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”
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”
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”
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.
The Silverbell Trail is a short boardwalk trail that joins the Uptown Connection Trail in Martinsville just off of the Dick & Willie Rail Trail and ends, somewhat abruptly, at Church Street, across the street from the YMCA. Even in January, when all of the leaves are on the ground and a coat is required, this is a beautiful trail. Continue reading “The Silverbell Trail – A Walk Through Martinsville”
I am fascinated by the Gilded Age. The termed was coined in the 1920’s (credited to Mark Twain) and refers to a period from 1870 to 1900 when a few Americans made obscene fortunes and competed with each other in the ostentatious display of their wealth. They thought that they were building monuments for all time in the elaborate homes that they built, quite often copying country estates in Europe. Instead, they built albatrosses that succeeding generations simply could not afford to maintain. While most of the mansions that I’ve read about were built (and often subsequently torn down) in New York or Newport, RI, at least one – the Biltmore – was actually built not far from here in Asheville, North Carolina. Continue reading “A Little Gilded Age Tobacco Money”
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”