The Northwest NC and Southwest, VA mountains have long been a destination for folks escaping the heat of the Piedmont. Folks come from all over to rent cabins, buy second homes, or retire to these areas. When we were discovered as a destination, the Arts began to flourish in the mountains. Artists have come here for inspiration and many stayed. Painters, crafters, potters, photographers, sculptors, woodworkers and every other variety of artist have found that our mountains offer a refuge, a place to clear the head and let art begin. The Florence Thomas Art School in Glendale Springs is the result of that commitment.
Nature lovers have long come our way for a hoped for glimpse of a black bear, or the herds of deer and flocks of wild turkeys that roam our hillsides. They come to fish, climb, bike, canoe, camp, and hunt. In Ashe County, The Nature Conservancy has long had a hand in conservation of special tracts of land and our mountaintops.
We offer professional theatre (try the Barter Theatre in nearby Abingdon, VA) and volunteer Little Theatre by an amazingly talented group of residents. We offer the Virginia Creeper Trail for bicycling, horse-back riding and walking. We offer the New River for fishing, canoeing, kayaking or tube floats. We offer the visual arts, with gallery crawls throughout the season. We offer farmers markets in season, spearheaded by a dedicated group of farmers selling their produce, plants, shrubs along with artists and crafters offering their wares. We offer an annual quilt show with exquisite examples of locally made quilts.
The Blue Ridge Parkway cruises through our area at the Eastern Continental Divide, and is visiting by literally thousands of Parkway enthusiasts, enjoying picnic, views, a perhaps a ride on that Harley. Along the way are parks, vistas that cant be beat, and historic cabins (try the Brinegar cabin in Doughton Park or the cabins at Grayson Highlands State Park) where the life of the pioneers is a counterpoint to the lives we lead today.
Volunteers find plenty to keep them involved, too from the hospital, the library, to the Arts Council and Mobile Meals programs, theres opportunity for becoming a part of our communities.
Did we mention music? Southwest Virginia is home to the Crooked Road, the states Heritage Music Trail. In our mountains we offer a plentiful assortment of music, to meet most everybodys musical tastes. Festivals like Christmas in July, or the village of Todds music series in their outdoor venue, or the Ashe County Fiddlers convention, or the Wayne Henderson Festival in Grayson Highlands State Park.
Of course, when you come to our mountains, sitting still is also always an option. A hammock, a good book, a glass of wine or iced tea. The sound of a creek or birds or children playing in the distance. Sometimes, it just doesnt get better than that.