A Walk in Fieldale, VA

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.

fieldale-013
Heart Stings Opening For The Rogues at Fieldale Rec Center Fundraiser

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.

fieldale-018
Fieldale Rec Center Street Dance Fundraiser

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.

fieldale-012
Trail Head for the Textile Heritage Trail in Fieldale

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.

fieldale-010
A Winding Crushed Rock Path On The Textile Heritage Trail in Fieldale

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.

fieldale-004
Mother Reading A Placard On The Textile Heritage Trail in Fieldale

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.

fieldale-005
A Shot From The Textile Heritage Trail That’s Popular on Instagram

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.

fieldale-007
A Shot From The Textile Heritage Trail That’s Popular on Instagram.

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.

Where do you go for fall colors?

Advertisements

Classic Car Crazy

I would love to see the numbers on how many classic cars there are in this area in relation to the number of living souls.  It seems that there is a classic car show at nearly every event, plus events called “Cruise Ins” that are just classic car shows on their own.  We had classic cars in Dallas but I just never noticed this level of enthusiasm there.  (I did once get a ride in a Model T, but that was a fluke).

The first big car show I saw here was at the 2015 Pig Cooking Contest at the Spencer Penn Centre. On Friday night, they have the actual cook off.  On Saturday, vendors are crammed all throughout the restored school house and spill out on the lawn and there is a car show out back.

Spencer Penn 014

My husband loves the old trucks.

Spencer Penn 018

He could spend hours looking at them.

Spencer Penn 010

I’m a sucker for the old Fairlanes.

Spencer Penn 021

The entire back parking lot was filled with classics and I thought that it was a big show.

After the Pig Cooking Contest, we headed over to Fieldale, which has a heritage festival annually on the same day.  There is an antique store there, Fieldale Antiques, that may be one of the prettiest buildings you’ll ever see.  Well, maybe the prettiest gas station. But, seriously, it is worth the trip just to see it.  It isn’t listed on TripAdvisor and it doesn’t have a web page.  You’ll just have to take a leap of faith.  They don’t have a lot of stock, or didn’t when we went.  In fact, it seemed more like odd items of local significance stored for another day.  In an esoteric way, it’s what you would get if you had an art gallery of antiques.  Very odd. Very eclectic. You’ll want to combine it with some other sightseeing to justify a trip of any length, but … do.

fieldale 001

Later that year, we went to the Blue Ridge Folklife Festival in Ferrum, Virginia.  A word about the scale of this festival:  the closest thing I can compare it to is the Dallas State Fair without the buildings or the midway.  The festival is phenomenal and completely redefined what is a “big” car show. It was a veritable sea of cars.

DSC_0068

The cars were lined up in row after row after row.  There must have been acres of cars.

DSC_0047

Some were in pristine condition.

DSC_0049

Others, not so much.

DSC_0059

We even found the same model my husband’s aunt used to drive when it was new.

DSC_0052

I couldn’t pick a favorite.

DSC_0061

I’m not sure what some of them were.

DSC_0064

Of course, my husband liked the trucks.

DSC_0044

I think that I like anything with fins.

DSC_0055

Whatever you like, I’ll bet it will be at the Folklife Festival.  So far, it seems to be the “granddaddy” of car shows around here.  This fascination with classic cars may be yet another reason that this is just an excellent area in which to retire.  A classic car enthusiast could follow classic cars here the way a live music junkie could follow music in Austin.

I’ll have to add that to my list.