine shots of the Smith in the fall colors.