One of these stunning parks is the perfect destination for National Trails Day this Saturday, June 1, 2019!
Grayson Highlands State Park
Located near Mount Rogers and Whitetop Mountain, Virginia’s two highest mountains, Grayson Highlands offers scenic views of alpine-like peaks more than 5,000 feet high. Facilities include a visitor center, campgrounds, and hiking trails leading to waterfalls and overlooks.
The inhabitants of Grayson Highlands–a herd of wild ponies that roam freely.
The following guided hikes are planned throughout this year’s National Trails Day.
9 a.m. to 3 p.m. – Hike on the Appalachian Trail to Mt. Rogers, meet at Massie Gap
10 a.m. to 12 p.m. – Trail maintenance on Rhododendron Trail, meet at Massie Gap
4 p.m. to 5 p.m. – Trick Your Stick at the Campground Amphitheater
8 p.m. to 9 p.m. – Salamander Meander at the Visitor Center
New River Trail is a 57-mile linear park that follows an abandoned railroad right-of-way. The park parallels the historic New River for 39 miles and the scenery is magnificient. The trail is relatively flat and appropriate for all skill levels. A trail entrance is located in Fries, VA at 323 Firehouse Drive. From Route 94, go south to town. Parking is available near the town park.
The Virginia Creeper trail is a 34.3-mile rail-to-recreation trail, traversing through two counties from Abingdon, Virginia, through Damascus, and ending just past Whitetop Station in the Mount Rogers National Recreation Area, at the Virginia-North Carolina border. Cycling the Creeper Trail is perfect for riders of varying ages and fitness levels due to it’s slight decline.
To get to the Whitetop Station trailhead, follow US 58 east from Abingdon into Grayson County. Turn right on State Route 726 and head south toward the North Carolina border. You will see the parking area off of 726.
To get to the Abingdon trailhead, head south on Main Street/US 11 in Abingdon and turn left onto Pecan Street. There is a large locomotive engine on display by the trailhead, which you can see to the left of the parking lot.
HoustonFest, a music festival that features multiple regional and national bands ranging in style from Bluegrass to Old Time, is being held June 7 & 8, 2019 at Felts Park in Galax, VA. Artisans from Galax and the surrounding area demonstrate and sell their crafts, while food vendors serve up local dishes. The festival, which honors local musician Houston Caldwell who passed away in 2010, raises money for scholarships that go to musical training and education for youth.
The Grammy Award winning band, Shenandoah, is performing on June 7th!
One of my favorites, ShadowGrass, is performing on June 8th!
The best ice cream in Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains can be found in a historic railroad caboose by The New River in Fries, VA. Sweet Lily’s, named in honor of the proprietor’s granddaughter, serves up classic ice cream shop items such as hot fudge sundaes and banana splits. However, their signature sundae, which consists of chocolate ice cream, brownie, nuts, waffle cone, pineapple, caramel, chocolate, blueberry, blackberry, whipped cream, and a cherry, is a customer favorite.
Special features offered by Sweet Lily’s include hosting opportunities for small birthday parties, tasting parties, and a monthly ice cream social offering all-you-can-eat sweet treats for a flat fee. Sweet Lily’s also serves regular and decaf coffee, teas, slushies, and lemonade.
Sweet Lily’s is located at 321 Firehouse Drive, Fries, VA 24330. Their hours are Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 12:00 pm to 8:00 pm and Sunday from 12:00 pm to 6:00 pm.
The musical history of the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia dates back to the European settlers who brought their music to the new world. The musical legacy continues today and can be enjoyed at the many festivals which are held through the summer months.
1) HoustonFest, June 7 – 8, 2019
HoustonFest, a music festival that features multiple regional and national bands ranging in style from Bluegrass to Old Time, is being held June 8 & 9, 2018 at Felts Park in Galax, VA. Artisans from Galax and the surrounding area demonstrate and sell their crafts, while food vendors serve up local dishes. The festival, which honors local musician Houston Caldwell who passed away in 2010, raises money for scholarships that go to musical training and education for youth.
One of my favorite musicians, Presley Barker, will perform again this year.
