Jane and I are about to embark on an extended weekend visiting one major venue on Virginia’s Heritage Music Trail, The Crooked Road (www.thecrookedroad.org). As you read this we will have just returned from the FloydFest Concert featuring Ricky Skaggs, Sam Bush, Alison Krauss, and many others. The Festival is in Floyd County just south of Blacksburg and Virginia Tech in a small town that has been named one of the 100 Best Small Arts Towns in a book by that name. Our trip was made possible in part from a contest we won.
Floyd is just one stop on a 333-mile driving route through the scenic mountains of Southwest Virginia that connects major heritage music venues, and FloydFest is one of many festivals and concerts along the way. We are excited about our trip because the drive through Southwest Virginia could not be more spectacular. We will get to enjoy the music for which the region is well known from old-time fiddle and banjo, a cappella gospel and ballad singing, and bluegrass among others. Ralph Stanley and the Carter Family are among the better known performers who called the region home. In addition, we will be shopping for the distinctive Appalachian Mountain arts and crafts and hiking some of the trails.
The eastern most point of The Crooked Road is Rocky Mount in Franklin County, moonshine capital of the state, and heads westward and south paralleling the North Carolina and Tennessee borders. It passes through Galax, “World’s Capital of Old-Time Mountain Music,” and home of the annual Old Fiddler’s Convention that might be one of the world’s largest (scheduled for Aug. 6-11, 2012). Next along the way is beautiful Abingdon, and after Gate City, the Road turns back north through the Appalachian Mountains and coal mining country to end at the Breaks Interstate Park. There are many more venues for music and entertainment than I have listed. I suggest taking a look at The Crooked Road travel guide at www.thecrookedroad.org.
Jane attended Virginia Tech and lived next door to the region as a college student. I have visited the region many times on legislative and other business. We are excited about going back even if for a short time. Southwest Virginia is unique in its history and culture. It is a great place to get to know. You may want to take a trip on Virginia’s Crooked Road.