Elizabeth A.S. Brooke

Crafting, traveling and everything in between.


Mayberry Toy Co., Mount Airy, N.C.

Looking back over my posts from past years, it seems I’ve been pretty awful at noting many of the local stores and trails in my own backyard. I focus more on the local hangouts of the cities we visit. In the next several months, I will try to point out some not-to-be-missed places in the Twin Counties and surrounding communities, including linking to posts from those areas. That includes Mount Airy, N.C., and Floyd, Hillsville, Galax, Wytheville, and Grayson County, Va.

Today, I have to note a really cool store that opened a year or two ago in Mount Airy — Mayberry Toy Co. This past weekend was the first time I’d visited the store. Chris had went in and bought a gift last year while I stayed outside with Sidney. He was thoroughly impressed. So, this time, I went in with him.

The store is pretty amazing. I love the variety of toys, including Melissa and Dog and Fisher Price toys. There were board games, craft kits, stuffed toys, and science kits. I wish we had a niece or nephew old or young enough who would be interested in the DNA or physics science kits! I would love to see those in action.

We left with a Lego train set for our 18-month-old nephew. I wish we were going to live close enough to visit again next year.

So, if you’re in the area, whether you need a gift or not, stop by and check out the selection. Other Mount Airy posts are found here.

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Autumn Leaves Festival

Chris and I went to the Autumn Leaves Festival in Mount Airy, N.C., pretty late on a a Sunday afternoon.

I thought this display was cute.
Some musicians jamming downtown.

We thought there was still quite a crowd, but vendors said the crowd had thinned out a lot.

Crowd shot!

I believe some of the vendors had left also. There weren’t as many booths as we expected and there appeared to be several empty spots along the curb.

We explored new wine shop downtown — Uncorked. Very nice couple. Nice selection of wines. No, we didn’t buy any. But the store is set up very nice and offers tastings. Check it out!

Checking out the wine selection at Uncorked, downtown Mount Airy.

We also stumbled across a new location for Yesterdays, a book, comic, collectables store that used to be located on the 2nd floor of an antiques store. They’re now at 160 N. Main St., Unit 100.

One of the owner’s wives is also selling most of her yarn stock. I expect the yarn supplies will be there for quite awhile. There was a lot of yarn and supplies in a room off of the main store’s shopping area. I plan to go back and browse more of the yarn and supplies.


Grave Creek Mound, Moundsville, W.Va.

On our trip to W. Va. we visited our friend’s work place — Grave Creek Mound Archaeological Complex.

Entrance of Grave Creek Mound, Moundsville, W.Va.

This is the site of a 70-foot Native American burial ground, a feature of the Adena culture. Our friend explained that Adena is usually considered a separate people or tribe, but it’s really a tradition or culture shared by several different tribes. It would take a conference and agreement by the archaeological community to change exhibits and info around the country, he said.

Some Adena artifacts.

We visited another such burial ground in Ohio — Serpent Mounds. Both included exhibits with similar information.

At Grave Creek we walked to the top of the mound and overlooked Moundsville.

View of Moundsville, W.Va., from atop the mound.

At the foot of the mound was a small interpretive garden showing how people of the Adena era would have grown their vegetables and what types. Tomatoes and other vines, for instance, would be grown beside corn so that the plants could use the corn stalks as supports, clinging to them and they grew.

Interpretive garden at Grave Creek Mound.

The mound has been used for very interesting purposes throughout the years. My favorites — (1) an observatory was once built on top of the mound and (2) a race track was built around the foot of the mound and audiences could watch from the top.

Our friend gave us a tour of the museum’s research facility and library. Very interesting work and probably an archaeologist’s dream.

Before leaving, I grabbed a do-it-yourself scrapbook of printed out activity pages for kids. One page was for autographs of museum staff. So I took one and had our friend sign it.

I’m threading together the pages of the scrapbook.

Chris and I also stopped by the gift shop and bought some worry stones for family members. Just small, sweet stocking stuffers for Christmas.

Also at the museum are two exhibits — Homer Laughlin China Company and Fashion Dolls by Pete Ballard, a West Virginia native.

Homer Laughlin is the owner and maker of Fiesta ware and other dishes. I even saw my own Shakespeare Country dishes displayed there! Very cool. The company has operated in the area over 100 years.

I loved walking around and reading about Pete Ballard’s fashion dolls. He worked for many years as a costume designer. His knowledge and skills are exquisite! I loved learning about the 19th century fashions. I could have spent all day walking from doll to doll, studying the different styles and fabrics. But though my husband is patient, he’s not that patient!

One of many fashion dolls created by Pete Ballard.

I tried to find a website with Pete’s work but wasn’t able to. It would have been great if the pamphlet accompanying the exhibit and explaining each of the dolls would have included photos. I wish I could find a book on Ballard too, but haven’t found one.

Other things to do in Moundsville:

* Visit the Marx Brothers Toy Museum. You will see a variety of toys that you probably played with as a kid, such as toy soldiers and Big Wheels (mine was yellow and green and featured Kermit the Frog). We didn’t have time to visit, but maybe we will next time.

* Fosteria Glass Factory Museum. The glassware is no longer made in Moundsville, but there is a museum dedicated to the company’s history and products. The town is in process of tearing down the old factory. A building or two will still remain, I think. But the town’s historic factory will no longer be there. It’s being developed into a multi-use retain center.

* There are a lot of locally-owned businesses in the town and they’re a delight to check out. I checked out A Yarn Among Friends and bought some yarn for Christmas projects.

* In a later post, I’ll write about our tour of the former West Virginia Penitentiary. It was a maximum security prison that was closed down in 1995.