Only about half of the business books that I have started, I have also finished. Books about business can be the driest fare around but, luckily, Factory Man is one of the good ones. Beth Macy, a Roanoke journalist, did an amazing job relating the history and ultimate effective extinction of the furniture industry in this area. It goes a long way towards explaining why we have so much infrastructure here without the obvious foot traffic to sustain it. That seems to be leveling off, though population numbers are still continuing to decline.
Everyone here was abuzz when Tom Hanks bought up the rights to Factory Man for an HBO mini-series; however, that was three years ago and the project still shows as “in production” on imdb. It is unclear as whether the bulk of filming, should it ever get started, would be here (in Bassett) or in Galax, or a little of both. We still have our fingers crossed.
Today, Bassett is a little community on the river waiting to be rediscovered. The Smith River does not run through it as much as the town itself is wrapped around its banks.
There is a burgeoning interest in kayaking the Smith River. There are also trout in the Smith. Smith River Outfitters has been running excursions down the river and Hamlet Vineyards has created some events for combining a trip to the vineyards with a trip on the water. Papa’s Pizzeria is a restaurant on a picturesque road in Bassett that has a great outdoor patio right on the Smith. It has the unique position to cater to river traffic. All they would need would be a a little kayak parking and a path up from the river. With elbow grease and luck, it could really be an enhancement that could cause a noticeable increase in eco-tourism in the area. Property values there, in my opinion, are still undervalued (see MLS). This could just be my experience with development in Texas talking but, if and when the ball ever does get rolling for Bassett to emerge as a river excursion destination, it is poised to gain momentum quickly.
I realize that that is a big “if” … that there are quite a few “ifs” in there, actually. But I do still have my fingers crossed that this project will bring people in to see Bassett. All it will take is the right person to see it.