2) Mountains of Music Homecoming, June 7 – 15, 2019
The Crooked Road’s Mountains of Music Homecoming is an annual nine-day, region-wide celebration of all the communities in Southwest Virginia – their traditional music, and all their many cultural and natural assets. The event includes Crooked Road marquee concerts in approximately 20 communities and many dozens of cultural events throughout the region. You can learn more here: https://mtnsofmusic.com/
3) Wayne C. Henderson Music Festival & Guitar Competition, June 15, 2019
On the third Saturday of every June at Grayson Highlands State Park in Mouth of Wilson, Virginia, the Wayne C. Henderson Music Festival and Guitar Competition features some of the region’s best traditional musicians. From time to time, they have shared the stage with bluegrass bands from Europe.
The event takes its name from National Heritage Award recipient Wayne C. Henderson, a musician and instrument maker who lives in nearby Rugby, Virginia. Henderson’s top-notch finger-picking is a source of great pleasure and pride to his friends, family, and neighbors in Grayson County, Virginia. His guitar playing has also been enjoyed at Carnegie Hall, in three national tours of Masters of the Steel-String Guitar and in seven nations of Europe, Asia and Africa.
Wayne and many of his musical friends are featured performers at the festival, with bluegrass and old-time music dominating the program. The Wayne C. Henderson Music Festival and Guitar Competition was established in 1995 to express appreciation for this living legend. A portion of the proceeds from the festival are placed into a scholarship fund to aid local young musicians in continuing their educations. More than $237,950 has been awarded through the 2018 festival.
4) Grayson County Old-Time & Bluegrass Fiddler’s Convention, June 28 – 29, 2019
The Grayson County Old Time and Bluegrass Fiddler’s Convention is always held the last full weekend in June. Cash prizes and rosettes in old time and bluegrass individual & band categories. Contestants register on-site. Camping on the grounds is available, and we now offer showers! Food and refreshments available for purchase. Bring your lawn chair or blankets and the whole family for two nights of great music and dancing in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Please visit http://www.ecvfd.net/home/grayson-county-fiddler-s-convention for additional information.
5) Floydfest, Wednesday, July 24 – 28, 2019
FloydFest features five days of Music, Magic, and Mountains, in a picturesque paradise at Milepost 170.5 on the Blue Ridge Parkway in Floyd, VA. The festival takes place on 80 acres of mountain plateau land and features a “Global Village” area of progressive workshops and demonstrations, including a healing arts area, over 100 artisans, and a wide array of food options from sushi to barbecue. Visit https://floydfest.com/ for additional information.
6) Galax Old Fiddler’s Convention, August 5 – 10, 2019
The 84th Annual Fiddler’s Convention is being held August 5 – 10, 2019 in Galax, VA. During the 2nd week of August of each year the City of Galax has the world tapping its feet as the Old Fiddlers’ Convention takes place in Felts Park. The convention is presented by the Galax Moose Lodge #733.
Musicians and fans from around the world travel to Galax to perform and hear the music that defines the sound of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Galax has been designated the Worlds Capital of Old time Mountain Music and is proud to be identified as hosting the world’s oldest and largest fiddler’s convention which has taken place consistently since 1935.
7) Fries Fiddler’s Convention: August 16 – 17, 2019
The 53rd Annual Fries Bluegrass and Fiddlers Convention will be held Friday, August 16 and Saturday, August 17, 2019. Admission is $10.00 for adults and children 12 and under are free with paying adult. Camping is $15 per spot.
Friday night’s competition will begin at 7:00 p.m. and include: Dulcimer, Old Time Fiddle, Dobro, Old Time Banjo, Mandolin, Autoharp, Flatfoot Dance, Bluegrass Bands, and Old Time Bands
Saturday’s Youth Competition will begin at 3:00 and include all adult categories.
Saturday’s Adult Competition will begin at 5:00 and include: Folk Songs (Vocals), Guitar, Bluegrass Fiddle, Bass Fiddle, Bluegrass Banjo, Flatfoot Dance, Bluegrass Bands, and Old Time Bands.
