Visit to a Turned-Around Town

in Art & Community

The great thing about traveling is, you never know what you might find.

On a recent trip to Asheville, NC I took a detour off I-81 and made a pass through the one-traffic-light town of Floyd, Virginia. This on the advice of a friend who told me it was ‘a cool, quirky little place’. With a population hovering somewhere around 440, Floyd had to have something extraordinary going for it. That or my friend was going to owe me four hours of my life and thirty bucks’ worth of gas.

A quick search told me to head for The Floyd Country Store, the apparent center of Floyd’s recent revival, of which I’d soon learn plenty about. Finding the store took me a while – there were three possible ways to go from that stop light, not counting the way I came in – but on my third try there it was, down there past the Floyd Barber Shop, all wooden façade and country kitchen deco and plenty of homemade jam and penny candies and bib overalls to go around.

While my wife kept the kids happy with some late-morning ice-cream (the hand-made stuff so good it renders the time of day meaningless) I chatted up Dave Wood, friendly general manager of Floyd’s, who was all too happy to piddle away his time telling me a little…no, a lot, about the turn of fortune this tiny community took not long ago.

Sadly, I was not going to still be in town on Friday to witness the Jamboree. Still, I felt myself feeling just a bit giddy for having found this little gem in the Blue Ridge Mountains; of standing in the very place where two guys with guitars began to turn around a has-been town; of having an afternoon to spend poking around the crossroads of The Crooked Road, Virginia’s Heritage Music Trail and the impressively varied, packed-with-quality Floyd County Artisan Trail, still known only to a fortunate few – for now.

The great thing about community is, you never know what you might find.

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