A Little Love for the Charles & Rose Hylton Library

I love the local Spencer Penn Center.  There’s a lot there to love but one of my favorite parts is the Charles & Rose Hylton Library.

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The Charles & Rose Hylton Library

I have a card at all of the local libraries but this one is my favorite.  I discovered Karen White’s “The Sound of Glass” here.  I also got started on Carol Miller’s Moonshine Mystery series here, reading “An Old-Fashioned Murder: A Moonshine Mystery“.

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The Charles & Rose Hylton Library

The thing to note about Carole Miller’s Moonshine Mystery series is that they are set here locally.  Moonshine is still a big thing around here but that’s another post for another time. I had just finished the first book in the series, “Murder and Moonshine“, over the weekend and decided to pop over to Spencer Penn to see if I could pick up “A Nip of Murder“, the second one in the series and the only one I have left to read. (They read fine out of order).

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The Charles & Rose Hylton Library

As I understand it, the library got its start with donations from local residents (and still actively receives a lot of donations).  That translates into a lot more Debbie Macomber novels than dusty classics which, to me, is a good thing.  (Nothing against the classics but there’s nothing wrong with exploring new novels either). These are books people have read because they wanted to rather than because they thought that they ought to, so there are a lot of good choices for fun reads.  The span of genres is pretty impressive too.

As it turned out, I got distracted by another book that’s been on my “to-read” list for awhile and completely forgot about the book that I was looking for.  “The Alice Network” is a historical novel about a female spy ring in WWI that was released this past June.

So I’ll have to wait to finish the Moonshine Murder series.  But I swear that I’ll read it next. (Full disclosure: That might not be true.  Anne Mott Davidson’s “Tough Cookie” has been flitting around my desk, under my desk, or near my desk for a week demanding to be read. )

P.S. There is usually a cart outside the door of the library with used books for sale.  I almost always browse the cart with the result that I have, at about any given time, a stack of books to read.  Paperbacks are fifty cents a piece. Hard backs are a dollar.

P.S.S. I also buy used books from Amazon with my Amazon points.  And those books will generally end up on the cart I mentioned above after I’ve read them.

P.S.S.S. There is also an adorable book store, Books & Crannies, in Uptown Martinsville that we try to visit occasionally because we want to support local businesses too and, well, it’s a bookstore.

My point is that that cart in front on the library is very active and I’m not the only reader around here that donates, buys, and checks out books on a regular basis. If you’re local, you should check it out.  And go inside and sign the visitor’s log.  You might leave with a new favorite author.

Are we friends on GoodReads?

my read shelf:
Beth's book recommendations, liked quotes, book clubs, book trivia, book lists (read shelf)

my to-read shelf:
Beth's book recommendations, liked quotes, book clubs, book trivia, book lists (to-read shelf)

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A Steam Engine in Roanoke

When we moved here in 2014, we didn’t know anything about Roanoke to speak of.  When, in 2015, there was a lot of hooplah about the return of a steam engine from Spencer, North Carolina, we didn’t know why it was a big deal and didn’t know to ask.  The news reported that people waited beside the tracks along the route, hoping to get a video, even though the time that it would pass was kept a secret. We did think that that was odd, but we were busy and weren’t paying attention.

The local hockey team is called the Rail Yard Dawgs. Up until recently, the oldest craft brewery in Roanoke was the Roanoke Railhouse.   There are ads on television for the the popular local Roanoke restaurant called  The Great 611 Steak House.  At some point, you would think that we’d start asking questions, right?  Continue reading “A Steam Engine in Roanoke”

A Jingle that Gets Stuck In Your Head

There is this jingle that plays here that gets stuck in our heads.  It’s an ad for Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, so it may be played nationally, I don’t know.  What I do know that it plays here all the time, almost as frequently as political ads in an election year.  Once it sneaks into your brain, you are lost.  You will be singing it in car and the shower.

Myrtle Beach is somewhere between four and five hours away from Henry County.  Virginia Beach is around five hours from Henry County and the Outer Banks in North Carolina are closer to six hours, so considering a trip to Myrtle Beach is not unreasonable.

We haven’t been to the beach yet but we’d like to go.  The lure of the ad is strong but it looks like it has the potential to be crowded.  Anyone have any recommendations for low volume yet still touristy spots?

 

Feeding the Fish at Bridgewater Plaza

I say so often that someplace is “about an hour away” from Henry County that someone is bound to eventually get suspicious.  It’s true though.  Within an hour from here in pretty much any direction, there is something really cool to see or do.  Smith Mountain Lake, and specifically Bridgewater Plaza in Moneta, is one of these cool destinations.

Incidentally, this is also the lake where Bill Murray and Richard Dreyfuss filmed the 1991 comedy, “What About Bob?”.

Continue reading “Feeding the Fish at Bridgewater Plaza”

Most Photographed Mabry Mill

If you are sitting at a desk in Dallas looking up photos of the Blue Ridge Parkway, there’s a good chance that the majority of the photos that you are seeing are from the North Carolina stretch.  I don’t know if they just do a better job of Internet marketing or what the deal is there but there is one site along Virginia’s Blue Ridge Parkway that is touted as the most photographed. That is Mabry Mill.  It’s about an hour from Henry County, maybe a little less, just north of where the Parkway passes Meadows of Dan.  Part of the National Parks System, Mabry Mill is a perfect blend of natural beauty, history, and local fare.  The Mabry Mill Restaurant is lauded for its  sweet potato, blueberry, and apple pancakes made from buckwheat and corn meal ground at the mill.  Continue reading “Most Photographed Mabry Mill”

A Monument to Booker T. Washington

Virginia has been in the news this year for a violent alt-right rally centered around a statue of Robert E. Lee in Charlottesville.  Public opinion is mixed about how to respond. In fact, public opinion is mixed about exactly what is or what are the problem(s) that need to be addressed.  We have yet to be able to have a responsible dialog as thoughtful adults. Maybe we’ll get there. I hope so.

I don’t have an opinion on the statues so I am not going to offer one.  I do have an observation, however.  In the rural areas of Virginia, there are precious few monuments to anything other than the Civil War and that seems like an oddity to me.  Roanoke is not so bad.  It’s got some great monuments – like the firefighter monument at the Museum of Transportation and the monument to fallen officers in front of the police station.  Greensboro has the Guilford Courthouse National Military Park commemorating the Revolutionary War.  When you get into rural Virginia, however, there are pretty much only Civil War monuments.  It’s as if there have been no notable people or events in the past 150 years, although I am absolutely sure that that is not true.

One notable exception to this is the Booker T. Washington National Monument about an hour north of Henry County on the way to Smith Mountain Lake.  Continue reading “A Monument to Booker T. Washington”