Flatfoot Dance, Bluegrass and Old Time Bands must compete both nights to be eligible for prizes. Bands typically play one song Friday night and two songs Saturday nights. You can learn more here: https://friesfire.com/fries-fiddlers-convention/
New River Outdoor Adventures, located in Galax, VA is the one stop shop for all your outdoor recreational needs! Enjoy some of their scenic floats down the beautiful New River from canoe, kayak, tandem kayak, or river tube. River floats are tailored for the beginner, family, first-time boater, or the experienced thrill-seeker. If biking is your preference, NROA provides great trail bikes for rent so you can cover all 57 miles of the New River Trail. Shuttle service is provided for boats and bikes as well. Delivery service to local vacation rental homes is provided. Many guests at River Mist Retreat have taken advantage of this service. The NROA shop also has lots of merchandise for sale to help make your adventure an enjoyable experience. They’re also a point of sale for Virginia hunting and fishing licenses. Make sure to speak with one of the owners, Tim Dixon, for expert fishing advice and assistance choosing the best bait to catch the “big one!” Tim, a lifelong resident of neighboring Fries, VA has spent his entire life fishing and navigating the New River. For additional information, please visit their website: https://www.newriveroutdooradventures.com/
Three of the most highly sought after destinations for anglers from all over the country can be found in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. Whether you’re looking to catch some wild trout or you’ve got your sights on hooking a trophy, you won’t be disappointed with our favorite fishing spots!
1) The New River
Contrary to its name, The New River is the oldest river on the North American continent and one of the few rivers to flow northward. The New is home to every major freshwater game fish in the state of VA, from walleye to trophy smallmouth bass and musky, black crappie and redbreast sunfish. The warm waters of the New River flow through Grayson County and offers resourceful anglers the opportunity to catch the smallmouth bass of a lifetime. Fast water and large rock outcroppings are a feature of the New River, creating the perfect habitat for big smallmouth bass and flathead catfish. Several lazy, slow stretches also abound, where you can fish for rock bass near grass beds. The slow waters near the dams along the river will yield big flathead and channel catfish, as well as walleye and smallmouth bass.
2) Big Wilson Creek
Accessible by way of the Mount Rogers Recreation Area in Grayson County, Big Wilson Creek is referred to as one of Virginia’s finest stocked mountain trout streams. In the upper most sections of Big Wilson, you’ll be treated to a plethora of brook, brown, and wild rainbow trout that hide in the many deep pools which are protected by huge boulders. Spring is the ideal season for a trip to Big Wilson Creek. March is one of the best months to fish this stream and the most effective method is dry fishing.
The park is on U.S. 58 midway between Independence and Damascus and is reached from I-81 at Exit 45 in Marion; turn south on Route 16 and travel 33 miles to US 58 in the community of Volney. Turn right onto US 58. Travel eight miles to the park’s entrance.
3) Whitetop Laurel Creek
One of Virginia’s most beautiful streams, Whitetop Laurel Creek, is considered one of the best trout streams in the entire Southeast. For anglers, the place to begin on Whitetop is the 6 miles of stream below Konnarock beginning at Creek Junction, near the convergence of Whitetop and Green Cove Creek. This marks the beginning of a 6-mile artificial only stretch where all trout smaller than 12 inches must be released. This stretch can be accessed by way of Creek Junction Road, just east of Damascus. Locals say that prime time on Whitetop is during the spring months, when feeding trout will appear for just about any type of dry fly.
From I-81 south take exit 29 (Glade Spring) to 91 east towards Damascus, in Damascus take 58 east. Whitetop Laurel flows along 58 east, where it can be accessed easily. Signs to the parking areas and the Virginia Creeper Trail are along 58 east. Sections of Whitetop Laurel Creek that are not adjacent to 58 east are easily accessed from the Virginia Creeper Trail. Parking areas have maps and trail information on display.
Matt Bizzell will perform on Saturday, April 27th at Roots At Grayson Bistro & Tavern, 203 N. Independence Ave. Independence, VA 24348. Bizzell, a cross between Dave Matthews and country, is a singer, song writer, and guitarist not to be missed!
