Elizabeth A.S. Brooke

Crafting, traveling and everything in between.


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Where to shop: Main Street, Abindon, Va.

We went to Abingon, Va., last Saturday to walk the Virginia Creeper Trail. While we were there, we also checked out Main Street and some local businesses.

First off, we ate a quick lunch at the famous Martha Washington Hotel and Spa’s Market Deli (there’s two links: hotel and the deli). This hotel is gorgeously decorated and would be a very pleasant place to stay. I’d love to check out a cabaret and get a massage at the spa.

Chris had a reuben with chips and I had 1/2 a turkey sandwich with Italian Wedding soup and chips. Very delicious.

After the walk, we stopped by A Likely Yarn, a local yarn shop on Pecan Street just below the Creeper’s trail head.

The business is one of the largest, locally-owned stores I’d been in. A knitting class was taking place in a small room to the left as we walked in and several ladies were browsing books and yarn in the large shop area to the right.

There was a large collection of books, a lot separated by category, such as socks, crochet or knitting. There was also a rack that had “Handknit Heros,” a comic book of needle welding crime fighters.

I was very impressed with the large selection of crochet and knitting books at A Likely Yarn.
The yarn selection was pretty nice too. Prices were comparable to other shops I’d been in and there was a wide variety of brands.
I think I just about picked up every skein of yarn along this wall.

I signed up for the shop’s e-newsletters and the lady tending the shop told me about an upcoming retreat in February.

Next we walked around Main Street and stopped in several antique shops, including Abingdon Mercantile and Frames. We were on the hunt for Rookwood Pottery (Chris’ parents collect it) and a dress form (I want one so much!).

We also stopped at The Arts Depot to check out some artists’ studios. I really liked some fabric hats and paintings, such as those by Jackie Dolpp and Joyce Samuel. The artists’ collaborative is a one block off Main Street on Depot Square.

Before heading home, we grabbed coffee at Zazzy’z Coffee House.

While in Abingdon, you should also check out  Barter Theater, A House on Main, The Tavern, and other antique, clothing and gift shops along Main Street.


Virginia Creeper Trail, Abingdon, Va.

This weekend was absolutely lovely! If you were in the N.C./Va. area, I hope you got outside to enjoy the sunny, warm days.

We took a day trip to Abingdon, Va. on Saturday to walk the Virginia Creeper Trail and to check out Main Street.

This is the trail head off of Pecan Street, Abingdon, Va.

Chris and I had visited Abingdon together before, but it was just a quick evening trip. I’d also been with friends to see “Miracle on 34th Street” at the Barter Theater and to the federal court house to cover a drug trial for work.

So this trip was a special treat.

The Virginia Creeper is off of Pecan Street, which is just down the street from the Martha Washington Hotel and Spa.

The 33-plus mile trail starts (or ends) in Abingdon and heads south to Whitetop, Va., which is in Grayson County and is the state’s highest peak. Lots of people ride bikes from Whitetop to Damascus — all straight down hill. A shuttle in Damascus will carry you up the mountain so you can ride back down.

In Abingdon, the trail is pretty much flat and goes by cow pastures and suburbia, including a large golf course community.

Here’s some shots:

Lots of people were out on the muddy trail Saturday.

This end of the trail is perfect for a good, simple hike, bike ride or stroll. I was glad to see so many people using it.

I’ll write about the businesses in a future post.


Old Salem Tavern and Edward McKay

Hello! Last weekend was very lovely. Chris, Sidney and I spent time outdoors on some trails and doing some Christmas shopping.

Here’s a quick recap of things we did and places you might enjoy checking out.

Saturday
On Saturday we headed to Winston-Salem, N.C., where we walked around at Historic Bethabara (always a favorite), dined at Old Salem Tavern (loved it!) and bought a mountain of books at Edward McKay (first visit to this Winston store; we usually visit the Greensboro store).

Historic Bethabara
Historic Bethabara is were the Moravians originally settled before moving to Old Salem. We always enjoy walking around the gardens, old buildings and trails.

On this particular day, we finally made it to town while the visitor center/museum was open. We only had 10 mins. to browse around, but at least we got to see it. I really want to go back when we have more time to look at all the exhibits.

Old Salem Tavern
At Old Salem Tavern, which is located in Historic Old Salem, Chris had a steak and I had salmon in a pumpkin and sunflower seed crust.

The waitstaff dresses in period clothes and each table has a candle. I wouldn’t think, looking at the menu and set up, that this would be considered a family-friendly place, but families were there, including a mom with her two grown daughters and a toddler grandson and a family of five with children ages 7 and under who sat in the same room as us.

It’s great the restaurant is so accommodating that families fell free to come. The kids were really well-behaved, so the unique atmosphere and our experience wasn’t ruined by wild kids running around. Definitely grab a bite to eat here when you visit Old Salem!

Edward McKay
Next up — Edward McKay, a used book store with locations in many cities through N.C. I’d already taken Chris to the Greensboro location, where I used to visit when I was a student at UNCG. I had just heard about the Winston location and we went to check it out.

