Our first trip as a couple was to New Orleans. I surprised my boyfriend — who is now my husband — with a AAA triptik planner (This was before mobile phones, GPS and Google.) The maps were organized in a three-ring binder along with tabs for activities we’d be doing on our vacation. Ryan wasn’t thrilled with my work (perhaps slightly scared) – he’s more comfortable with figuring it out as he goes along.
As fate would have it, New Orleans was hit with a terrible storm and the city flooded, including my car. My schedule went unfollowed.
More than 20 years later, we’ve met in the middle when it comes to planning getaways. We pick a destination for vacation and research the night before to see what we want to do.
In the spring we chose Floyd, Virginia, for its two-hour drive and its proximity to the mountains. We found a charming 1908 home in Check, Virginia, on AirBnB, only 20 minutes from downtown Floyd. Maybelle’s Guest House has four bedrooms and a back porch made for rocking. It overlooks a tiny creek, a small pond and 10 acres of wooded land with an almost one-mile hiking trail.
Once we booked the house, we didn’t think about plans until the day before we left, when I reserved four tubes to float down Little River.
Floyd stole our hearts. It’s art, music, hiking, shops and restaurants in a tiny town. Here are five ways Floyd will win you over:
This walkable town has gift and antique shops, art galleries and restaurants on Main and Locust Streets. Shops are filled with local makers’ products such as soaps, artwork and crafts. Harvest Moon’s locally sourced honey, cheese and produce makes for a great stop for picnic supplies.
Visit: Floyd Farmers Market on Saturdays, May through November, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Floyd Community Pavilion.
The Floyd Country Store is known for its year-round Friday Night Jamboree. Every Friday night, local, regional and sometimes international bluegrass bands perform on stage inside the store from 6:30-10:30 p.m. Admission to the country store’s venue is $8 for adults, $5 for children 7-12 years old and free for children 6 and under.
The entire town turns into an impromptu music festival – multiple groups of three to five banjo strumming, guitar playing locals play on the streets. Bands such as Nuthin’ Common perform traditional and non-traditional bluegrass. Cloggers show off their click, drag and slide movements. All this is free to enjoy.
Hidden (kind of) on the property of the Roanoke District of the United Methodist Church camp and retreat center, Alta Mons, is a three-mile round-trip hike to a 40-foot waterfall. Sign in at the office, park in the designated area for hikers and start your trek.
The hike begins on a gravel path but becomes a dirt trail crossing the Purgatory Creek several times. There are many places to climb on river rocks or cool off in a small pool of water. The scramble to the top to see the waterfall takes energy, but it’s worth the effort.
We started our holiday with a two-hour tubing trip down Little River. We rented tubes from On the Water for $15 each, and the staff picked us up on time at a specified location. It was a slow-moving lazy river — the perfect way to shed stress and start the vacation. Kayaks and canoes are also available.
This area has trails, picnic tables, grassy meadow (perfect for naps) and great rocks for easy climbing. I walked the one-mile wooded Rocky Knob Track trail by myself — two in my group had hiking injuries (read=needed a nap) and one was whittling a lightsaber from a stick.
The forest became thicker and lonelier the further I hiked. I let my imagination get the best of me and worried I’d come upon a black bear and her cubs. Heart racing, I came across a doe and her baby instead. They allowed me to walk along with them on the trail. My family was unaware I’d ever left.