It’s Spring Again. Maybe.

The average temperatures for this area in April should be mid 70’s in the daytime and mid 40’s at night.  Talk is that, this year, we’ve been paying for having a warm February and winter has made several encore performances.  Still, it officially became spring on March 20th this year and the local festival season is starting to gear up.

There is exciting stuff going on over at the Fieldale Recreation Center (check their Facebook page for updates) and they had a bingo & Pampered Chef fundraiser this past weekend.  Martinsville Bulletin made an excellent write-up in this April 5th article, “Construction Starts on Bassett, Fieldale Renovation Projects“.

This coming weekend is the annual Pig Cookin’ Contest and Craft Fair at Spencer Penn.  Come Friday night to see the cooking and listen to live bluegrass.  Then come back on Saturday to shop the vendors, see the classic cars, and maybe play some cow-patty bingo.

In getting my camera ready, I realized that I never posted about our last festival for 2017.  It was a new one for us … the “What the Hay Festival” in nearby Mayodan, North Carolina.

We shop in Mayodan quite a bit because it is very close (around 20 minutes), there’s not a lot of traffic (it’s amazing how relative that gets), and their Food Lion has had one of the better craft beer selections around (it’s the closest place to get DuClaw).  Big round bales of hay started popping up all over town decorated as all kinds of creatures in the weeks leading up to the festival. They did an excellent job with those.

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There were decorative hay bales all over town before the festival

Mayodan has essentially a one-light intersection downtown but downtowns don’t have to be big to have an ambience.  Mayodan has a particularly pretty downtown with old brick buildings on all four corners.  On the day of the festival, they closed the road that ran through it and set up just a humdinger of a small town festival.

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Entering the festival grounds

In the center of the intersection, they set up a soundstage and people brought chairs to sit and listen to the music. The little shop that you can see on the left in the photo below is the Mayodan Arts Center. It’s sells a variety of arts and crafts made by local people – pottery, painted glassware, photographs, bookmarks, stationery, and more.  We ended up getting a few Christmas gifts from them and definitely plan to go back.

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Live Music in the Intersection

They had a full midway set up for the kids and vendors in tents filled in any space that was left on the streets. Mother got her flu shot at one tent.

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It was a great little festival.  We also discovered Charlie’s Soap Outlet Store & Cedar Mountain Country Store nestled in the shops along one side of the road. As the name implies, they have Charlie’s Soap but they also have all kinds of knick-knacks for the home and seasonal decorations.  If you talk to the shop owners, they’ll open up a second building with metal yard art/sculptures.  We are fans.

In short, we loved the festival and we love Mayodan.  There’s a lot to see there, I think, and I want to go back when it gets warmer and just spend some time looking around. Perhaps I can find more remembrances like this monument to Mayodan veterans. The engraving on this monument says, “This WWI mortar was originally dedicated to Mayodan veterans of that war. It was rededictated to all Mayodan veterans November 11, 2001”.

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This WWI Mortar is dedicated to all Mayodan veterans

So, I’m already planning to spend an afternoon in Mayodan sometime when it gets warm (if that ever happens again).  What other unique finds should I look for? Any great boutiques?

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Shopping in Uptown on a Saturday

This past Saturday morning was a little bookish.  Mother and I trekked into Uptown Martinsville to renew a book at the local library and check out the new bookstore that opened this past week.

The Blue Ridge Regional Library has several locations and the Uptown location is on Church Street as you are heading into Uptown.

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The Blue Ridge Regional Library on Church Street

It’s a beautiful building with a lot of natural light pouring in.  It also has a huge selection of large print books.

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Inside the Blue Ridge Regional Library on Church Street

Across the street from the library is Scuffle Hill.  Now a parish office for Christ Episcopal Church next door, Scuffle Hill is most notable for the numerous local business leaders who called it home over the years but it is also an impressive landmark as you enter the Uptown business district.

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Martinsville’s Scuffle Hill

Next door to the library is what is called “The Grey Lady”.  It is now home to Rives S. Brown Realtors.

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Martinsville’s Grey Lady

Registered as the John Waddey Carter House, the plaque by the door reads:

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.”

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Martinsville’s Grey Lady

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.

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The New Bookstore in Uptown  – Books & Crannies

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.

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Mural in Uptown Martinsville

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.

We thought that we’d try to go see the old courthouse which is now the Martinsville-Henry County Heritage Center and Museum but it turns out that it is only open from 2 to 5 on Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays.

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The Old Courthouse in Uptown Martinsville

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.

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Fido’s Finds – A Thrift Store Benefitting the Local SPCA

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:

Studio 107 – Gallery and Working Artist Studios

Pieces Boutique – Women’s Clothing

JunkBabies Antique Mall & Auction Store

Ruckers Antiques Emporium & Auction House

Fido’s Finds & Kittie’s Kollectibles SPCA Thrift Store

Books & Crannies Book Store

What else is fun to visit in Uptown Martinsville on a Saturday morning?