Jackpot! We bought $200+ worth of books for under $70. I so love used book stores! Chris found a lot of books. He said he can never find anything that interests him when we go to big box, new book stores, but this place is a gem.

I left with four text-like books, a knitting book, a color guide used for design and a dog training book. Chris bought a bunch of fiction and some non-fiction.

Sunday
On Sunday we headed up to Christiansburg, Va., to do some Christmas shopping.

There’s not really that many cool places to tell you about, but we stopped at the Bed, Bath and Beyond where we bought some really cool dishes and a Ross Dress for Less (my favorite store!) where to grabbed some bed sheets and shirts. We were able to put a small dent in the gift lift.

On the way to the city, we stopped at Radford to walk on the Riverway Trail, a 3.5 mile, paved trail. It’s a very nice walk through the city’s Bissett and Wildwood parks. We’ve walked it a few times before and some of the trails at Wildwood Park. It’s a pretty neat park system for such a small city.

Bissett Park is a large recreation park with fields and playgrounds. On this day, we walked by several soccer games.

Wildwood Park is a wooded park with dirt paths going up and down the side of hills along a creek. We probably walk the most on this trail. It’s located across the road from Bissett Park, but the Riverway Trail connects both parks by a tunnel under the road.

I wish we had something like that in our town!


Claytor Lake

On a recent night on the town, we headed to Christiansburg. On the way there, we stopped at Claytor Lake to walk the pup.

A lot of people were out at the park for the day. Boating and fishing, biking and hiking. There were some people camping or staying over in cabins too.

I wasn’t feeling too inspired as far as photos go. I think the next time we stop (we’ve been a total of 3 times already) we should explore the longest trail — Claytor Lake Trail, which is 1.6 miles.
There are 3 miles of trails and we’ve been on most of them and part of the Claytor Lake Trail.
Most of the trails are very easy walking and appropriate for most people. Those people with wheelchairs, strollers or walkers may want to stitch with the Lake Shore Trail, which is paved and runs along the parks roads, serving as a sort of sidewalk. The rest of the trails are dirt.
Here’s some photos:
Wild basil, maybe?

The lake.

Look, the lake! Again. 🙂

One of the trails we took — Poplar Leaf Trail. There are 3 miles of trails at the park.


Mount Airy’s (N.C.) Emily B. Taylor Greenway

My husband, Chris, often says, “Everybody wants a trail nowadays.” And it seems like that’s true.

Seems like every town is discussing ways to become more walkable and offer passive recreation to residents.

That’s a good thing, in my opinion. I don’t think I ever want to live in a place that doesn’t have miles of trails. I’ve gotten quite spoiled with the wide variety of trails in Southwest Virginia since moving here five years ago.

One of the trails we frequent is the Emily B. Taylor Greenway, located in nearby Mount Airy, N.C. It’s proved useful during the past couple of months since we’re still covered in snow here in Virginia.

This trail is paved, which must contribute to how quickly the snow disappeared on most of the trail, allowing walkers and bikers to take advantage of it during the winter weather. Most of our trails in Hillsville are mulched, dirt or gravel and are still holding onto snow.

Of course, we’ve gotten more snow so that’s most likely the cause. We haven’t seen the grass in our yard, except for a week last month, since before Christmas.

Anyway, back to the greenway. The Emily B. Taylor Greenway is 2 3/8 miles of a paved trail that follows along a creek and U.S. 52 from Worth Street to West Lebanon Street.

Each quarter mile is marked with a granite marker, courtesy of Mount Airy Granite.

Although the photos above are nice areas of the trail, most of the scenery is the highway, industrial buildings and restaurants. And it’s visited by a lot of people. So it’s not that peaceful.

But that doesn’t mean you won’t see wildlife. Below are two pictures I took on a recent walk. On the left is a belted kingfisher and the right is, of course, a white-tailed deer.

Sorry for the quality of the photos. If I had taken Chris’ camera and zoom lens I might have been able to snap closer, clearer and better pictures. Actually, I’m surprised these turned out as well as they did.
We also often see robins, blue birds and sparrows.
Occasionally we’ve seen a heron (I think a great blue). On a walk last year, a friend swore she heard a yellow warbler, which she said is hard to spot and hear because the bird is usually very shy.


Chestnut Creek School of the Arts opens

Chestnut Creek School of the Arts, Galax, Va., is now open and registering students for classes.


Most classes last a week or take place once a week for four or so weeks.


The school, in downtown Galax, was created to preserve and promote the heritage of Southwest Virginia, located in the Appalachian Mountains.

Here’s pdfs to the Chestnut Creek School of the Arts’ flyer: front page and back page.

I’m interested in Todd Price’s drawing classes in February and March and guitar or banjo lessons in February, March or June.

There’s also classes in pastels, basket weaving, woodcarving, creative writing, jewelry making, pottery and Appalachian dance.

I hope in the future they’ll include photography and canning/home preserving among the offerings.