Rixey’s Market, 2449 Wilson Highway in Independence, is Grayson County’s Case Knife Dealer (quality knives made in the USA). Stop by for fresh produce, heirloom tomatoes, seed potatoes, onion sets, vegetable plants and much more! https://www.facebook.com/Rixeysmarket/
April 24 — Historic 1908 Courthouse in Independence
April 25 — Historic Fries Theater
Both begin at 6:30 and last until the musicians quit! The weekly jams are free and visitors are encouraged to attend. The jams are a great way to experience authentic traditional music. If you play you are welcome to join in!
The Arts Council is thrilled to announce the return of Andrew McKnight to the Twin Counties. A Virginia singer/songwriter, guitarist and storyteller, Andrew will be performing at the Fries Theatre on Friday, April 12th at 7:00pm with admission by donation.
The 12th annual Land Stewardship Competition, sponsored by Grayson LandCare, provides high school students in Grayson County and the City of Galax (Grades 8-12) an opportunity to explore ways to increase livelihoods, enhance the environment, and improve the quality of life in our community.
Students will present their projects at the Land Stewardship Competition, Saturday, April 13, 2019, at the Grayson Co. High School Cafeteria, in Independence, VA. The ideal time to view projects is between 11:00 & 12:00 PM.
Join us for a Cello-bration at the Historic 1908 Courthouse in Independence, VA, April 14th at 3 pm. This exciting program features the wide range of the cello in chamber music, from solo Bach to a Schubert string quartet to the glorious Villa Lobos’ famous Bachians Brasilieras cello orchestra with soprano soloist. Other special features include a serenade for cello and two guitars, and a virtuoso showcase on a rare 5-string cello piccolo.
SATURDAY, APRIL 20TH — the Grange’s Annual Easter Egg Hunt @ 2:00 PM! Decorated bonnet or hat contest, and lots of great prizes!The Goodwill Grange #959 in Grant offers Bingo every Friday Night @7:00 for .25 per game winner take all.
GRAYSON COUNTY’S NEWEST BUSINESS!
Contact 276-620-6599 for more information!
The 1908 Courthouse in Independence hosts a jam every Wednesday night and the Fries Historic Theater hosts one every Thursday. Both jams are at 6:30. Come out and participate or listen to the best mountain music around!
Let Trout Chaser’s Of The Blue Ridge take you on a guided fishing adventure in Grayson and surrounding Counties in Virginia. We’ll send you home with memories that will last a lifetime. Mention this ad and receive a special discount. All First Responders, military veterans, disabled persons, and senior citizens receive a 30% off discount (two-person minimum for this discount). We have special group rates and camping packages that include clean campsite with all amenities. RV hookups are available right on the New River in Independence, Virginia at New River Bridge Family Campground with special pricing for multiple days. All fishing trips are six and a half hours long and require a 15% deposit with a 1-week advance notice to receive this discount.
For booking info contact Trout Chaser’s Of The Blue Ridge on Our Facebook page or by text/phone 276/235/8747
Owner Joseph Biesecker
It’s toe tapping time! Big Country Bluegrass and Shadow Grass are performing Saturday, March 16, 2019 at the Fairview Ruritan Club in Galax, VA. Doors open at 5:30 pm. Shows begin at 7:30 pm. Children under 12 admitted FREE.
The Fairview Ruritan Club
2265 Fairview Road
Galax, VA 24333
Formed in 1987 by Tommy and Teresa Sells, Big Country Bluegrass reflects much of the deep musical heritage found in this region, the heart of the Crooked Road Music Trail. The band has enjoyed recent success on the bluegrass charts. Each of their last four Rebel Records releases has had a # 1 song on the Bluegrass Unlimited air-play chart.
Shadow Grass is an up and coming bluegrass band consisting of young musicians from southwest Virginia and western North Carolina. They have been called “one of the most thrilling bluegrass bands to emerge from the musically-rich Crooked Road area in recent memory.” They’ve earned numerous awards in youth and adult competitions across the region while holding true to their bluegrass roots.